This article was originally published on www.perfectgame.org by Blake Dowson. Read the original article here.
JUPITER, Fla. – FTB/Phillies Scout Team’s Joseph Fredericks was called upon in the biggest moment of their tournament thus far, hanging onto a two-run lead in the sixth inning with the bases juiced full of Rawlings National Scout Team players and just one out.
Fredericks responded by punching out a pair to end the inning and getting the Phillies out of trouble, and shut the door in the seventh with three more strikeouts.
In a close game filled with the playoff intensity that Jupiter brings, Fredericks was nails.
“Joe Frederick at the end there, he’s been doing that for us all summer long,” Phillies coach Jeff Perez said. “He came in there and got a huge save.”
The Phillies won in the margins and made all the right plays in the Round of 32, and it was just enough to get past Rawlings National.
Lee Ellis proved to be a difference maker at shortstop for the Phillies, saving multiple runs in a contest that stayed close through the last pitch.
Rawlings got its first two runners on via base hits in the fourth inning, down just one run. With one out, a slow roller sent Ellis to his right toward third base; Ellis wanted to go to third with the ball to get a force out, but the runner on second got a good enough jump to where that was not an option. Instead, Ellis uncorked a cross-body throw to nail the runner at first. In the next at-bat, Rawlings sent a single up the middle, though Ellis slid to keep the ball on the infield, jumped up and threw a runner out at the plate who tried to score from second base.
Those are the types of winning plays Perez loves to see from his infielder.
“Lee has been doing that all summer for us as well,” he said. “He’s so versatile, he can really play all three infield positions. The plays he made today show his athleticism. South Carolina’s getting a really good player there…He’s heady, smart, and I want the ball hit to him.”
The Phillies had to deal with more traffic on the basepaths in the fifth, a common theme in this game.
A leadoff single was negated by a successful pickoff attempt from Andreas Alvarez, though, and a double in the next at-bat was taken away when Ellis uncorked a perfect relay throw to nab the runner trying to stretch the knock into a triple.
“[Our pitchers] grinded through it today,” Perez said. “There was some traffic. [Rawlings] can really swing it. We didn’t let it faze us if one or two guys got on. They stayed the course and threw the ball over the plate. That was the key, eliminate the freebies, and we did that.”
Of course, there were also runs scored in this one. Garet Boehm led the way offensively for the Phillies, as he’s done much of the tournament. His two-run double over the left fielder’s head in the second inning gave his team the lead. Boehm is now hitting .333 through four games with four RBI.
He joined Ellis on the left side of the infield and proved he can pick it just as well as his shortstop, making several nice plays on balls hit to the hot corner.
“[Boehm] seems to have a knack for finding barrels,” Perez said. “He doesn’t strike out much for a guy with juice…He’s been crucial for us. He’s been playing tremendous third base for us as well. But that stick, it’s got some thump.”
The Phillies will be right back at it in the 1:30 pm slot Sunday in the Round of 16. A win in that one gets them to Championship Monday.
The formula to get there is the same they used this morning, which can comfort Perez as he finds some shade in between ballgames.
“It’s all just pitching and defense,” he said. “That’s cliché, but that’s the real deal.”