DIAMOND JACK 14U SQUADS SQUARE OFF IN FALL INV. FINAL

By Bob Behre

 

Lefthander Truman Richter permitted just two hits over six innings, struck out 11 and walked two to guide the
Diamond Jacks Super 14U squad past their DJack brothers on the Gold 14U team, 4-1, in the Fall Invitational championship game on Sunday at Diamond Nation.

The Gold 14U team prevailed, 7-6, in a wild semifinal against the BC Generals to earn a trip to the final.

Three other champions were crowned at the Fall Invitational.

The PPH Patriots nipped LVBA Prospects, 3-1, in the 16U White Bracket championship game and All-Out Pack edged Biggie Black Sox, 3-2, to take home the hardware in the 16U Gold Bracket. The Diamond Jacks Super 11U team defeated Clarkstown Stars Black, 16-2, to secure the 11U Fall Invitational title.

Richter utilized a live fastball and a deftly placed curveball to register at least one strikeout per inning and struck out the side in both the second and sixth innings.

“I normally pitch to contact,” said Richter. “But I was painting the corners with my fastball, so stayed with it.

I dropped in some curveballs, too.”

Diamond Jacks Gold 14U starter, righthander Michael Fattore, did an excellent job dueling Richter and keeping his team in the game. Fattore permitted just two runs, one earned, on three hits over four innings, struck out two and walked one.

The Super 14U manufactured its first run after Alex Kim drew a one out walk in the bottom of the second. Andres Suarez, the Super 14U’s impressive catcher, then shot a single into right-center field to chase Kim to third base. Michael Ballou followed with a grounder to the right side that brought home Kim with the game’s first run.

Connor Dreyer, the Super 14U’s No. 2 hitter and the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led off the the fourth with a double to left field. Jayden Hylton then reached on an infield error that allowed Dreyer to score all the way from second and boost the lead to 2-0.

The Gold 14U team had a chance to get on the board in the top of the third when it opened the inning with a single and a walk. But Suarez, showcasing his cannon of an arm, picked off the lead runner at second base before Richter struck out the next two batters to end the threat.

Peyton Wapelhorst beat out an infield single with one out to give the Gold 14U squad hope in the fourth. Richter, however, induced a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play to short-circuit a potential rally.

Suarez was again in the middle of a critical rally in the fifth when the Super 14U team struck for two runs that lifted its lead to 4-0. Suarez led off the inning with a booming triple over the center fielder’s head. Then, with one out, Ryan Facinelli dropped a gorgeous safety squeeze down the right side as courtesy runner Matt Wright scored easily for a 3-0 lead. The second run of the inning was scored by Damian Zsak. Zsak drew a two-out walk, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error.

The Gold 14U squad would not only score a run in the top of the seventh off reliever Hylton, it would load the bases and bring the potential winning run to the plate.

Hylton, who had a pair of doubles and reached on an error in his three trips to the plate, had an adventurous top of the seventh. After inducing the first batter to pop out, he issued consecutive walks to Andrew Keller, Wapelhorst and Walter Schwartz. That lined up the Gold 14U’s numbers three, four and five hitters.

Michael Fattore reached and Keller scored when Fattore’s slow bouncer to the left side was mishandled. Hylton, however, got his mechanics in proper order and struck out the next two batters to end the game.

“It was a tough day for us,” said Super 14U coach Brian DelRosso. “We had to win three games but it all started with the first one and a 12-2 victory (over the Underground Vipers). We’re a little tired but we got it done.” The Super 14U defeated Gallagher Newtown Select, 10-2, in the semifinals.

Michael Damato of the PPH Patriots was named the 16U White Bracket Most Valuable Player. The PPH Patriots (4-1) outscored their opponents 30-12. The White Bracket runner-up LVBA Prospects (4-1) held a 40-12 advantage over their opponents.

Sal Garcia of the Diamond Jacks Super 11U team was named the 11U Fall Invitational MVP.

All-Out Pack went 4-0 in the Gold Bracket, holding a 34-13 runs advantage. Runner-up Biggie Black Sox (3-1-1) held a 35-12 edge in runs.

The Diamond Jacks Super 11U (4-0) amassed 56 runs while permitting just 10 in its four tournament games. Runner-up Clarkstown Stars Black finished 2-2 in the tournament.