Cage Academy, Rising Rebels, 13U World Series ties that bind

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 8, 2023

Drew Cerminaro of Cage is out at first as Rebels first baseman Ethan Thompson takes the throw.

By Rich Bevensee

The two dueling coaches couldn’t ask their teams to build on a victory, or rally them to rebound from a tough loss. Because neither of those things happened.

But both coaches agreed there is plenty to be pleased with and plenty more to work on after Cage Academy and NJ Rising Rebels 13U White settled for an 8-8 deadlock after six innings in a pool play game in the 13U Youth World Series on Friday afternoon at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

“The tie is an indication of a couple of misplays in the field,” Cage Academy coach Jim Ferraro said. “I love how we fought (in innings) two through five, but are we fighting to tie or fighting to win? At this age that’s the difference.”

Both teams continue action this weekend. On Saturday, Cage Academy faces Central Jersey Rebels Black at 6:30 p.m. and Long Island Elite Emanuele at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday, Cage plays Diamond Baseball Academy 13U Orange at 4:30 p.m.

The Rebels, who were coming off a 4-3 loss to Central Jersey Rebels Black before the tie with Cage, have two games remaining. They will take on Diamond Baseball Academy 13U Orange on Saturday at 2:15 p.m., and Long Island Elite Emanuele on Sunday at 2:15 p.m.

“We had much better approaches hitting the ball than our last game – we went from three runs to eight,” Rebels coach Jackson Ponzo said. “Unfortunately there were more problems than positives. We went up 8-2 in the first two innings and then couldn’t get a run from there. Maybe it was the pitching that was good for them, but I think we could have done a better job.”

The biggest storyline of the game was that Cage Academy rallied from an 8-2 deficit, a formidable hole for a 13U squad. 

In the top of the third, Lorenzo Tomayo roped an RBI double into left field, Greg Breen had an RBI single, Breen scored on a balk and Mason Lisotto drove in a run with a groundout to bring Cage within 8-6.

In the fourth, Drew Cerminaro drew a walk, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a balk to get Cage within a run. Leadoff man Chris Scaff singled and stole second, and scored on a clutch two-out single by Tomayo to tie the ballgame.

Michael Deer singled twice, walked and drove in two runs for the Rising Rebels.

Tomayo finished 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI to lead the Cage offense. Scaff pitched two scoreless innings of relief, allowing just a hit and a walk.

“Scaff came in at the end and just dominated,” Ferraro said. “Plus, give them respect, too, because their third pitcher (Will Haggard) came in and his slurvy sweeper got us off balance.”

On the Rebels’ side, catcher Michael Deer went 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and a run scored to pace his team’s offense. Bryce Asselin drove in two runs with a single and a sacrifice fly, and Ethan Thompson forced in two runs with bases loaded walks. 

Cage jumped on the scoreboard first when Tomayo rapped an opposite-field RBI single in the top of the first. 

The Rebels answered with a four-run rally. Thompson walked with the bases loaded, Deer dropped in an RBI bloop single, Asselin singled home a run, and Deer came around to score on a balk for a 4-1 lead.

Cage picked up a single run in the second when Lisotto notched an RBI single, bringing Cage within 4-2. 

But the Rebels countered with another four run burst in the bottom of the second. Haggard (2-for-4) had an RBI single, Thompson earned a bases loaded walk, Deer singled home a run and Asselin added a sac fly for an 8-2 advantage.

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