By Bob Behre
All-Out Scout managed four hits through six innings against Intensity Baseball 18U but exorcized that frustration with a huge top of the seventh inning on the way to a 7-1 victory in the 17/18U Summer Finale on Sunday at Diamond Nation.
Joe Duffy’s two-out RBI single had given Intensity Baseball a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth, but starter Matt Mincieli and two relievers could not contain the All-Out lineup any further. The South Jersey program erupted for seven runs on seven hits in its final at bat, four of them extra-base lasers in to the gaps.
“After giving up that run in the sixth, it was nice to go out like that in our last tournament of the summer,” said All-Out coach John Marcucci. “They were a good group to coach and I was glad to be part of it.”
That All-Out group proved a hearty entity when facing a 1-0 deficit, the final three outs of its summer and a disappointing tournament loss.
But Aidan Hoffman led off the seventh with an infield single and Ellis Schwartz followed with a hard single to right field to put All-Out in business. Connor Coolahan brought the tying run home quickly with a sac fly to right field before Sean Szestowicki delivered what proved to be the winning run when he launched a shot into the the right-center field gap for a run-scoring triple.
The big hits kept coming from there as Intensity Baseball tried to stem the tide with a pair of relievers. Josh Crowding followed with an RBI double to right-center and another run scored on a misplayed fly ball to right to extend the All-Out lead to 4-1. Ryan Mihlebach got into the rally with an RBI single to right. Mike Decker then found the other opposite gap with an RBI triple to left-center. Decker, the Red Bracket 17/18U Summer Finale’s Most Valuable Player, scored as the relay got away to cap the seven-run explosion.
Bobby Baxter followed with a double to right-center to give All-Out four extra-base hits in the inning but he was stranded.
Decker, who had 13 hits in the tournament and picked up a save, pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh to earn the victory. Decker allowed a run on one hit over two innings of relief, struck out three and hit a batter.
“We moved Mike up to the leadoff spot in the second game of the tournament,” said Marcucci. “He’s been more of a three-hole guy but we wanted to get his bat in there more.”
Decker, committed to Columbia, seemed to thrive in the new lineup spot.
“I liked it a lot,” said the rising senior third baseman from Clearview High School. “I got more at bats. And I like to hit first-pitch a lot and I got some good first pitches.” One of those was a fastball Decker turned into a home run in All-Out’s first round playoff victory over SNE Wave.
All-Out starting pitcher righty Ryan Kremer shut out Intensity Baseball on one hit over five efficient innings, striking out two and walking three. Decker entered in the sixth and hit Ryan Garz with a pitch with one out. Garz stole second and scored on Duffy’s hard single to center field.
Decker went 3-for-4 in the final and eight of the 10 All-Out batters had at least one hit in the game. Ryan Ford hit a two-out double deep down the right field line in the bottom of the first and moved to third on a wild pitch but was stranded there.
The righty Mincieli, a 2018 Long Branch High grad, had a heck of an outing before running out of gas in the seventh. Mincieli limited All-Out to four hits through the first six innings while striking out eight and walking one batter. He had retired seven in a row entering the seventh.
All-Out Scout (5-1) outscored its tournament opponents 40-17 while Intensity Baseball (4-1) held a 31-16 runs advantage on its opponents.
17/18U Summer Finale (White Bracket) Championship
Jersey Storm coasted to a 12-0 victory over Wrath Baseball in the 17/18U Summer Finale White Bracket championship game. Jersey Storm (4-0) outscored its tournament opponents 33-5. Wrath Baseball (4-1) held a 40-27 runs advantage on its opponents.
13U August Showdown Championship
Next Level Athletics 13U edged U.S. Elite 13U, 5-4, in the 13U August Showdown championship game. Next Level (5-0) outscored its tournament opponents 28-7. U.S. Elite (4-1) held a 30-14 runs advantage on its opponents.
16U Blue Chip Prospects Championship
The Diamond Jacks Super 16U nipped Long Island Body Armor Titans, 4-3, in the 16U Blue Chip Prospects championship game. The Diamond Jacks (7-0) outscored their tournament opponents 47-14. Long Island Body Armor Titans (7-1) held a 49-17 runs advantage on their opponents.