Dynasty’s Jason Rocchio slides home safely ahead of the tag by Nighthawks pitcher C.J. Scheier.
By Rich Bevensee
The New York Dynasty’s hitting may have been waning in recent weeks, but the club rediscovered its swing this weekend, and just in time.
With a rivalry game against Bakes Brewers looming on the second day of the Halloween Mash at The Nation, the Dynasty 11U ballclub prepared for the big game by revving its offensive engine like it had all summer.
Eight players scored at least once, seven registered base hits, six drove in runs and all 10 batters in the lineup reached base as Dynasty roughed up the New Jersey Nighthawks 13-1 in a pool play opener for both teams on Saturday.
“We’ve been weak with the bats this fall. We haven’t had a great fall offensively,” Dynasty coach Anthony Vigliotti said. “But we have dynamite pitching and it’s kept us in all the games. Today is what we’re used to. That’s what we expect to do.”
Dynasty will wrap up fall baseball with this tournament, so getting the bats in working order was just as important to the players as its date with the Brewers.
Hudson Haughwout leads off first after driving in the Nighthawks only run of the game.
“Everybody knew it was our last tournament and they wanted to show what we have,” said Dynasty’s Jake Romero, who cracked two doubles, drove in a run, scored twice and made a sensational catch in center field. “We didn’t need the coaches to say anything. We knew it was our last go-round and we tried our hardest.”
So about those pesky Brewers. Dynasty had to bounce right back in action at 8 a.m. Sunday against the Brewers. Dynasty is 23-2-1 since the baseball season opened in the spring, and the Brewers are responsible for one of those two losses.
That 14-2 loss happened way back in the spring in the April Fool’s tournament at ‘The Nation.’ Dynasty didn’t waste time getting revenge, beating Bakes 6-5 in the championship game that weekend.
“They beat us good last time, so the kids know what we’re up against and they’ll be ready,” Vigliotti said. “The kids also remember we beat them last time we played them in a championship game. They know it won’t be easy but we’re ready to go.”
Romero warned that the game against Bakes cannot be made to be bigger than any other game, noting that the team has enjoyed success because they approach every game the same way.
“It has to be business as usual, because we all know what we have,” Romero said. “We gotta bring out the bats and have good pitching and we can have a good game.”
Against the Nighthawks, Dynasty showed how relentless it can be on offense. Five of its first seven batters got a hit in the top of the first inning. Romero, Dean Scarangello, Gavin Snell and Nick Romano each ripped a double and Dynasty seized a 5-0 lead.
In the second inning, Dynasty batted around again, scoring seven runs on five hits for a 12-0 lead. Romero belted an RBI double, Romano singled in a run and Sean Hachmeister added a two-run single.
The Nighthawks got on the board in the bottom of the second on Hudson Haughwout’s RBI single to right.
That would be the only damage Dynasty pitchers Romano and Zach Althoff would allow. They pitched a combined three-hitter with five walks and a hit batsman, as well as registering eight strikeouts.
Romano was especially effective in the first inning after walking two and hitting a batter to load the bases. He struck out the next three to escape the inning.
Hachmeister added an RBI groundout for Dynasty in the third inning before the game ceased due to the mercy rule.
The Nighthawks’ defensive play of the game occurred in the top of the third when second baseman George Antivachis raced into right field and turned his back to the infield to make an over-the-shoulder basket catch of Jake Barone’s fly ball.
The Dynasty registered a web gem of its own in the bottom of the third when Romero, patrolling center, leaped to snag a Dylan Mellage fly ball which appeared to be a base hit about to drop into shallow left center field.
On Sunday morning, Dynasty faced Bakes Brewers at 8 a.m. and Colossal 11U select at 10 a.m.
The Nighthawks were set to take on Colossal at 8 a.m. and Bakes Brewers at 10 a.m.
The winner from each of the two pools play in the championship game at 2:15 p.m. Dynasty and the Brewers are in the same pool, making their game even bigger because it will probably determine who reaches the final.