CHAMPION-- Creekside Fitness, OH

RUNNER UP-- BHM Buckeyes, OH

BATTING CHAMPION-- Ryan Hunkele, BHM Buckeyes

MVP-- Zach McLean, Creekside Fitness

Championship Game Final Score-- Creekside Fitness 3  BHM Buckeyes 2

2023 NABF 16u Junior Division Champions – Creekside Fitness


STRUTHERS, Ohio — The 61st NABF Junior World Series comprised 12 teams from New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania divided into three pools. After each team played three pool contests, the top eight advanced to the quarterfinals, while two of the four teams that didn't make it played a consolation game.

Avalanche won Pool B and earned the first seed to face the eighth-seeded Brooklyn Bonnie Bees. The Astro Falcons were the Pool A winners to take the second seed and battled Creekside Fitness, the seventh seed. Pool C winners, Impact secured the third seed to take on the sixth-seeded Legends Athletics. The last matchup consisted of the fourth-seeded BHM Buckeyes and Ohio Longhorns – Hackim, the fifth seed. Avalanche, Creekside, Athletics, and Buckeyes moved on by scores of 9-2, 10-0, 12-0, and 5-1.

After the quarterfinals, two of the top three seeds, second and third, were knocked out, with the top seed falling in the semifinals. The Buckeyes needed just one run to shut out the Avalanche 1-0, despite recording three errors, while Creekside dominated the Athletics 16-1.

The championship featured two teams that didn't win their respective pool or have a good run differential before bracket play. BHM had a 2-run differential, while Creekside carried a -1-run differential. It all changed for these two teams in different ways, where BHM relied on quality pitching, defense, and timely hitting while Creekside relentlessly out-hit and outscored the opposition.

BHM took the early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Dylan Milk retired Creekside in order. Wyatt Burchill, Creekside starter, walked Kyle Rhineberger and Patrick Keough, and two batters later, Ryan Hunkele singled, moving everyone up a base. Burchill walked Dyln Newsome to force in a run, but Milk struck out to end the inning.

In the second, Creekside had its first of many chances with runners in scoring position when Mason Petridis singled, and Milk hit Carter Owens with a pitch. Dom Ryan and Zach McLean failed to move the runners over or drive at least one of them in.

It continued for Creekside in the third as Tommy Gargasz singled and Burchill sacrifice bunted him to second. With Frank Senediak at the plate, Gargasz jumped on a 0-0 pitch where Newsome threw him out at third. Senediak later singled in the at-bat, and Jackson Cheeks doubled, but Milk got Maddox Yost to fly out to left, ending the threat. 

BHM added a run in the third via an Owens throwing error that allowed Keough to score easily from third. After a Newsome walk, Landon Brunstetter would strike out Milk looking, keeping it a 2-0 game.

Following not scoring on a bases-loaded opportunity in the fourth, Creekside took advantage an inning later. They scored on an RBI single from Yost, and Owens tied it on a sacrifice fly.

Brunstetter cruised through the fifth and sixth frames to work four scoreless relief innings. Mason Pozo, who pitched the sixth for the Buckeyes, started the seventh and got into trouble. He hit Yost with a pitch and walked Petridis and Owens to load the bases. After striking out pinch hitter Trent Litman, Aaron Wychock replaced Pozo. 

Ethan Powell delivered the decisive blow on a base hit, giving Creekside a 3-2 lead even if Petridis — an insurance run — was thrown out at the plate on the play.

Creekside brought in McLean to close out the Buckeyes in the seventh. He shut them down, one-two-three, with a strikeout to Wychock to end it, making Creekside the NABF Junior Division World Series champions.

For each NABF World Series, the tournament committee selects an All Tournament Team, including the Batting Champion and MVP, which went to Hunkele and McLean, respectively. 

2023 NABF 16u Junior All Tournament Team

Kaden Mayhew Avalanche C
Brandon Schneider Pitbulls C
Benjamin Bee Ohio Longhorns - Hackim UTIL
Frank Senediak Creekside IF
Logan Straight Impact Baseball IF
Tanner Stricko Astro Falcons IF
Ryan Hunkele BHM Buckeyes IF -- Batting Champion
Kyle Rhineberger BHM Buckeyes IF
Landon Whippo Avalanche OF
Jackson Cheeks Creekside OF
Maddox Yost Creekside OF
Patrick Keough BHM Buckeyes OF
Aaron Wychock BHM Buckeyes OF
Dylan Milk BHM Buckeyes P
Riggs Retz Brooklyn Bonnie Bees P
Carter Phillips Ohio Supreme P
Harrison Schneider Legends Athletics P
Clayton Macaluso Ohio Longhorns - DeBord P
Zach McLean Creekside P -- MVP
Carter Owens Creekside P
Derek Smail Creekside P