Beresford two-hitter, hot bats guide Long Island Select 16U

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 10, 2024

Andrew Gaudioso steals home in the second inning for Long Island Baseball Select.

By Rich Bevensee

Count lanky right-hander Vaughn Beresford as one of the Long Island Baseball Select 16U players who was happy to see his teammates generate some serious offense.

The team endured a rough start to the season in that regard, according to coach Zach Quinn, and the club’s recent trip to a Nashville, Tennessee tournament wasn’t much better in terms of offensive production. 

But LIB arrived at Diamond Nation in Flemington ready to leave those memories in the dirt – or turf, as it were. 

After knocking off Complete Performance Baseball Green, 12-0, in four innings in the 16U Garden State Invitational on Tuesday evening, Long  Island had improved its offensive output to the tune of 28 runs in three games. 

“I think we came here with the mindset of, we’re playing baseball, we should be thankful,” Beresford said. “When you get tight up there (at the plate) and you’re thinking too much in your head, you don’t produce as much. Here, we’re having fun, cracking jokes, staying loose, but also staying in the game.”

Beresford made all that offensive effort stand up by enjoying a close shave with a no-hitter. He retired the first 10 batters he faced before giving up two singles in the fourth inning. The 6-1, 160-pound rising junior from Smithtown Christian School finished with a four-inning, two-hit shutout with three strikeouts and no walks on an economical 39 pitches. 

“Vaughn has been awesome for us all year,” Quinn said. “He fills up the zone, works in and out. He only threw fastballs today and he was able to command the zone really, really well. No off-speed, straight fastballs. Don’t throw anything else until they can prove they can hit it.”

Beresford, who also throws a changeup, slider and curveball in addition to his two- and four-seam fastballs, induced weak contact the entire game. In fact, the first single by Complete Performance leadoff hitter Tony Morales was the hardest hit ball Beresford allowed and the first to leave the infield.

Vaughn Beresford pitched a two-hitter with no walks for Long Island Baseball Select.

“I just follow what coach does,” Beresford said. “He calls the pitches. He kept calling fastball and it was working so let’s keep rolling with it.”

The play of LIB shortstop Jonathan Hernandez, who exhibited exceptional footwork, was key in turning those weak grounders into outs. Three times he charged slow rollers and executed off-balance, on-target throws to first. On another occasion he ranged to his left to snare a ball up the middle and behind second base and made the throw in time. 

T.J. Innes and Casey Opaovsky provided the big bats in the game against Complete Performance. Innes, a rising senior at Plainedge in North Massapequa, had a three-run triple which highlighted a seven-run third inning and finished 2-for-3. Opatovsky, a rising junior at Bay Shore, came back from striking out twice to drill a two-run double in the fourth. 

This week’s offensive explosion wasn’t lost on Beresford, either. 

“It takes a burden off you as a pitcher,” Beresford said. “You know you can give up a hit or a walk. You can have fun and relax, knowing the team’s there to support you.” 

Also in that seven-run second, No. 10 hitter Andrew Gaudioso, a rising senior at Half Hollow Hills East, pulled off a perfectly-timed steal of home. 

Long Island also exhibited patience at the plate against Complete Performance, combining seven hits with nine walks. It was a continuation of the entire week’s performance, in which the team defeated Philadelphia Prime, 7-4, and Power Arm Baseball, 9-7. 

LIB had one pool game remaining, against Diamond Jacks Super 16U on Wednesday afternoon.

“We got off to a slow start but the bats are starting to come alive now,” Quinn said. “This is probably the best baseball we’ve played all summer so far. One of our best hitters the last three years is out sick so a lot of guys are stepping up in big ways. They really competed and that’s all I can ask of them.”

Also for Long Island, cleanup hitter Anthony Mancuso went 2-for-2 with a walk, an RBI and three runs scored. Hernandez and Eli Sierra walked twice and scored twice.

Ben Helsel, Brian Gonzalez and Gavin Saal handled the pitching for Complete Performance. Saal kept LIB damage to a minimum, allowing two runs over the final two innings on two hits and three walks with one strikeout.

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