Brandt’s leadoff production helps PA Shockers beat Pascoe Performance

By DN WRITING STAFF | September 17, 2023

Brooks Bennett connects on an RBI double that gave PA Shockers a 4-0 lead.

By Sean Reilly 

Brayden Brandt played with a new team and hit from a new position in the lineup on Saturday at Diamond Nation. 

It could have been an intimidating situation for an 11U player, but Brandt fared just fine in helping the PA Shockers to a two-game split in the first day of the 11U Slugfest tournament in Flemington. 

Most of the lineup is brand new for the Shockers, based out of Quakertown, Pa. The group’s first game together was a 9-6 loss to the Diamond Jacks 11U in the 8 a.m. opener on Field 6 at ‘The Nation.’ 

The Shockers then made the short walk over to Field 2 for a 10 a.m. matchup against Pascoe Performance of Poughkeepsie, N.Y, an immediate  turnaround that would offer a great test of the new group’s ability to bounce back. 

Most of Brandt’s recent experience was based on hitting as a No. 5 batter in his prior team’s lineup. 

For the Shockers, he was slotted into the leadoff spot. Not only did that change call for a different batting approach, he also needed to chip in as a catalyst, especially since the Shockers were the visiting team against Pascoe Performance. 

It turned out to be no problem. He singled and scored in both the first and third innings and added a sacrifice fly in the sixth as part of a 2-for-3 effort as the PA Shockers gained a 15-6 victory. 

“I have to get on base,” he said of hitting leadoff. “This was my first game with this team, and I don’t normally bat leadoff. It was different, so I just tried to make contact and drive the ball. It felt amazing to help out and help us win.” 

Brandt led off the nightcap with a single to center field, and moved to second on a ground out. The next batter struck out, but the third strike was dropped, and an errant throw to first allowed Brandt to score. 

The Shockers added four runs in the third inning, all after the first two batters struck out. And once again, Brandt played a role in the rally.

PA Shockers pitcher Brady Bauer tags Pascoe Performance player caught between third and home. 

Max LeGrand’s single to shortstop started things off, and Brandt followed with a single to right field. Bryson Mizdail drove in both with a triple to right center.

Brooks Bennett followed with an RBI double to left center, and he scored for a 5-0 lead after Carter Burns was safe on an error. 

The lead expanded to 7-0 in the fourth inning. Riley Hutchison led off with a double, and he went to third when Matt Eckelmeyer singled to right field. 

Hutchison scored as Shamit Rijal was safe on an RBI fielder’s choice, and Eckelmeyer scored on Zach Bradford’s ground out to first base. 

Pascoe Performance, which ended the day with a 0-2 record, put together a five-run bottom of the fifth. The inning included an RBI double from Connor Simon and RBI singles courtesy of Ryder Marin and Brayson Sickler.

The Shockers responded to that big inning by producing an even bigger one in the top of the sixth. 

The Shockers scored eight times in the frame, including an RBI single by Rijal, a sacrifice fly from Brandt, an RBI groundout from Bennett and two-run double by Hutchison.

Simon, who finished 2-for-3, had a run-scoring single in the bottom of the sixth for Pascoe Performance, which also got two-hits apiece from Jack Osofsky and Lincoln Kahns. 

The PA Shockers got hits from nine of the 11 players in the batting order, and all 11 scored at least once. 

Burns and Hutchison joined Brandt in finishing with two hits each. 

Pool A at the the tournament has already been clinched by the 2-0 Diamond Jacks 11U, so the Shockers will finish play with a Sunday morning matchup against the Locked In Expos (1-1). 

Pascoe Performance completes play with a Sunday morning game against the Diamond Jacks.

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