Diamond Jacks Super 11U power way to Harley Davidson title

By Bob Behre

An ability to strike quickly and in a big way served the Diamond Jacks Super 11U team well on its way to the Williams Harley Davidson tournament championship on Sunday at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

The Super 11U squad erupted for seven runs on five hits in the top of the fifth inning to turn a 7-5 lead into a 14-5 victory over Staten Island National in the WHD championship game. The Diamond Jacks, who scored an astounding 67 runs in running the table in its five games, had struck for 10 runs in the sixth inning to put away their quarterfinal round victory. 

“We hit real well in the tournament,” said Diamond Jacks Super 11U coach Walter Cleary. “We hit at least one home run in every game and hit six homers in our quarterfinal.”

Sal Garcia laid the said groundwork for the Diamond Jack’s victory in the championship game when he led off the top of the first inning with a booming home run well beyond the fence in left field. That triggered a five-run outburst that included Yadi Mateo’s two-run single and Andrew Parisi’s two-run blast over the center field fence. Logan Raghunath also singled in the middle of the rally.

But Staten Island hadn’t gained the No. 1 seed in the playoffs without a bit of grit and discernment of its own and answered with five runs in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 5-5.

Staten Island (4-1) worked Super 11U pitching for four walks and two big hits in the inning. Jason Dennis drew a bases-loaded walk, Todd Sarcona and Nicky Vieira drove in single runs on fielder’s choice grounders, Dennis scored on a wild pitch and Anthony Abruzese doubled home Christian Schettini. Gordon Mateo, Matthew Rao and Schettini also drew walks in the rally. 

The Diamond Jacks (5-0) regained the lead on Derek Ray Escobar’s two-out RBI single in the third and tacked on a second run in the inning on a throwing error. Raghunath (3-for-4, 2 runs) triggered the rally with a leadoff single.

The teams entered the fifth inning in a 7-5 nailbiter as Diamond Jacks relievers Ian Grenda and Matt Diskin combined to shut out Staten Island for three straight innings.

Garcia, perhaps hungry for another dinger, led off the fifth and lofted a deep fly to left that went for a triple. By the time the Diamond Jacks were through in the fifth, 11 batters had come to the plate, six of them had a hit, three of them walked and seven of them scored a run. Escobar had a two-run single, Mateo singled in a run, Joey Dwek brought home a run on a grounder to the right side and Garcia, Raghunath and Cody Sherrer scored on wild pitches.

“I think we battled in our at bats and we really had some timely hits,” said Cleary. “We swung the heck out of it, top-to-bottom. It was good to see the kids execute and, at times, drive the ball out of the yard.”

The Diamond Jacks outscored their tournament opponents 67-19 and the Staten Island National, which had come into the final on a 42-7 tear, held a 47-21 runs advantage on its opponents.

The Diamond Jacks’ No. 3 hitter Dylan Wayne went 2-for-2, drew a walk and scored three runs in the championship game and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

9U Champions

Cherry Hill National nipped Proswing TPS 9U, 11-10, in the 9U Williams Harley Davidson championship game. Cherry Hill National went 4-0 in the tournament and outscored its opponents 45-13. Proswing TPS 9U, which had dropped an 11-1 decision to Cherry Hill in pool play, went 2-2 and held a 36-34 runs advantage on its opponents.



10U Champions

Team Citius edged South Jersey Elite Orange, 5-4, to secure the 10U Williams Harley Davidson title. Team Citius’ Bryan German was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Team Citius (4-0) outscored its opponents 38-5. SJ Elite Orange (4-1) poured in 50 runs to its opponents’ 26.


12U Champions

Richmond County Baseball Club Nationals defeated the Jersey Storm, 10-5, in the 12U Williams Harley Davidson championship game. RCBC’s Greg Bruno was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. RCBC (5-0) outscored its opponents 48-18. Jersey Storm (4-1) scored a stunning 61 runs and held its opponents to 18 runs.


13U Champions

PA Shockers outlasted the MVP Blue Jackets 13U Elite, 7-5 in eight innings in the 13U Williams Harley Davidson final. The Shockers’ Vinny Pellegrini was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Shockers held an impressive 34-9 runs advantage against its opponents. The Blue Jackets (4-1) outscored their opponents, 39-15.


14U Champions

Diamond Jacks Super 14U coasted to a 10-0 victory over Pascack Valley in the 14U Williams Harley Davidson championship game. The Super 14U’s Chooch Suarez was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Diamond Jacks (5-0) had a dominating 54-9 runs advantage against its opponents. Pascack Valley (3-1) outscored its opponents, 23-18.