Jake Reese of Baseball U. Pa. gets set to rip into one during Father’s Day Classic.
By Rich Bevensee
Kaden Zimorowicz probably got away with more than he should have.
The Baseball U PA Scranton right-hander allowed only four batters to reach base in his four innings on the mound, but he also worked deep into the count several times and reached 82 pitches quicker than he or his coach would have liked.
Then again, when you have a lineup full of hitters like Jake Reese knocking the ball around the yard all day, small baseball sins like a high pitch count can be overlooked.
Zimorowicz was the beneficiary of a particularly potent lineup on Sunday and the result allowed Baseball U to remain undefeated since it banded together two weeks ago.
Reese went 3-for-3 with two triples and three RBI to lead a Baseball U lineup which collected 13 hits and ran away from TEB Eagles 14U White, 10-4, in the final 14U pool play game for both teams in the Father’s Day Classic at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
“Our offensive approach was very good late in the game,” said Baseball U coach Jason Carpenter, whose team improved to 5-0 this spring. “Early we struggled a little bit – still sleeping, 10 a.m., early game – but then we started getting more barrels.”
Baseball U roughed up Eagles pitching for eight runs on 10 hits in the first three innings while racing to an 8-4 lead. Four of those hits were for extra bases.
If that’s a sign of early struggles or being sleepy or whatever, Baseball U must be scary good when it’s firing on all cylinders from the first pitch.
The player whose bat made the most noise was Reese, who belted a triple to the right center gap in the first inning and later scored, singled home two runs in the second inning, and slugged an RBI triple to dead center in the fourth. He also had a bases loaded walk in the sixth for his fourth RBI of the game.
“Jake Reese is smoking hot right now,” Carpenter said.
Reese, a rising freshman at North Pocono High in Covington Twp., Pa., said he didn’t always possess a lethal bat, but some intense work in recent weeks corrected the problem.
“Before I couldn’t hit to right (field) at all. I wasn’t very good at hitting outside pitches,” Reese said. “But I’ve been working on it the last few weeks – every day off the tee, soft toss, live BP – and I can get it now. I just kept practicing and eventually it got easy.”
Reese was terrific at the plate but he wasn’t alone in terms of supplying Zimorowicz with offensive support. Seamus Kelly went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, a walk and an RBI. Mason Stets added an RBI single in the third, and Zimorowicz helped his own cause with an RBI double in the first.
The Eagles didn’t back down despite Baseball U posting a crooked number in each of the first three innings. Baseball leaped to a 5-1 lead after two innings, but the Eagles answered with a three-run third in which they utilized a pair of walks and two infield errors to close within 5-4.
That was as close as Baseball U allowed the Eagles to get. The Scranton-based squad scored three runs in the bottom of the third, benefitting from Stets’ RBI single and a two-run outfield error for an 8-4 cushion.
Zimorowicz departed after the fourth inning, having thrown 82 pitches and allowing four runs (two earned) on one hit and three walks with two strikeouts. He was relieved by David Naniewicz, who pitched a pair of scoreless frames and whose only blemish was a single walk.
“I guess I could give myself a B-plus but I can do a lot better,” said Zimorowicz, a rising freshman at Riverside High in Taylor, Pa. “I definitely need to work on throwing more strikes and getting ahead in the count. I also need to work on offspeed pitches and my fastball because I wasn’t very good at locating today. I can definitely slow myself down and concentrate more, take deep breaths in between pitches and try to focus on just the batter.”
Baseball U would later fall to Bulldogs Baseball Academy, 11-6, in the 14U semifinals on Sunday evening.
The Eagles’ player of the game was third baseman Jake Donnelly, who fashioned his own personal highlight reel.
In the bottom of the second inning with two out, Donnelly dove to his left to snare a hot grounder off the bat of Conor Healey to prevent a run from scoring, then tagged out Alden Felker trying to advance to third.
In the third, Kelly attempted to steal third and the throw from Eagles catcher Chris Ariola took Donnelly to the foul side of third base. On the ground, Donnelly reached backwards like a backstroker and tagged out Kelly.
Donnelly worked his magic once more in the fourth when Jamie McMynne ripped a liner with runners on second and third. Donnelly snagged McMynne’s smash and immediately touched third with Reese wandering off third for an unassisted double play.
For the Eagles, a member of the Town of Eastchester Baseball League – which is fed by players from Tuckahoe, Eastchester and Bronxville – Jack Gangemi supplied their only hit, a double to the left-center field gap in the first inning. Starting pitcher Gianluca Giordano had the only Eagles RBI of the game, on a groundout in the third inning.
Giordano allowed nine runs (seven earned) on 11 hits and one walk with two strikeouts in four innings. Gangemi pitched two innings and yielded one run on two hits and three walks.
The Eagles began their weekend with a 6-2 pool victory over Locked In Baseball Expos 14U Black on Saturday, but dropped their next contest, 13-5, to Hustle Baseball Academy.