Catcher Connor Lacey of Baseball Performance Center steps on home plate to force out 5 Star baserunner Janier Rodriguez, Jr.
By Sean Reilly
On June 6, Isaac Terhune was the starting left fielder when Cape Henlopen High School won the Delaware state championship.
Four weeks later, his success carried over to the fields at Diamond Nation, where the rising junior helped his summer team, 5 Star National Mid-Atlantic, complete an unbeaten week at the 16U World Series.
The fourth and final victory for the Elkton, Md., based team was a 6-4 decision over Baseball Performance Center from South Jersey on Friday morning in Flemington.
The victory earned 5 Star one of the five berths from the event into the Super 16 Top 25 Tournament, which will be held at Diamond Nation from Aug. 15-19.
Terhune delivered the big blow in the clincher with a three-run double which gave his team a 3-0 lead with two out in the bottom of the first inning.
“I got one right down the middle and swung at it,” he said. “It was good to give us a lead in the first inning.”
Aside from the quick start in the opening frame, 5 Star got quality pitching from starter Luke Trout and reliever Devin Walsh, and a defensive effort which included left fielder Levy DaSilva throwing out a runner at the plate in the second and second baseman Ryan Flasinski turning an inning-ending double play by snaring a line-drive and tossing to shortstop John Grybowski with runners on second and third in the third.
For the week, 5 Star outscored its opponents, 25-7.
“We had a great week,” 5 Star coach Andrew Jernejcic said. “We came here looking to play good teams and play our brand of baseball. I feel like we did that. We had games with one run given up, two runs given up, we got the bats going with multiple extra base hits, that’s what we do. We came here to win baseball games and get better. Moving on to the Super 25 was the goal, but the ultimate goal was to get better.”
5 Star was efficient from the get-go against Baseball Performance Center. Trout pitched an uneventful top of the first, and Flasinski led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, followed by an advancement to second on an errant pickoff throw.
Brayden Gregg flew out to center, with Flasinski crossing to third base. Caleb Strawhecker was hit by a pitch and Danny Stickney walked to load the bases. The next batter struck out, but Terhune followed with his bases-clearing double to center.
“That’s what Isaac has been for us,” Jernejcic said. “He’s an all-around guy. He can catch, play first base and outfield, and he’s a state champion this year. He’s used to these types of games.”
Baseball Performance Center, which finished the week with a 1-2-1 record, got two runs back in the second. Leo Bluestein had an RBI double to center with no out, and Will Lapointe hit a sacrifice fly with one away.
5 Star extended its lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the third. Two walks and an error loaded the bases for Strawhecker with one out, and he came through with an RBI single to the second base side.
Baseball Performance Center rallied for a 4-4 tie in the fourth. Bluestein drew a one-out walk, Mike Piskun was safe on an error and Matt Pahley singled in a run. After a pitching change, Lapointe’s single to shortstop scored Piskun.
5 Star played some successful small ball to retake the lead in the bottom of the inning. Janier Rodriguez, Jr. led off with a single to shortstop. Gavin Brown and Hassan Turner followed with consecutive bunt singles to load the bases. A fielder’s choice ground ball to shortstop forced out Rodriguez, Jr. at the plate, but a wild pitch brought in Brown with the go-ahead run.
5 Star added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth, courtesy of an RBI double by Stickney with one out.
“That’s what we’re about,” Jernejcic said. “Playing good baseball.”