Jayden Asencio rocked a shot over the right fielder’s head to score the winning run in walk-off fashion as the Bronx Bombers defeated Canes Mid-Atlantic, 5-4 in eight innings, in the 14U Easter Extravaganza championship game on Saturday.
The Bombers have come crashing out of the gate at the start of spring with a 12-1 record and three straight tournament championships
While the Bronx Bombers’ bats have yet to fully unleash, the team’s pitching staff has clearly picked up the slack in the interim. Righthander Bryan Santana was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after his outstanding pitching performance in the final. The Bombers allowed just nine runs in their four Easter Extravaganza games and boast a team ERA below a run in game in 13 games.
“We expected our hitting to carry us,” said Bombers coach Eric Semler, the head and founder of the organization. “Our hitting has been flat but we really are a good hitting team. Thankfully our pitchers have been great.” Keith Del Valle is the 14U Bronx Bombers head coach and has been instrumental in the team’s success.
The championship game was a seesaw battle between two top programs and the Canes struck first, opening up a 3-0 lead on the Bombers in the top of the first inning. But the top-seeded Bombers rallied for two runs in the third inning and tied the game with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Once the game remained tied through seven innings, the eighth inning was played under the California Tiebreaker Rule. Both teams begin the extra inning with one out and the bases loaded.
The Canes scored a run in the top of the eighth to take a 4-3 lead, but the door was left wide open for the Bombers to deliver the decisive blow.
Mikey Rodriguez stepped in and drew a walk to force home the tying run and perhaps, relieve some of the pressure of the moment from the shoulders of Asencio, the Bombers’ catcher. Asencio calmly strutted to the plate and blasted a shot over the right fielder’s head as the winning run trotted home from third base.
“That was a tough final,” said Semler. “The kid they threw was strong. He was throwing hard. Our core group has been together since they were 8 or 9 years old,” said Semler. “They play very well together.”
The Bronx Bombers (4-0) pitching staff was stubbornly efficient throughout the tournament. James Garcia, who closed out the championship victory, also split the team’s pressure-packed 4-2 opening game victory over the PA Shockers with Augusto Del Carmen.
Jeremy Ramirez pitched three perfect innings as the Bombers defeated the North Edison Blue Devils, 15-0, in the second game of pool play. Ramirez, yet another in a deep Bombers staff stacked with sturdy righthanders, threw just 30 pitches in the shortened game, 26 of which were strikes. Ramirez only struck out one batter but proved that filling the zone with strikes and pitching to contact can be quite effective.
Dariel Osoria, who Semler called the biggest clutch player in the tournament, picked up the victory on the mound when the Bombers defeated Warstic Citius Navy, 9-3, in the final game of pool play, to set up the team’s championship round berth.
The 33 runs the Bombers scored in four games certainly indicates some quality hitting, if not by the Bombers high standards. Osoria, Aneudis Mordan, Aidan Cohall, Johnny Robles, and Sam Martinez all were key contributors at the plate, ensuring their hard working mound staff came away was Ws.
The Bombers return to Diamond Nation on May 3 for the William Harley Davidson tournament.
Easter Extravaganza recaps
Mid Atlantic Show 10, RCBC Nationals 0: Mid Atlantic Show defeated RCBC National, 10-0, in the 11U Easter Extravaganza championship game. Gio Cristinzio of Mid Atlantic Show was named the 11U Easter Extravaganza Most Valuable Player. Mid Atlantic Show (4-0) outscored its tournament opponents 34-12. RCBC Nationals (2-2) were outscored 27-19 in the tournament.
NJ Glory-Stars, 5, NJ Axemen Blue 3: NJ Glory-Stars squeaked past the NJ Axemen Blue, 5-3, in the 13U Easter Extravaganza championship game. Kyle Rogers of NJ Glory-Stars was named the 13U Easter Extravaganza Most Valuable Player. NJ Glory-Stars (5-0) outscored their opponents 32-10 while the NJ Axemen Blue (4-1) held a 34-23 runs advantage on its opponents.