Calabro’s gritty effort steers NEU/Grit 13U to Easter Extravaganza victory

By DN WRITING STAFF | March 30, 2024

Shawn Peques delivers the game-ending hit for NEU/Grit 13U. 

By Sean Reilly

The tone for a pitching performance can sometimes be determined by how you fare against the first batter of the game. 

That was certainly the case for Christian Calabro of NEU/Grit 13U on Friday afternoon at Diamond Nation. 

First there was the matter of the gusty wind, which was not only prevalent on Field 1 in sunny Flemington, but throughout the entire Northeast. 

“The first pitch, I almost fell off the mound,” he said. 

The right-hander adapted, and struck out that initial Connecticut Moose batter looking. 

“That was very good,” he said of the feeling that came with the first out.

Calabro also retired the next batters, on a pop up to second base and strikeout, and allowed one unearned run on two hits over five innings as NEU/Grit 13U beat the Moose, 9-1, at the 13U Easter Extravaganza. 

Both teams were coming off a lopsided loss in their first games of the day. 

In the case of the NEU/Grit 13U, the opener — which was also its opening game of the season — was a defeat to the pool-winning OOTP Cyclones 13U Prospects in which it endured a very rough first inning.

Connecticut Moose pitcher Waylon Hribernik throws to third base before a tag is made on NEU/Grit baserunner caught in rundown. 

“This was a good bounce back for us,” Calabro said. “We hit a little bit more.” 

The NEU/Grit, comprised mostly of players from North Jersey and the Hudson Valley region of New York, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Leadoff man Cihan Paso tripled to right field and scored on a one-out single to right field by Bryce Tesseyman.

The Moose, who were beaten in their first game by Double Major 13U Black, tied it in the second inning. 

Waylon Hribernik walked with one out, and next-batter Finn Mraz also walked. Mikey Wallace singled to right field, and a throwing error on the play allowed Hribernik to score.

But NEU/Grit broke the game open with a six-run fifth inning. 

The uprising began with D.J. de la Fuente leading off with an inside-the-park home run to left field. After a strikeout, Shawn Peques was safe on an error, Paso walked and Steven Degree was safe on a dropped third strike to load the bases (the runners were on second and third at the time after two wild pitches and a stolen base). 

That sent up Tesseyman, and the go-ahead run scored on a wild pitch before he tripled to right field for two RBI and a 5-1 lead. Walker Snee was up next, and his two-run home run to right-center extended the lead to 7-1.

Calabro, who struck out five and walked three, was relieved by Degree after that inning.

“I felt good out there and was throwing strikes,” Calabro said. “The fastball and curveball were pretty much all I was throwing.” 

Degree struck out the side in the top of the sixth. 

In the bottom of the inning, Brandon Rangel and Calabro drew back-to-back walks with one out. A single by de la Fuente loaded the bases. Aiden Miranda delivered an RBI single to center, and Pegues hit a run-scoring single to left to end the game via the eight-run mercy rule.

Share With A Friend:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *