Tri-State Arsenal South Marucci pitcher James Duffy goes into his windup.
By Will Harrigan
The last play of Tuesday morning’s contest between Baseball U New York and Tri-State Arsenal Marucci South had more twists and turns than the ending of an M. Night Shyamalan film.
Having already scored two runs to trim its deficit in half and with the tying runs on, the Arsenal’s Antonio Destribats hit a ball that looked like it was on track to be caught to end the game.
But the ball landed beyond the glove of the Baseball U outfielder tracking it, and it appeared Max Mazzucca would score from first with the tying run.
The ball came in quickly, and Baseball U’s Jacob Panafeather fired the ball in on a fly to gun down Mazzucca at the plate, giving Baseball U a dramatic victory on the last play.
All of that in one play. And the result of it, ultimately, was a 5-4 victory for Baseball U in 16u Blue Chips Prospects action at Diamond Nation.
As a result of heavy rains on Monday evening that postponed two windows of games, both squads were making their tournament opener Tuesday morning.
“Well that was a fun way to end it. That was some throw by Jacob that had to be where Danny (Jackson, Baseball U’s catcher) was to put a tag on it,” said Baseball U coach Tim Macko. “But we pitched well today and put the ball in play consistently. It was a deserved win.”
Despite recording 12 hits on the day, Baseball U didn’t have its breakthrough until the bottom half of the fourth inning.
Luke Van Marter led off the inning with a walk, and was moved into scoring position following a single by Liam Kenaley.
Two batters later, an RBI single by Jose Ramos would score Van Marter and put Baseball U – hailing from the Syracuse area – in front, 1-0, after four.
Baseball U would put together a hit parade in the fifth to create some separation.
Following a leadoff walk drawn by Ben Snyder, four straight hits extended the lead to 3-0. Singles by brothers Reed and Brady Bouchard drove in runs in that span.
Baseball U NY’s Ben Snyder leads off first base.
Van Marter would then single in a pair of runs two batters later to run the lead up to 5-0, leaving Baseball U seemingly in command.
“Swinging at the right pitches and right spot in the count is important,” said Macko. “Our guys did that today and we got a lot of hits as a result.”
Arsenal started to crawl back into it in the sixth. A walk, dropped pop up, and wild pitch set the table with two runners in scoring position.
Playing small ball to perfection, Leo Erespe and Jake Dunn grounded out to second and flew out, respectively, to score a pair and cut the lead to within 5-2.
The seventh inning Arsenal rally started with a triple to deep right-center off J.T. Mohimann’s bat to get the rally started.
Dane Jorgensen got up a batter later and hit a fly ball to right to score Mohimann, setting up the wild final sequence culminating with the play at the plate.