What a difference a year makes.
After finishing 0-4 on a spring-break baseball trip to Myrtle Beach in 2018, the Yorktown Patriots (13-2) returned to the same venue and Mingo Bay Classic tournament this season and won a championship with a 4-1 record.
Those wins in the top Division I high-school bracket included an 8-1 victory over St. Albans of West Virginia in the April 18 title game at Myrtle Beach High School, and 4-1 win over Battlefield earlier the same day.
Yorktown amassed 44 hits in the tourney, allowed just seven runs and did not make an error in its final four games.
“We hit well, but our pitching and defense were fantastic,” Yorktown coach John Skaggs said. “You allow only seven runs, you have to be happy with that.”
In the title game, Yorktown had 15 hits, led by three from tournament MVP Ben Koomey. Quinlan Montgomery celebrated his birthday with three hits and two RBI, Will Porter added two hits and had a squeeze bunt, Jacob Friend had two hits and two RBI, Alec Ellison had an RBI, and Jonah Margosis had a squeeze bunt.
On the mound, right-hander Will Fineman started and went six innings with three strikeouts to get his second win in the tournament. Ryan Salsburg pitched a perfect seventh with two strikeouts.
The Patriots broke the game open by scoring five runs in the top of the fourth inning.
For the tournament, Koomey played in four games, batted .714 (going 10 for 14) and had six doubles and multiple RBI.
By defeating Battlefield, Yorktown knocked off the No. 1-ranked team in Northern Virginia Baseball Magazine’s weekly top-10 poll. Yorktown was ranked 10th.
“That was an intense game,” Skaggs said.
The Patriots had 12 hits, with Koomey having three. Montgomery had two hits and three RBI, Porter had an RBI and Peter Ogden had two hits.
On the mound, Nathan Knowles went six innings with eight strikeouts. Salsburg pitched the seventh.
“To shut them down, Knowles pitched phenomenal,” Skaggs said.
The two combined to allow only four hits.
“I thought we played well last year down there, but finished 0-4 against good teams,” Skaggs said. “This year we won those games against good teams.”
In its other three Mingo Bay Classic contests in 2019, Yorktown nipped Riverside, 4-3, lost to Asheville, 2-1, and blanked Bishop Grimes, 15-0.
The Patriots scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to rally past Riverside, getting only three hits. Koomey had two RBI. Salsburg (four strikeouts) and Bart Marshall (five Ks) did the pitching.
Against Asheville, Josh Jones had two hits and Margosis had an RBI. Aidan Henning had six strikeouts in 61/3 innings.
In the rout of Bishop Grimes, Fineman (three strikeouts) was the winning pitcher and Aidan Kennedy pitched in relief with three strikeouts.
With the bat, Cameron Patton had two hits and two RBI, Evan Rotker doubled and had three RBI, Anthony Guerrera had two hits, Luke Sedor had an RBI and Jones had a hit.
NOTE: The 13 wins match Yorktown’s victory total of last season when the Patriots finished 13-11 and won the Liberty District tournament championship. Through spring break this season, Yorktown was atop the district standings with a 5-0 record.