By Sean Reilly
The looks from the Morris County Cubs batters on Sunday afternoon said it all.
The Cubs are a very talented team, who were without a few regulars for their championship matchup against the Bucks County Generals 12U Black at the Diamond Nation 12U School’s Out Tournament.
Complicating matters, the Cubs were facing Jimmy Clark, a hard-throwing right-hander from the Pennsylvania-based team who happened to have his best stuff. He featured a fastball clocked in the low 70s and a sharp change up that came to the plate near 60 mph. And in between was a slider that was even tougher to handle.
The result was a four-inning three-hitter, with nine strikeouts and one walk, as the Generals gained a 12-1 victory for the championship in Flemington.
Clark was also 2-for-2 at the plate, with a home run, two runs scored and four RBI, as his team completed a 4-0 weekend with a staggering 62-3 run differential.
It’s no wonder Clark was named tournament MVP, and that he also earned those understandable tip-your-cap like looks from the Cubs batters as they returned back to their dugout.
“Everything felt pretty good,” Clark said. “I was throwing fastballs for strikes to get ahead, and then used my breaking stuff. It was fastball, slider, change up.”
The Cubs did take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Dom Ammiano led off with a single to right field and scored on a two-out single to center by Greg Egger.
Clark’s third strikeout of the inning followed. His first eight outs of the game were all by strikeout, seven of them swinging.
The Generals quickly took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first. Akaash Hardaway led off with a full count single to left field, and Clark followed with a home run over the fence in right field.
The Generals then erupted for seven runs in the second inning. Christopher Duke doubled in the first run, and he scored on a base hit by Tyler Doran.
Jimmy Clark of Bucks County Generals was named the MVP of the 12U School’s Out tournament.
After an infield pop up by Waylon Kerrigan dropped for a single, Doran scored on a balk with Easton Schwalm at the plate. Schwalm then delivered a base hit to left field that scored Kerrigan for a 6-1 lead. Hardaway followed with a single, and Clark added a two-run hit to left. He took second on the throw to the plate, and an additional error allowed him to come home with the ninth run.
Three more runs scored in the third, on singles by Mason Bonfig and John Grendek, and a ground out from Doran.
Matthew Geiger also went 2-for-2 for the Generals, who scored at least 12 runs in all four of their games in the tournament.
“Everyone started hitting and making plays,” Clark said. “This was a good weekend. We won a lot. I like pitching and hitting here.”
Liam Vonroth had the other hit for the Cubs, a leadoff single in the fourth.