Thoroughly efficient on the mound and in the field and punishing at the plate, the Connecticut Rage rolled to the 13U King of the Diamond tournament championship last weekend in alarming fashion.
Rage pitchers threw three shutouts and the team’s deep and dangerous lineup accumulated runs in bunches en route to a 5-0 tournament performance and outscoring their opponents 55-5.
Righty Danny Leyva got the win in the final and contributed at the plate as Jimmy Dobbs, Jamie Piccuillo and Sebastian Perez stepped up as well when the Rage defeated Garden State Ducks Green, 16-4.
Dobbs had a terrific all-around performance and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Dobbs, a righthander, pitched a four-inning no-hitter in the semifinals, striking out four and walking three as the Rage defeated the NJ Marlins, 12-1. He also had four doubles and a triple in the tournament.
“Collin Gevry caught the championship game and blocked everything,” said Rage coach Chris Sharma. “He probably blocked 25 balls in the turf.” Gevry and Dobbs shared duties behind the plate and combined to throw out four runners attempting to steal.
“This team is special,” said Sharma. Indeed, the Rage has opened its spring season at 8-0 and is looking to make a name for itself nationally. “We have a lot of depth. Our Nos. 9 and 10 hitters are No. 4 hitters for most teams.”
The Rage pitching staff opened the tournament with three straight shutouts. In the team’s second tournament game on Saturday, Piccuillo threw a three inning no-hitter, striking out five and walking three as the Rage cruised to a 10-0 victory. Jake Palladino then tossed a one-hitter over five innings as the Rage defeated the Heavy Hitters, 9-0, to complete pool play at 3-0 with a gaudy 27-0 runs advantage. The right-handed Palladino threw just 50 pitches in a very tidy five innings.
“We’ve put together a really good team of players from the Fairfield (CT) area,” said Sharma. “We have 13 teams in our program from ages 8 to 18. And this one has a shot to get a national ranking. We have three pitchers throwing plus-75.”
On top of the excellent pitching and relentless hitting attack, the Rage played a brand of defense not often seen at the 13U level. The Connecticut squad did not commit an error in its five tournament games. “We hit well. We know that,” said Sharma. “But if we can’t pitch and play defense we know we won’t win. That’s what it’s all about.”
Carson Dodder had four extra-base hits in the tournament, including a home run, for the Rage. The Ducks (4-1) outscored their opponents 41-23.
Rain took a heavy toll on the tournament as the 11U, 12U and 14U brackets were unable to complete play.
The Hamilton A’s (2-0) were atop the 11U standings, having outscored their opponents 25-3. Also at 2-0 in the 11U field were West Chester Pride, the Diamond Jacks Gold 11U and the Diamond Jacks Super 11U.
The Diamond Jacks Super 12U were sitting atop the 12U field at 3-0 and having outscored their opponents 35-9 before play was stopped. Two powerhouses were leading the 14U bracket, as well, before rain intervened. The Diamond Jacks Super 14U (3-0, 29-5) and the Bucks County Generals 14U Black (2-0, 23-1) were each on a roll.
Diamond Jacks Super 10U 18, Baseball U – Pocono 10
The Diamond Jacks Super 10U defeated Baseball U-Pocono, 18-10, in the 10U King of the Diamond championship game. Henry Kusant of the Super 10U was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Diamond Jacks (4-0) outscored their tournament opponents 66-24. Baseball U (3-2) held a 42-40 runs advantage on its opponents.