The Rode Show: IMG Academy Walks Off



By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

Thursday marked the final day of the IMG National Classic and the championship game presented the matchup we all wanted to see in South Hills HS, CA, vs. IMG Academy, FL. Both teams have potent lineups, but also had pitching remaining as each sent a Division I recruit to the mound to start. Despite both pitchers finding themselves in jams, it was a pitchers’ duel throughout with IMG winning on a bases loaded single in the seventh inning by C Alex Mangome.

With IMG as the home team, LHP Dion Henderson was the first on the mound and quickly found himself in trouble, loading the bases with no outs on a double, walk and single. But he struck out the next two batters looking and got a lineout to right to end the inning and escape with no runs allowed. He found trouble in the second, allowing a leadoff single that came around to score on an error by 3B Ryan Karstetter. But the Kentucky recruit settled in after that, retiring the side in order in the third and fourth innings. Henderson allowed a couple baserunners in the fifth and sixth, but none got past second base and he retired the side in order in the seventh. He finished with the complete game, striking out 10 while allowing an unearned run on five hits and a walk while striking out 10. He and LHP Logan Allen (IMG Academy, FL), who turned in a good performance on Monday, were named co-MVP pitchers of the tournament.

Henderson started out sitting 87-89 mph, touching 90 a few times, and ultimately settled into the 85-89 range with occasional run. He has a high leg kick and loose delivery. His curveball is slow and soft, ranging from 64-69 mph with 1/7 shape.

RHP John Dearth got the start for South Hills, which was actually his first outing of the year after being behind schedule because of basketball. Dearth pitched at the Team USA 15U Trials in 2014 and was 85-87 with sink and run. He didn’t show that today, sitting in the low 80s, but he’s just a sophomore and hadn’t appeared in a game yet this season. Dearth pitched 4.2 innings, allowing one unearned run on four hits and a walk while striking out three.

Mangome was named MVP of the tournament after going 5-for-9 in three games with a double and three RBIs. He had the game-winning single in the seventh and drove in both of IMG’s runs. He is committed to Northern Kentucky.

IMG Academy will now head to Southern California to play in the Anderson Bat National Classic, a strong tournament with a heavy dose of California programs.

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