By Will Harrigan
Baseball U PA Scranton’s players knew that this week was going to be a special kind of grind at the Super Top 25 tournament.
That’s because the event’s champion needed to run through a six-game gauntlet in just a three-day span, an undertaking that would need every pitching arm available.
Impressively enough, Baseball U looked their strongest on the last day of the tournament and now has a trophy to show for it.
Capitalizing on its scoring chances and denying the .9ers in theirs – Baseball U stranded 14 .9ers runners – as the Scranton boys walked away with a 7-0 championship victory in the 15U bracket on Wednesday morning.
Despite the condensed schedule, Baseball U still managed to go 5-1 in the tournament, including a 9-6 victory over a talented Canes Tri-State club in the semis. The .9ers wrapped up their tournament at 4-2.
Silvio Giardina – Baseball U’s primary shortstop who hit a key grand slam in the semifinal win over the Canes – took MVP honors for the champions.
“I think everyone knew what we were in for, having to play six games in three days if we got this far,” said Baseball U coach Trevor Tellip. “A lot of guys were going to have to pitch and we knew we’d need offense behind them to pull this off.”
Giardina – who started the final on the mound – should consider taking up magic on the side if playing baseball doesn’t work out. He stranded nine .9ers runners on the base paths in the first four innings, working out of jam after jam.
The most perilous of which came in a big spot in the fourth inning with Baseball U up 6-0. The .9ers loaded the bases with no one out, but Giardina first climbed his way back by getting Kaden Frei to fly to shallow left.
A strikeout of Bryan German in the ensuing at bat made it two outs, and then a lightly-hit comebacker off the bat of Michael Santise allowed Giardina to throw to the plate, getting the force at home and avoiding any damage in the process.
Max Forgione’s RBI triple in the second got Baseball U on the board. A batter later, Tate Pentasuglio drove him on a sacrifice fly deep to left field to quickly give the champs a 2-0 edge.
Thomas LaCoe’s RBI double was the key blast in a third inning that saw the Scranton crew put up a four-spot to blow things open. Pentasuglio and Elijah Mead had walked to set up LaCoe’s rope down the left field line.
Forgione – who struck out the side in a very impressive seventh inning to seal it – singled in a run later in the inning, which was followed by a RBI base hit off Hunter Pentasuglio’s bat.