Jackson Crimaldi of All-Out Pack 12U hits one of three home runs by his team against the Knights.
By Rich Bevensee
Famous home run hitting teammates live forever in baseball lore. Ruth and Gehrig. Mays and McCovey. Aaron and Matthews. Mantle and Maris. McGwire and Canseco.
Baseball, get ready for Crimaldi, Filiaci and McCabe.
All Out Baseball Pack 12U pitcher Addison Adornato had one of the best seats in the house while watching his teammates go into launch mode, and why wouldn’t he enjoy the show?
Adornato, backed by the longball efforts of Jackson Crimaldi, Matt Filiaci and Nick McCabe, pitched a five-hitter and helped All Out grab a four-inning, 16-3 victory over the New England Knights in both teams’ final pool play game in the Spring Classic on Sunday at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
“It’s like a relief for me because I can pitch with confidence when I know those guys are going to hit,” Adornato said. “The bats woke up today and they were smashing the ball around. Sixteen runs is easy to pitch behind, and watching the big guys hit is fun to see.”
All Out’s run total was one more than they scored in their two pool play games combined on Saturday. The Pack secured the top seed for the 12U playoff bracket by beating Tribe Baseball, 9-1, and Full Count Baseball, 6-2.
“This lineup definitely provides a lot of offense,” All Out coach Steve Filiaci said. “And the thing about this team is, one through 12, they can all hit anywhere from 1 through 5 in the order. When they’re clicking, they’re clicking. There is no easy out in the lineup.”
Probably the most eye-popping homer came off the bat of Crimaldi, a 5-11, 175-pound 12-year old (he turns 13 in June) who grew gasps from the Knights faithful when he strode to the plate.
In his second at bat with a runner on, Crimaldi mashed the first offering he saw so far over the left center field fence of Field 6, the Knights’ left and center fielders merely turned to watch it travel into orbit. The two-run homer traveled an estimated 365 feet and gave the Pack 7-0 lead.
Crimaldi said he’s swatted more than 20 homers this spring and his prodigious blast on Sunday was nowhere near his longest of the season. Scary stuff.
Despite his formidable frame, Crimaldi said his approach at the plate has nothing to do with aiming for the fences.
“You have to think, stay up the middle and keep your hands close because if you don’t you could pull off the baseball,” Crimaldi said. “In my first at bat I hit the ground ball (a ground out to second) because my eyes lit up and I was too early and pulled off the ball. So you have to keep your approach and try to go up the middle and stay through the baseball.”
McCabe was the first Pack member to go deep on Sunday. After Michael Schaffer led off the top of the second inning by reaching on an error, the lefty-hitting McCabe ripped a low liner, which sizzled over the right field fence.
That dinger triggered a four-run inning which gave the Pack a 5-2 lead. James Fenton and Alex Pietramik added RBI singles in the frame.
In the top of the third, Brandon Cohen singled before Crimaldi ignited a four-run burst with his two-run homer. Schaffer lasered an RBI double to left center and Michael Fogarty added an RBI single for a 9-2 All-Out lead. Schaffer finished 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI.
Filiaci joined the home run derby in the fourth inning with a three-run moonshot to right which appeared headed for the light stanchion, a la Roy Hobbs in “The Natural.” Filiaci’s homer fueled a seven-run frame which put the game out of reach.
Crimaldi (2 for 3, four RBI) added a two-run double in the fourth while Fogarty (2 for 3, two RBI) tacked on an RBI single. Fenton finished 2 for 2 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Five of these batters – Adornato, Crimaldi and Filiaci, as well as Mateo Liloia and Michael Donahue – are most likely matriculating to Gov. Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights, which is terrific news for varsity baseball coach Chris Roof.
And as for Adornato, he merely had to tame the Knights’ bats long enough for the runs to pile up. He permitted five hits and three walks and struck out three. Due to his pitch count, Crimaldi came on to get the final out.
“I felt really good today,” Adornato said. “The fastball was working, I mixed in the curveball, didn’t use the change as much, but when I did use it they were off balance.”
“That was probably the best Addison has thrown in his four or five outings this spring,” Filiaci said. “He was struggling with his command early in the season, but he’s throwing strikes now.”
Center fielder and leadoff man Tyler Hogan enjoyed a tremendous performance for the Knights. He made two terrific grabs on the run in center, and offensively he walked, ripped a double to left center and scored twice.
Also for the Knights, Luca Loschiavo cracked an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning and Liam Main blasted an RBI double to give the New England visitors a brief 2-1 lead. Quinn Mullins added an RBI single in the third.
The loss to the Pack closed out the weekend for the Knights, who on Saturday lost 9-1 to Full Count and 14-2 to Tribe Baseball.