Gavin Bucceri puts a textbook swing on a pitch during 14U Boys of Summer game.
By Luis Torres
Gavin Bucceri realized when he touched first base that he had a chance to score.
Bucceri, Untamed 14U Gold’s second baseman and two-hole hitter, hit a ball to right field, which ended up getting past Prospect Baseball’s right fielder.
The ball went all the way to the wall, and that’s when Bucceri turned on the jets. He rounded second base on his way to third and saw coach Nick Luciano waving him home.
Bucceri put it in another gear as he rounded third base when the ball was finally retrieved from the wall. Bucceri scored easily standing up.
His mad dash to home highlighted a seven-run frame and sparked Untamed 14U Gold to a 9-6 win over Prospect Baseball in 14U Boys of Summer play on Friday at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
“Off the bat, I saw it, and I knew I was going to score on that,” Bucceri said. “I’m fast, and I got around first, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m scoring.’ I saw my coach wave his arm. I don’t settle for a triple. I’m going all the way, and we were up at the time, so we had some leeway there. He waved me around, and I was there easily. I didn’t have to slide.”
Added Luciano: “Gavin is one of the faster kids on the team, and I saw the cutoff man bobble (the ball) a little bit, so I just sent him. I let him run.”
Jackson Crimaldi of Untamed 14U scores on a single by teammate Gavin Bucceri.
Bucceri’s run to home plate came in the bottom of the second inning and was part of a frame where Untamed 14U Gold sent 10 hitters to the plate, scoring seven runs on five hits.
Prospects Baseball led 2-0 heading into the bottom of the second after opening the scoring by plating two runs in the top of the first.
But Untamed 14U Gold’s bats came alive in the second inning, taking a 7-2 lead, with Bucceri’s knock providing a jolt of energy for his team.
“I think that’s what won the game there, that inning,” Bucceri said. “It was a big inning. We could’ve lost without that inning. That brought fire to the offense. I got the energy up.”
Bucceri finished the game 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Leadoff hitter Jackson Crimaldi went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Reliever Tyler Kanarek tossed 2⅓ innings after entering the game in the fourth inning as Prospects Baseball rallied to cut the deficit to two, 7-5. Kanarek entered the contest with two runners on with two outs and escaped the jam by stranding both runners.
Untamed 14U Gold extended its lead in the bottom of the fourth by scoring two more runs, which included an RBI single by Bucceri, which scored Crimaldi.
Luciano said he was pleased with the way his team responded after trailing by two after the first inning and by taking advantage in the later innings to come away with the victory.
“We’ve responded pretty well all year to being down one or two runs,” Luciano said. “We have a lot of energy on our team, and we just try to keep it going through the entire game. But I’m proud of them for responding after two runs in the first inning. It could be tough to bounce back, but we did and got the W out of it.”