ASBA West Chester Joe Catania awaits throw as Uncommon 2029 Gold’s George Felici approaches.
By Sean Reilly
With the strong tournament competition that exists at Diamond Nation, winning your pool play opener can give your team a great feeling heading into the remainder of the weekend.
When you do so in come-from-behind fashion in taxing 95-degree weather, the momentum boost feels even sweeter.
Just ask the All-Star Baseball Academy West Chester Blue 11U, which did just that on Saturday afternoon while defeating Uncommon 2029 Gold, 12-4, in a collision between Pennsylvania teams at the Spring Fever Tournament in Flemington.
“It’s great,” ASBA West Chester coach Steve Van Note said. “You get the first win in pool play, you can kind of line up to see how the rest of the pool does, evaluate your pitching for the rest of the weekend, and it’s always nice to give the guys a good energy boost to get the confidence going with that first W.”
To prove that point, ASBA West Chester came back later on Saturday afternoon to beat the Morris County Cubs, 7-1. They played another 2-0 Pennsylvania team, Bucks County Generals 11U Black, in a game that decided the pool winner on Sunday morning. The Generals prevailed in a real good one, 5-4.
ASBA West Chester did a little bit of everything to beat Uncommon, which scored all of its runs in the top of the third inning, highlighted by a three-run home run by R.J. Harvey, to take a 4-2 lead.
The Uncommon lead was short lived, with ASBA West Chester scoring six times in the bottom of the inning to open a four-run lead.
That uprising began with a double down the left field line by Jude Sawyer, who scored on a single by leadoff man Chase Griesser (3-for-3, three runs, four stolen bases). After the next two batters reached to load the bases, Griffin West hit into a fielder’s choice that erased one runner and scored the other two for a 5-4 lead. Another run scored on an error before Brady Van Note delivered a hit for a 7-4 advantage. Van Note scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch.
ASBA West Chester pitcher Ryan Miller, who pitched all five innings, induced a two-out pitcher-to-first groundout to end the top of the fourth inning with a runner on second base, and got a two-out pop up to second base with runners on first and third in the fifth.
ASBA West Chester then ended the game by scoring four times in the bottom of the fifth. Two runs scored on wild pitches before a ball hit by Van Note brought in the final two.
“We swung the bats well, we played good defense, ran the bases well and we had great pitching,” coach Van Note said. “Our guy had one inning where he gave up a couple of runs, and bounced right back and shut them down. It was a great effort. When it’s 95 degrees and you get that first W, it doesn’t feel as hot.”