Bigger, stronger Van Gorder boosts EABO Riverdawgs

By DN WRITING STAFF | April 7, 2024

Chase Van Gorder (99) is all smiles after his first-inning home run for EABO Riverdawgs 12U Black. 

By Sean Reilly 

When Chase Van Gorder says he’s growing as a baseball player, he really means it. 

The shortstop for the EABO Riverdawgs 12U Black was at Diamond Nation on Saturday making his 2024 debut along with his Easton, Pa., area teammates at the 12U April Fools tournament. 

Van Gorder was looking forward to it, and for good reason. Since last competing in 2023, he grew four inches, and added some weight – and accompanying strength – as well. 

“I grew a lot, and got stronger,” he said. “I’m ready to swing when I’m up.” 

Van Gorder hit two home runs on the day, as the Riverdawgs went 1-1 in pool action. The opener was a lopsided loss against Allstars Academy 12U, but they followed by outlasting East Hanover Elite, 15-13. 

In the game against EH Elite (0-1-1), the team from Morris County scored three times in the top of the first, getting a two-run double to left-center field by Ryan Cheringal and an RBI single to center courtesy of Dante Elwood. 

EABO rallied with six runs in the bottom of the first. 

Troy Biedermann led off the inning with a first-pitch double to left center. The next batter struck out, but Van Gorder followed with a home run over the fence in center field. 

Timothy Bowser doubled to right center, Dominick Uhrin was hit by a pitch and Blake Warner walked to load the bases. 

After a pitching change, Kellen McDaniell reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Bowser with the tying run. Jacob Latinga reached on a single to third to bring in Uhrin with the go-ahead run. 

Carter Knight drew an RBI walk before the sixth run crossed on an Owen Golub fielder’s choice grounder that resulted in a force out at third.

EABO extended its lead to 9-3 in the bottom of the second. Miguel Medina led off with a single to shortstop and Van Gorder walked. After another pitching change, Bowser walked to load the bases. Uhrin then hit a ball that was misplayed in right field, allowing all three runners to score. 

EH Elite narrowed its deficit to 9-8 in the third. The first two runs scored on RBI ground outs by Cheringal and Braden Edelle. Dean DiPasquale reached on an error to score two more, and the other run came home on a wild pitch.

EH Elite Dean DiPasquale catcher Dean DiPasquale applies tag on EABO runner attempting to score. 

EABO increased its lead to 11-8 in the third. Knight led off with a single to left field and scored after Medina reached on a three-base error. Van Gorder’s single to shortstop delivered Medina. 

EH Elite scored three in the fourth for an 11-11 tie. Carmine Orlando hit an RBI single and Andy Michalski had an RBI groundout before Cheringal singled and stole two bases. After Luke McGill walked, Cheringal scored on a first-and-third play that resulted in the third out. 

EABO quickly regained control by putting up four runs in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Knight walked to score Uhrin, who had reached on an error, with the go-ahead run. Golub followed with an RBI groundout to shortstop. Biedermann then hit a two-run double to center.

EH tried to come back again in the top of the fifth, which turned out to be the final inning due to the expiration of the 1:50 play clock. 

Edelle and DiPasquale both reached and scored unearned runs before the game ended. 

McGill finished 2-for-2 with a walk for EH Elite, while Biedermann (2-for-4) and Latinga (2-for-3) joined Van Gorder with multiple hits for EABO.

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