Alvin Gomez doubled, tripled and drove in three runs for the Bronx Bombers.
By Rich Bevensee
Gus Magill’s biggest adjustment of the baseball season has been avoiding a slow start on the mound. Makes perfect sense, since it can’t be too much fun for a pitcher to be dodging batted balls from the very first pitch.
Magill’s performance on Sunday at Diamond Nation in Flemington is a sure sign he’s figured things out pretty well.
The junior from Fordham Prep in the Bronx pitched three scoreless innings and propelled his Bronx Bombers 17U club to a 10-2 victory over the Complete Game Colonials in Diamond Nation’s Super 17 Fall Invitational.
“I’ve been pretty consistent recently,” Magill said. “There have been some times where I was struggling in the first inning, but I felt like I was good there. It came down to focusing, starting off strong with my control, and being aggressive.”
It was the second straight win for the Bombers after beating the Dirtbags 17U Titanium NY, 7-1, on Saturday. The Bombers bowed in their weekend farewell after a 6-3 loss to Bell Ringers ‘24 Red.
The top eight teams from the 17-18U Wood Bat Championship (Sept. 9-11) and the Fall Invitational advance to the Columbus Day Showdown, Monday, Oct. 10. The Bombers fell below that line as 11 of the 60 teams in the tournament finished 3-0. And three of those were shaved off by point differential.
After falling to 0-2 after the loss to the Bombers, the Colonials turned things around to close the weekend with a 10-4 victory over the Dirtbags 17U Titanium NY.
Magill had the Bronx Bombers off to a strong start when he surrendered a single hit in his three innings, walked two and struck out three before handing the ball over to Yadiel Olivarez Cruz. The Gregorio Luperon (Manhattan) junior pitched three innings and gave up two runs on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
“They worked fast, threw a lot of strikes, and more importantly, it was about them having confidence on the mound,” Bombers coach Ernies Alemais said. “They’re the top two in our rotation.”
“I was throwing mostly fastballs,” said the 5-11, 185-pound right-hander. “I worked in a changeup a little and got some swing-and-misses and some ground balls with that. I was trying to get my slider for swing-and-misses but they weren’t going for that.”
Alvin Gomez, a senior at All Hallows in the South Bronx, led the Bombers by going 2-for-2 with a double, triple, a walk and three RBI. Seven of nine starters had base hits, and five of those hits went for extra bases.
Ryan Neville (Fordham Prep), Nick Vega (Churchill School, Manhattan) and Reynel Ferreiras (Luperon) joined Gomez by charting two hits each.
“Our approach is very simple,” Alemais said. “They’re looking for something middle away, and we also preach good things happen early in the count, so be aggressive.”
Gomez said the team’s 10-run explosion was indicative of what’s been happening since the summer season began, and it’s because of a shared mentality in the batter’s box.
“This team has chemistry, and we come into every game thinking positive, never negative,” Gomez said. “We go 100 percent – no, not 100 percent. 110 percent. That’s what you gotta do because you never know who’s watching.
“We had a few shaky games, but then we said we gotta think positive, we can’t think negative things. You can’t stay that way or the negative will come out on the field.”
The Bronx Bombers began knocking the ball around in the top of the second inning, scoring three runs on five hits. Gomez ripped a two-run triple which bounced clear over Colonials center fielder Anthony Pallone, and Gomez scored on the back end of a double steal for a 3-0 lead.
In the third, the Bombers scored three unearned runs all with two outs. Neville, who reached on an outfield error, scored when Vega slapped an opposite field single to right. Gomez reached on a walk and eventually scored on a wild pitch. And Ferreiras added an RBI single for a 6-0 lead.
The Colonials pitching settled down until the sixth when the Bombers tacked on four more runs. Gomez and Vega rocked back-to-back doubles for a 9-0 lead.
Jerry Guzman picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly for a 10-0 lead, but only after Vega eluded the tag at home by Colonials catcher Mike Levine (Indian Hills). Center fielder Anthony Pallone’s (Ramsey) throw was on the money and in time to get Vega by two steps, but Vega waited for Levine to lunge at him, then dove head first for the plate.
The Colonials did not leave empty handed, scratching out two runs before being retired. Magill and Cruz were working on a combined one-hit shutout before Nick Bamrick (Waldwick), Jake Maguire (Pope John), Brendan Bruun (Randolph) and Levine rapped consecutive singles and Pedro Cena (St. Benedict’s Prep) added a fielder’s choice RBI.
For the Colonials, Justin Sammarco (Northern Highlands) pitched three innings and allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits, three walks and one hit batsman with one strikeout. Zach Dennis (Midland Park) pitched two shutout innings while allowing one hit and one walk. Cole Asplund (Northern Highlands) surrendered four runs in two innings on four hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
The eight qualifiers for the Columbus Day Showdown are the TKR Reds, who went 3-0 and outscored their opponents 23-0, Baseball U. Pa. 17U (3-0, 28-1), the Diamond Jacks Super 17 (3-0, 20-3), Baseball U Pa. Philly (3-0, 19-3), Diamond Jacks Super 18 (3-0, 10-3), Bell Ringers 2024 Red (3-0, 23-5), Cadets Showcase Baseball (3-0, 31-6) and Baseball U. Pa. 18U (3-0, 28-6).