Julian Caruso of Allentown Legion dives back to first base ahead of pickoff attempt.
By Sean Reilly
The Allentown Legion lost their first game of the Diamond Nation High School Fall League season nearly two months ago.
They’ve won every contest since, and plan to keep it that way heading into the final night of the league playoffs.
The latest conquest for third-seeded Allentown Legion was a 14-0, three-inning quarterfinal victory over the 11th-seeded Morris County Cubs 16U Navy on Wednesday night in Flemington.
Allentown advanced by getting a two-run home run from Jack Osmond in the first inning, followed by a 12-run bottom of the third for the knockout blow via the mercy rule.
Allentown Legion, now 8-1, will face second-seeded Hustle Baseball Academy (14-2) in the semifinals at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The other semifinal matches top-seeded and undefeated Whitehouse Post 284 (16-0) against fifth-seeded Hillsborough Cardinal (11-5). The winners will play for the championship at 8 o’clock.
Allentown Legion’s only loss was an 8-1 setback to Whitehouse Post 284 on opening night back on Sept. 11.
“We’re not taking anyone lightly, but we feel we’re the best team in it,” said Osmond, whose home run was his second of the Fall League season. “We’re a whole different team than from the first game. Game one, we were still kind of new to each other. Pretty much after that, we came back and we connected, and just went off from there.”
Allentown Legion didn’t just hit the ball hard against the Morris County Cubs, who were playing immediately after a confidence-building, 7-2, first-round win over the sixth-seeded Sussex Miners, in which the Cubs scored five times in the top of the sixth to erase a 2-0 deficit.
Jack Osmond of Allentown Legion is greeted by teammates after hitting first-inning home run.
Allentown accomplished something seldom seen in any level of baseball, by turning inning-ending infield double plays in each of the three innings.
The 6-4-3 double play which ended the top of the first set up Allentown Legion for a productive bottom of the inning. Julian Caruso led off with a walk and stole second before Osmond unloaded a fastball beyond the fence in left-center field.
Allentown Legion then ended the game by erupting for 12 runs before the second out was recorded in the bottom of the third.
The inning included an RBI triple from Caruso, an RBI single from Luke Dowd, compounded by an error for an additional run, RBI singles from Nick Izzo, Sean Heissler and Devin Garvey, and a two-run single by Dom Inzilla.
The 10 starters in the batting lineup all finished with one hit for Allentown Legion. The first four batters – Caruso, Osmond, Rutgers-bound Jack Sweeney and Inzilla – also drew two walks each. Caruso and Osmond also scored three runs each.
Tyler Snider’s one-out single in the second inning was the lone hit for the Cubs, who finished the Fall League with a 3-6 record.