The addition of pool play and an expanded field of 17 teams are among the many format changes coming to this year's Connie Mack World Series. Keri Hensley/USA TODAY NETWORK
East Cobb's emphasis on defense pays off in semifinal win
FARMINGTON – East Cobb coach James Beavers had stressed the importance of his players getting back on track defensively over the last couple days so that the Yankees wouldn't need their bats to bail themselves out.
That approach apparently had a good effect on the defending back-to-back Connie Mack World Series champs, and tonight's 11-0 mercy rule win in Game 12 over D-BAT Elite showed it.
The Yankees tracked down the ball, stayed in front of it and made the simple plays.
"We worked a lot on trying to make solid throws," Beavers said.
From there, East Cobb's potent offense again wreaked havoc. The Yankees hit a couple of nice choppers up the middle, and they continued smashing liners past the infield.
"We swing the bats pretty good. We're pretty solid all the way through the lineup," Beavers said.
The Yankees built a 6-0 in the bottom of the third inning and didn't look back from there, later putting the game to and early end with a couple of run-scoring hits to right field.
“I’m a firm believer that whoever scores first wins the majority of the time. Especially when you spot them a 6-spot in the third, it’s kind of tough to compete,” D-BAT coach Brandon Gowins said. “The momentum’s on their side, and then they had a couple of balls find some holes. We didn’t quite make the plays we needed to today.”
D-BAT Elite hitters had a rough evening, struggling to get the ball past the infield, and some base-running blunders hurt them. Such moments included Mitchell Dickson misjudging how far a deep shot by Caeden Trenkle traveled. Trenkle hammered the ball to the left-field wall. Dickson initially thought it went over, but it didn't.
Dickson was then tagged out roughly two-thirds of the way to third base. Trenkle decided not to go for second base, despite being only a foot or two away from the bag, and retreated back to first base.
D-BAT Elite's CMWS run came to a halt with the loss.
East Cobb will have a bye on Saturday if the Danville Hoots beat the Florida Legends in tonight's other semifinals game. If Florida wins, East Cobb will face the Legends at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.