Constantino Tanganelli of the TBT Ballers eyes the next pitch in 17/18U World Series.
By Will Harrigan
TBT Ballers 18U coach Kieran Koch has a simple strategy for navigating through a tough, four-games over three-day stretch.
“We want to play in low scoring affairs and keep our pitching in line,” says Koch.
That strategy worked out well on Monday afternoon.
Riding the stellar pitching of R.J. Ensel and Henry Farkas, the Ballers were able to notch a low scoring, 3-1 victory over NY Prospects of Staten Island in an All-New York matchup in the 18U World Series at Diamond Nation.
The victory capped off an unbeaten day for TBT Ballers, who tied the Diamond Jacks 17U Gold squad, 3-3, in their opener. The game was the first of four this week for the Prospects.
Ensel and Farkas went four and three innings, respectively, and combined to only surrender four hits and one unearned run and guide their squad to victory.
“That’s exactly what we wanted from those guys,” said Koch. “Our plan was to split them up, and both of them threw extremely well for us.”
The Ballers drew first blood in the bottom half of the third by manufacturing a run.
Leadoff man Devon Cass drew a free pass to start the inning, and swiped second base a few pitches later.
Two batters later, Michael Robinson laced a line drive to center to score Cass and move the Ballers ahead, 1-0.
Following Ensel’s fourth scoreless inning, the Ballers went back to work, and it was Cass who ultimately came up flush again.
Jake Spindler and Jack Humbach – both near the bottom of the Ballers’ order – reached on fielder’s choices, putting runners on the corners with two outs.
Cass, who plays his high school ball at Clarkstown (Pa.) North, would then rope a gap-splitting ball out to left field, ultimately resulting in a triple and two runs scored to give the Ballers two immeasurably important runs to go with a two-run lead.
The Prospects had their best chance to do damage in Farkas’ first inning on the hill in the fifth. A pair of free passes and a hit batsman allowed the Prospects to load the bases with two outs, but Farkas got Jeremy Otero to ground out to escape damage.
An inning later, Frankie DiGirolamo manufactured a run all by himself with two outs.
DeGirolamo drew a walk off Farkas, reached second on a wild pitch, stole third and ultimately scored when the throw down to third base ended up down the left field line for an error.
Farkas, however, would recover by retiring the last four batters to end the game.