ASBA leadoff hitter Paul Daly takes a ball in the third inning on Thursday.
By Steve Merrill
A wild toe-to-toe, back-and-forth marathon between ASBA Futures 2023 Red and Tri State Arsenal NY National resulted in an 8-8 tie on Thursday in pool play at the Super 17 World Series Wood Bat Tournament.
ASBA started off strong, scratching across a run in the first inning and three more in the second to take an early 4-0 lead. Two doubles by Luke Jones and Jack Francis helped put up the three-spot in the second for ASBA.
“We came out strong,” said ASBA head coach and former New York Mets infielder Zach Lutz. “We’ve been coming out strong all week and then we had a couple innings there where everything kind of fell apart.”
Tri State Arsenal got on the board in the home half of the second. A walk and hit by pitch started the inning. Vinny Diosso and Ryan Pacella pulled off a double steal and Ryan Tam drove in the first run on a ground out. Jonas Means came up with runners on the corners and delivered a single to cut the lead in half at 4-2.
Tri State came back alive in the fifth inning, scoring four runs to come from behind and take a 6-5 lead. Thomas Galan started the rally with a single and advanced to second on a bad pickoff throw. Two batters later, O’Neill walked and then Matt Nochowitz walked. Josh Behar grounded one up the middle and shortstop Tyler Iams got the out at second, bringing in a run.
Ryan McLaughlin came up and chopped one along the first base line and when Hernandez fielded it and tried to make the tag, McLaughlin dove under his glove and into the base safely, scoring another run. Sean Maldonado then reached on another infield single for the third run of the inning. Still with two outs, McLaughlin then came in to score on the front end of a double steal as Brendan Chyrotta threw down to second on the attempt. Tri State Arsenal had five stolen bases in the fifth inning.
“I give our kids a lot of credit,” said Tri State head coach Lou Petrucci. “We came back with clutch hitting. It’s our fourth game of the tournament and we ran out of pitching depth but that’s okay. Our starter kept us in the game and we made some big plays. Just couldn’t get the clutch hit at the end.”
ASBA responded right away in the sixth, re-taking the lead with three runs in the frame. After a hit by pitch and a walk ignited the rally, Drew Delcollo launched a double in the gap that bounced over the fence in left-center field for a grounds rule double that scored two runs. A long sacrifice fly to deep center field then tacked on another, making it 8-6.
“Our guys have been swinging well all year so it was good to have everyone come together toward the end,” Lutz said. “A tie is better than a loss.”
Tri State had more rally in them in the home sixth. Sean Torres was hit and Tam followed with a single. Galan walked to load the bases for Means, who already had a clutch moment earlier. This time, Means came through again with a two-run single for his second and third runs batted in on the day to even the score at 8-8.
Both teams went scoreless in the seventh inning and the time limit had expired, so there was no extra innings. Five pitchers were used between the two teams in the game on a hot afternoon.
“It happens in summer baseball with the time limits and pool play,” Petrucci said. “We have to play better and not allow eight runs and expect to win the game.”