Complete Game Colonials pitcher Brandon Bodart fires away in Saturday’s pool play win.
By Will Harrigan
The Complete Game Colonials and NJ Rising Rebels 14U squads combined to partake in an exceptionally well played baseball game on Saturday afternoon at Diamond Nation.
Hits were at a premium and cleanly fielded balls were the standard, and in a tied game late, whichever team came up with a little rally would win it.
That team turned out to be the Colonials.
A four-run outburst at a most opportune time – the bottom of the sixth inning – vaulted the Colonials 14U to a 5-1 victory over the Rebels at Diamond Nation in the Williams Harley Davidson tournament. Both teams were making their tournament debut in Pool A.
“I think early on we were making good contact, but we just weren’t finding holes and they were making plays,” Colonials coach Fernando Santana said. “We were kind of due for hits to start finding their way through.”
The decisive rally started with the bottom of the order in the sixth, and it came in the form of a triple to deep center field off the bat of No. 9 batter Braiden Russell.
Alex DeSimone would pop up in the ensuing at-bat, but an ill-timed fielding error by the Rebels proved costly, and Russell scored to make it 2-1. Pinch hitter Ralph Caprio would then single to put runners on the corners.
Two batters later, another triple proved devastating for the Rebels. Shortstop Emerson Cho launched a gapper to right-center, plating a pair of runs and extending the winners’ lead to 4-1.
Perfect Game Colonials – an Allendale-based club that will see most of its players play for upper Bergen County high schools in the next four years – added a fifth run when Jake Wagner scored on an infield single.
Way back in the first inning, the Colonials drew first blood in this one.
Leadoff man Ryan Nitch walked, and as the old baseball adage prophesied, he came around to score.
Nitch would swipe second base and score two batters later when a grounder off the bat of Wagner was bungled by the Rebels.
The unearned run was the only blemish on Rebels starter Max Behr’s day. Behr tossed five innings of three hit ball, fanning four Colonials batters along the way.
Meanwhile, Colonials pitcher Brandon Bodart was equally as brilliant. A right-hander with good movement on his pitches, Bodart tossed six innings of one-run ball, only surrendering three hits himself while striking out six Rebels.
The Rebels, a Morristown-based program that is progressively climbing up the ranks of the already loaded Morris County travel scene, drew even in the fourth.
Extra hitter Michael Najjar, batting 11th in the lineup, came through with a single to lead off the frame.
Najjar would advance to second when Dylan Byrne walked, and then came around to score a batter later when Ethan Yarow doubled in a run to even things up.
Faced with two men in scoring position, Bodart induced a shallow flyout off the bat of C.J. Fogg and a pop-out by Anthony Riggio to get out of the jam without any more damage.
Both teams will play Garden State Ducks and Wladyka Baseball National on Sunday morning. Wladyka defeated the Ducks 5-2 in the other game in the pool.