H.T. Jones swipes third base in the sixth inning for the Technique Tigers.
By Luis Torres
Derek Larkins stood on third base, and it looked as if a sense of relief washed over him.
Almost a month ago, Larkins — the catcher for Technique Tigers BB Academy — fractured a bone in his right hand after taking a foul ball behind the plate. He was relegated to first-base coaching duties after being diagnosed with the injury.
“It was boring. I wanted to play,” Larkins said of coaching. “I wanted to play, and I wanted to hit.”
And did he ever hit the ball on Friday.
In his first game back in the lineup, Larkins went 3-for-3 with a run scored and hit the go-ahead triple in the top of the sixth inning as Technique Tigers Baseball Academy defeated Complete Performance Baseball Academy, 12-6, in six innings in 14U Beat the Heat play at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
Larkins was pleased with his performance at the plate and defensively behind the dish, and his triple in the sixth inning sparked a six-run frame, helping his team come away with the win.
“I just felt so excited. Like I’m back,” Larkins said. “It was fun. This was amazing. I stepped on the field, and I didn’t know what I was going to do today. I was a bit nervous, it being the first game back.”
He showed no signs of those nerves, impressing head coach Manny Torres.
Tigers’ Derek Larkins settles in at third base following his go-ahead triple in the sixth inning.
“I’m just really happy for him because he was down for a couple of weeks,” Torres said. “He’s a big part of our offense, and more importantly, he’s a big part of our defense. Our pitching staff really feels comfortable with him. And just to have him back there and just to have him in the game was good.”
Larkins, the No. 10 hitter in the lineup, singled to right field in his first at-bat of the contest in the third inning as part of a five-run frame for Technique Tigers as the team took a 6-1 lead. He singled to right field again in the fourth inning in his second plate appearance.
Technique Tigers’ lead wouldn’t last as Complete Performance tied the game at six, courtesy of scoring five runs combined in the fourth and fifth innings.
Larkins came through in the clutch in the sixth, roping his go-ahead double on a 1-0 count, scoring Eli Texeira, who singled, from first base. His hit sparked Technique Tigers, which sent 10 hitters to the plate, smacking six hits in the frame.
Leadoff hitter H.T. Jones went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI and two stolen bases. Sean Cleary went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a stolen base.
Larkins’ return was what the Technique Tigers needed on Friday to come away with the win.
He worked hard to return from his injury and used it as fuel to get back and produce on the field.
“Sometimes you have to see it from another point of view, and I think that’s what kind of motivated him,” Torres said. “When he got the green light that he could move and swing the bat a little bit, he put in a lot of extra work and it paid off today.
“I’m just super excited now that we have him back for all purposes.”