Notre Dame Triumphs in Tournament Championship
Fighting Irish and Commodores battle it out for the 9th time in closely contested final gameUpdated Thursday May 26, 2016 by Notre Dame.
Notre Dame and Vanderbilt concluded another close contest Tuesday, as Notre Dame won the Major Division Tournament Championship by the score of 3-1 over Vanderbilt. This was the ninth and final match-up between first half winner Vanderbilt (19-8) and second half winner Notre Dame (18-8). The teams split their regular season series 2 games each, followed by a hard-fought World Series won by Vanderbilt 2 games to 1. Notre Dame followed with a victory over Vanderbilt in the finals of the tournament winner’s bracket last Saturday, after which Vanderbilt beat Ole Miss 9-7 in extra innings to force the championship rematch.
Notre Dame got off to a quick start, scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning after lead off walks to Jake Lambdin and Kevin McCaffery, followed by RBI line drives from Brandon Woolley and Jack Stevens. Vanderbilt starter Ryan Smaldino came back to shut down the Irish bats through the 4th inning before handing the ball over to Kyle Volpe who kept the pressure on. The two Commodore pitchers combined to allow only four Irish baserunners and no additional runs after the 1st inning. Great defensive plays by shortstop Carter Ferrara, second baseman Luke Johnson, and center fielder Luke Smaldino backed up the strong Vandy pitching.
Notre Dame starter Brandon Woolley pitched a complete game, allowing one run on two hits, backed by several strong defensive gems from shortstop Jake Lambdin, second baseman Nate Warren, and first baseman Jack Stevens. Vanderbilt struck in the top of the 2nd, with two outs and a runner on first, Andrew Croopnick, facing a 1-2 count, hit a scorcher down the right field line for an RBI triple to put Vandy on the board. After a 1-2-3 3rd inning, Vandy brought the pressure again in the 4th with Luke Smaldino and Ryan Smaldino drawing back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. A fielder’s choice out at 2nd base on a diving stop by Nate Warren landed the first out. With runners at 1st and 3rd, a line drive come-backer to Woolley turned into a double play pick at 1st base to end the inning and the Vandy scoring threat. The Irish closed strong, allowing only one base runner through the final two innings.
This was an exciting conclusion to a great season for Trabuco Canyon’s Majors Division, and an awesome closing effort for all the 12 year-olds playing their final game at Wagon Wheel. Congratulations to the Vanderbilt coaches and players for their World Series title and to the Notre Dame coaches and players for their tournament championship. Both teams now move on to represent TCLL in the District 68 Tournament of Champions, June 4th-14th at Curtis Field in Mission Viejo.
Come out and support Notre Dame and Vanderbilt in TOC as they try to bring another banner home to Wagon Wheel!