Baseball U Pa 12U uses loud bats to open with two wins at Spring Classic

By DN WRITING STAFF | May 5, 2024

Luke O’Brien of Baseball U reaches home plate after hitting the first of his two third-inning HRs. 

By Sean Reilly

Luke O’Brien made one mistake for Baseball U Pa 12U Regional in its first game of the afternoon on Saturday at Diamond Nation. 

He also made sure to guarantee that it could not happen again. 

Baseball U Pa was facing the South Jersey Sand Sharks at the 12U Spring Classic, Powered by Victus, in Flemington. 

O’Brien’s first at-bat resulted in a ball hit hard to the gap in right-center field. But after rounding first with an eye on a double or triple, he tripped and fell, which sent him back to the first with a long single. 

His second and third at-bats had no such issues. That’s what happens when you clear the fence and get to trot around the bases. 

O’Brien hit two home runs totaling five RBI during a 10-run top of the third inning, as his Scranton-area team gained a 15-0, three-inning victory. Baseball U Pa added two other blasts in the inning, by Jack Johnson and Jaxon Urban, for the mercy rule win. 

Surprisingly, the two home runs, one to center field and the other to right, were O’Brien’s first of the spring.

“Those were my first of the season,” he says. “We came out hot and I thought we played great baseball.” 

Baseball U Pa didn’t score in the top of the first, but it was still clear the team could hit. They were aggressive at the plate and made solid contact. Braylon Williams hit a double during the inning, but was stranded at third after advancing on a wild pitch. 

The aggressiveness continued in the second inning, but this time it resulted in five runs.

Cal Horan scores for Baseball U Pa on single by Braylon Williams. 

O’Brien led off with his single, and Kaiden Cunniffe reached on a fielder’s choice after a play at second base resulted in an error that also sent O’Brien to third. 

Ryan Kearney had an RBI ground out to shortstop to score O’Brien, and after the second out, Josh McHugh hit an RBI triple to left-center. He scored on a single by Frank Nicholson.

Kash Kromko hit a single to right field that resulted in an error which allowed him to come around the bases for a 5-0 lead. 

The third inning began with a walk to Miles McConnell, and O’Brien followed with a two-run home run. 

Jayce Goff singled to right field, and after an out, Johnson homered off the scoreboard in right-center.

McHugh was safe on an error, and Urban hit a high fly ball that sailed over the fence in left field for an 11-0 lead. 

After the second out, Horan doubled and Williams hit an RBI single to center. McConnell walked, and O’Brien launched his second homer of the inning, this one to right center.

“We had good hits all-around,” he said. “We were all hyped up in the dugout.”

While O’Brien paced Baseball U Pa with his 3-for-3 showing, the team also received two hits apiece from Horan and Williams. 

McHugh pitched all three innings and allowed one hit. Mason Byrnes singled in the second inning for the Sand Sharks.

The offensive charge continued into Baseball U’s second game, when Kearney went 3-for-3, with a home run and four RBI, in an 11-5 win over Moorestown 12U. 

The Sand Sharks played to a 13-13 tie with the Keystone Nationals in their second game. 

The teams are competing in the six-team Pool C in the tournament, which will send two into the Sunday afternoon playoffs after the conclusion of pool action in the morning.

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