Wladyka starting pitcher Peter Lawerence tossed a six-inning gem on Friday in the 7-2 victory.
By Steve Merrill
Shawn Bellenger’s clutch go-ahead two-run single in the bottom of the fifth inning sealed a 7-2 victory for Wladyka Baseball Continental over the NJ Rising Rebels in 14U Beat The Heat pool play.
With the bases loaded and one out in a tightly contested 2-2 ballgame, Bellenger placed a single into left field to score Brett Ploetner and Peter Lagerman and give Wladyka a two-run advantage.
“I was just thinking that I have to put the ball in play and make something happen,” Bellenger said. “Something happened and it was good. I saw the shortstop kind of playing up the middle and I poked it between second and third, which was huge.”
Wladyka would tack on one more run in the fifth when Zach Silberstein scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Evan Lagerman to take a 5-2 lead into the sixth inning.
The home team added on in the sixth inning. Keigo Fujita was hit by a pitch and Greg Rosenthal singled with Ploetner coming to bat. The right-handed batter flew out to center field to bring in Fujita. Then Peter Lagerman singled in Rosenthal to make it 7-2, Wladyka.
Left-handed starting pitcher Peter Lawerence tossed six stellar innings for Wladyka on eight hits, two runs, four walks, and two strikeouts. The southpaw threw an efficient 75 pitches over those six frames.
“Peter has been doing a really good job all year,” said Wladyka head coach Mike Abate. “He really just attacked the zone. And then he was able to mix his pitches up and attack the zone and get ahead of hitters, which was successful for him.”
Lawerence got off to a rough start, allowing back-to-back hits on his first two pitches of the game. Rising Rebels leadoff man Michael Andrisano doubled and then Colin Fogg singled him home for an early 1-0 lead before an out was recorded. But Wladyka immediately answered in the bottom of the first when Zach Silberstein drew a bases loaded walk.
Lawerence was backed by a solid performance from his fielders to get the job done on Friday afternoon.
“We were stellar out there,” said Bellenger, who played the first six innings at shortstop before closing out the game on the mound in the seventh. “We looked really good out there. I really believe that we’re a good defensive team and just make the plays and keep the runs low.”
Wladyka’s defensive performance was capped off by first baseman Peter Lagerman in the seventh inning with a runner on first. A ground ball was ripped to right and Lagerman dove and got the force out at second. Bellenger would then get the final out on the next batter when Andrisano flew out to center.
“We’ve been stressing it all year,” Abate said. “Just fundamentals and solid defense. We feel like if we can play a clean game we’re going to be in every game with a chance to win.”
For the Rising Rebels, Owen Eller was on base twice with a triple and fielder’s choice and scored a run. Anthony Palumbo went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Logan Bourboin started for the Rebels and lasted just 1.1 innings on one hit, two runs, six walks and two strikeouts. Eller came in after and pitched 4.1 innings in relief.