Two of the three Diamond Nation Top 25 championships were nailed down in the late afternoon on Wednesday when the Crossbridge Raiders won the Super 17/18U bracket and NJ Glory Scout rolled to the title in the Super 15U field.
The Super 16U Top 25 field will decide its championship today, beginning with first round play at 10 a.m. on Fields 1 and 3. The Super 16U semifinals are set for 12:15 p.m. and the four day event closes with the 2:15 p.m. championship game on Field 1.
Crossbridge ran the table in the Super 17/18U Top 25 bracket, finishing its 6-0 run to the championship with a 4-3 nailbiter over a resilient Dirtbags NY Titanium squad. NJ Glory, which looked like the best team in the Super 15U field all week, proved as much in its 10-1 victory over 9ers Baseball Club in the championship game.
Perhaps Crossbridge coach Derrick Kraemer put it best after his team’s championship victory when he said, “Knowing this was a first-time tournament at Diamond Nation and was unique in the fact that every team in the field would be elite, best of the best, really kept us focused all summer.”
Pitching certainly proved to be the key for Crossbridge, which scored just 14 runs in its last four games and 30 runs in its six tournament games. It, in fact, survived back-to-back pitchers duels with the Marlins, winning 3-0 in the final pool game and 2-1 in the semifinals when Kentucky-bound righthander Carson Applegate (Hun School) clamped down on that talented squad with a complete game, 11-strikeout effort. Applegate, also an outstanding shortstop, touched 91 on the radar yesterday. Applegate, who hails from Columbus, N.J., batted .471 in the tournament.
“Our starting pitchers gave up only four runs in our last three games against the best competition we’ve seen all summer,” said Kraemer, “and that’s coming off of three weeks in Georgia and North Carolina where we faced some of the country’s best teams.”
The Top 25 Showcase was a bit of a grind this week as teams scrambled to assemble enough pitching to navigate through the three rugged age groups after having expended so much of their respective gas tanks this summer. What stood out mostly, though, was the high level of play, game-to-game and day-to-day.
One of Crossbridge’s last arms standing was 6-2, 205 righthander Jackson Kraemer, a Wake Forest commit from nearby New Hope, Pa. Kraemer is Applegate’s teammate at Hun, which is clearly a much-watch come spring of 2022.
Kraemer got the nod for the championship game against the Dirtbags and gave his team four quality innings while allowing just one run. He chipped offensively, too, igniting a rally in the second inning with a leadoff laser to straightaway center field that he legged out for a triple. Righty Brandon Wingenroth (Penn State) got Crossbridge through the fifth and sixth and the first two outs of the seventh before lefty Ryan DiMaggio (Boston College) came on to nail down the final out and the championship.
Lefthander Cole Furhman (West Virginia) delivered big time in the aforementioned 3-0 victory over the Marlins in the final pool play game, hurling a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts. Furhman is a senior at Central Bucks West (Pa.) High School. Fuhrman was named the Most Valuable Player of the Super 17/18U Top 25 tournament.
The two wins against the Marlins, also known as the New England Scout Team, impressed coach Kramer the most. “They were the best team we faced all season.”
We’ve seen a lot of “bests” in the Super Top 25 Showcase this week and we are sure to see more today in the Super 16 playoffs.
NJ Glory Scout had a heck of a run to the Super 15U Top 25 championship, stumbling only during a tournament opening 6-3 loss to the PA Shockers 15U. NJ Glory righted its ship in its second game on Monday, a 10-3 victory over Wladyka Baseball Red. And it was full steam ahead from there as NJ Glory’s pitching staff would permit just four runs in its final four tournament games, culminating in the 10-1 championship game victory over 9ers Baseball Club.
Jaxon Kehoe and Kyle Rogers of NJ Glory Scout were named co-MVPs of the Super 15U Top 25 tournament.
NJ Glory picked off PA Shockers 2024, 5-0, then the Crossbridge Raiders 15U, 6-1, in its final pool play game, setting up its dominant run through the playoffs.
SUPER 17/18U TP 25 PLAYOFFS
5-NJ Marlins 7, 4-U.S. Elite 17U Geneux 4
3-National Sportika 7, 6-CK Cardinals 6
1-Crossbridge Raiders 2, 5-NJ Marlins 1
2-Dirtbags NY Titanium 4, 3-National Sportika 1
Crossbridge Raiders 4, Dirtbags NY Titanium 3
SUPER 15U TOP 25 PLAYOFFS
2-NJ Glory Scout 6, 3-Ascent 2024 Gold 2
4-9ers Baseball Club 8, 1-Northeast Supreme White 5
NJ Glory Scout 10, 9ers Baseball Club 1
SUPER 16U TOP 25 PLAYOFF SCHEDULE (Thursday, Aug. 19)
4-Knights Nations MXE Academy vs. 5-Kempton Coyotes, Field 1
3-Long Island Body Armor Titans vs. 6-9ers Baseball Club, Field 3
12:15 p.m., Fields 1 and 3
2:15 p.m., Field 1
Watch for a recap here tonight of the Super 16U Top 25 championship game.