By Sean Reilly
Brayden Robinson knows how hard it is to win at Diamond Nation.
He’s part of a Bucks County Generals Black 14U team that competed in four tournaments in 2023 prior to this week’s 14U World Series at ‘The Nation.’
The Generals have had a .500 record or better in each, and even went unbeaten in one tournament, only to have another team advance out of its pool.
Despite that success, which included a 10-3-1 overall record, the Generals Black had yet to bring a championship back home to Pennsylvania.
“This is a nice, well-kept complex and the competition is great and you play some really tough teams,” Robinson said. “It’s good baseball.”
This week’s World Series represented one last chance to capture a title before the team returns to Flemington as a 15U outfit in the fall.
Winning would be very difficult. The World Series boasted a loaded 50-team field. All teams played four pool games, with the top teams being placed into two separate five-team playoff brackets.
The Generals Black were able to go unbeaten in pool play between Tuesday and Thursday, which earned the team a top seed in the Red Division playoff bracket on Friday.
After a 4-1 victory over 5 Star Northeast Vilk in the semifinals, the Generals Black drew another unbeaten team, the Hunterdon Black Hawks, in the final.
A five-run fifth inning proved to be the difference, as Bucks County gained a breakthrough 7-3 victory in Flemington.
The week’s final total for the Generals Black was a 6-0 record with a 66-9 run differential.
“This was a great week,” said Robinson, who pitched the tournament opener on Tuesday and also in the semifinal victory. He also hit well, including a 2-for-3, one RBI showing in the final. He was named tournament MVP.
“It was a great team effort from the guys,” Robinson said. “Everyone has to pitch in, with pitching, hitting, having team at-bats and laying a bunt down when we need to. It was a 100 percent team effort.”
Things went so well for the Generals that they even went 1-0-1 playing tic tac toe against the Black Hawks when the teams rolled a baseball back and forth between dugouts during a 40-minute rain delay that occurred during the middle of the fourth inning.
It didn’t take long for the Generals Black to take a 1-0 lead in the championship against the Hunterdon Black Hawks, who ended a very solid week with a 5-1 record and 46-19 run difference.
Logan Waynick (2-for-3) led off the bottom of the first with a double to left field, and moved to third when Charlie Wetzel grounded out to third base. John Byrwa then hit an RBI single to left.
Playing six games in four days challenged the pitching depth for the teams, but both starters – Byrwa for the Generals Black and Zac Davis of the Black Hawks – were on point.
Brayden Robinson of the Generals was named 14U World Series MVP.
There was a second rain delay – this one lasting only five minutes – prior to the top of the fifth. And when play resumed, the Black Hawks scored the tying run.
Davis singled to center with one out. He was replaced on the bases with courtesy runner Joe Duffy, who stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a wild pitch for a 1-1 tie.
The Generals Black then blew the game open with a five-run fifth.
Lukas Wilson and Peter Pasquarella started the rally with singles to left field. And in a crucial play, Danny Gormont dropped down a sacrifice bunt and was safe at first after an error on a throw to third.
That play loaded the bases for Luke Dickerson, whose single to left scored Wilson for a 2-1 lead. Robinson was up next, and with the infield drawn in, his single to center brought in Pasquarella. With the infield still in, Waynick’s hard single off the shortstop scored another run. The next two batters – Wetzel and Byrwa – hit sacrifice flies for a 6-1 score.
The Black Hawks got two runs back in the top of the sixth. With the bases loaded, Duffy reached on an error that scored two. He was credited with one RBI on the play.
Bucks County scored its last run in the bottom of the inning, when Dickerson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
“This is one of the higher-end tournaments that we play in,” Robinson said. “It feels great to walk away with a win.”