By Sean Reilly
The NJ Renegades may win and lose as a team, but there’s no doubt they are a better one with Sam Broder in the lineup.
Broder missed three weeks recently while away at camp, but he was present over the weekend when the Renegades returned to Diamond Nation to compete at the 10U Mid-Summer Classic.
It may have been no surprise then that the Renegades went unbeaten in the tournament, capped by a 4-3 victory over the Bergen Crush in the Sunday final in Flemington. The Renegades went 3-0-1 over the weekend, outscoring their opponents, 33-15.
In the championship contest alone, consider these important plays that Broder made:
Broder started at shortstop, and in the bottom of the fifth and the score tied, 3-3, the Crush had runners on second and third with one out. With the infield playing in, he fielded a sharply-hit grounder. The lead runner broke for home, but Broder’s throw to the plate was caught by catcher Kyle Jones, who applied the tag for a very important out.
The score was still tied when Broder, the No. 2 batter in the Renegades lineup, came to bat with one out and nobody on in the top of the sixth and final inning. He drilled a stand-up triple in the gap in right center field. With the infield in, Benji Silverstein was then retired on a third-to-first ground out. Broder made a dash for the plate, and was safe when the first baseman lost his grip on the ball on the transfer and couldn’t make a throw.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Crush got a leadoff walk, which resulted in a Renegades pitching change – and Broder was the new reliever. He struck out the next two batters, and then the game ended when Jones threw out the runner, who was trying to steal second.
“This was a tough weekend with such great competition here,” said Renegades coach Mike DeLorenzo. “Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the summer and everyone has been playing ball since the spring, but it was unbelievable competition. Every game was tough.”
Having such an involved player as Broder made a critical difference.
“Sam just got back after three weeks,” DeLorenzo said. “We were a different team without him and we’re a much better team with him. We’re very happy that he’s back.”
“It’s good competition here and it feels good to win,” Broder said. “When I got the triple, I was just thinking not to make an out, and when I was pitching, I was thinking I had to just throw strikes.”
The game was a good one right from the start, between two New Jersey sides who’ve met in the past.
The Crush, who ended the weekend with a 3-1 record, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on an RBI double by Tyler Hannigan.
The Renegades scored three times in the top of the second. Chris Portman (2-for-2) hit an RBI double, Mikey DeLorenzo’s ground out scored a run, and Gavin Neigel singled across the other run.
The Crush got within 3-2 in its half of the second, when Matthew Carvelli scored from third while Oliver Alba was caught in a rundown between first and second. The Crush tied in the third, after Hannigan reached on a walk, went to second on a wild pitch and then scored on a two base throwing error.
“It was a testament to the boys,” DeLorenzo said. “It was a back and forth kind of game, and I figured it was going to be because we’ve played that team before and we know each other. They know our tendencies, we know their tendencies, so it just came down to who executed the best at the end. We came out a little bit lucky today, but I’ll take the win.”