Beast 2024 edges NJ Saints in tight Super 17 duel

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 28, 2023

Zachary Marsh was one tough customer on the mound for Beast 2024 on Tuesday.

By Joe Hofmann

It was hardly an offensive explosion but it was plenty good enough.

And the way Zachary Marsh was pitching, plenty good enough was … well, good enough.

In a prestigious tournament like the Super 17 Invitational, you take your victories any way you can.

Beast 2024 American did just that and was delighted with the outcome.

Beast came away with a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Saints in the Super 17 Invitational (Week 2) at Diamond Nation on Tuesday morning.

Beast was not overly impressive at the plate but they made the most of what they were given.

If baseball’s little things matter, then they won big.

The Beast was out-hit, 6-2, and even outhomered, 1-0.

But they played a clean game in the field, their pitchers threw strikes, and they took advantage of what was given them.

In the end, that was enough to walk off the field victorious.

Beast did its part by putting the bat on the ball and the Saints made two errors on routine plays that proved fatal.

Marsh, meanwhile, allowed one run on four hits through the first four innings. He pitched 1-2-3 innings in the first and second innings and worked out of trouble in both the third and fourth without major damage.

Marsh did what the Saints couldn’t do: Work out of trouble.

“He’s been great for us,” coach Josh McGee said. “He threw a lot of strikes. All of his pitches – fastball, curve, change – he threw for strikes. I haven’t coached him long, but I’m growing confident in him.”

“I felt pretty good out there,” Marsh added. “My mechanics were a little iffy and I’m working on them. I could have made some better pitches when I needed to. They had a couple of jam shots. I have to command my offspeed pitches a little better.”

The Beast attack wasn’t exactly Beastly, but it sure was opportunistic.

The team batted around in the second inning and made good use out of

two hits, two walks, a hit batsman, and two infield errors to plate four runs. The only hard-hit ball was Cody Hammer’s leadoff single to left.

But runs are what counts, not hard-hit balls.

“We had some good at bats and that really helped us,” McGee said.

Alexander Kumar walked and Julian Kemper was hit by a pitch after Hammer’s leadoff hit.

Chris Theofield then hit a grounder near second base and the second baseman flipped the ball to the unsuspecting shortstop for what appeared to be a force. But the ball slowly rolled on the Diamond Nation turf into left field as both Hammer and Kumar scored.

Bryan Schwabe then reached on an E-6 before Michael Todd drew a bases-loaded walk, making it 3-0.

No. 9 hitter Matthew Eysser then reached on an infield hit for the fourth run.

“On offense, we’re very gutty,” Marsh said. “We didn’t hit the ball great, but we took advantage of the walks and the errors. Don’t make errors against us because we’ll make those teams pay.”

Michael Taylor fires away for the NJ Saints on Tuesday in the Super 17 Invitational.

The two teams traded runs in the third inning. Even then, Beast did what was necessary to stay one step – or, in their case, four runs – ahead of the Saints.

In the top of the third, Nicholas Pizzie drew a two-out walk and later came around to score on Nick Sellitti’s base hit to bring the Saints to within 4-1.

But Beast got the run back. Once again, they didn’t have to do too much to plate a run.

Hammer, Kumar and Lemper drew walks to chase reliever Nicholas Pizzie. Schwabe then greeted Michael Taylor with a bases-loaded walk to make it 5-1.

The Saints tagged Beast reliever James Reilly for two runs in the top of the fifth when Cody Rullo singled and Pizzie homered. But Reilly didn’t allow another run and Beast held on.

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