CT Grind Carolina pitcher Chase Supan fires away in his one-hit effort in the Super 17 on Thursday.
By Will Harrigan
One big inning – or a bad one if your team is on the short end of the stick – can define a baseball game.
For a talented CT Grind Carolina club, an offensive explosion – capped by a rare feat at the dish – one outburst was all that was needed to finish off a great week at ‘The Nation.’
A rare inside-the-park grand slam off the bat of Connor Crowley finished off a seven run second inning, effectively ending the game before the Grind officially completed an 8-0 victory over the Diamond Jacks 17U Gold club on a chilly Thursday afternoon at Diamond Nation.
With the bases juiced, Crowley launched a ball into center field, and an aggressive attempt by the DJacks fielder to jump up and corral the ball came up just short, allowing the ball to roll to dead center.
Incidentally, the rare hustle grand slam was not the first time that occurred for Crowley in 2023. About a month ago, he launched an inside the park grand slam for his Notre Dame West Haven High School squad.
“It’s kind of crazy that two similar things like that happened so close together,” said Crowley, a just graduated senior who will be playing at Brandeis University in the fall. “With this one, I knew I was getting at least three when I saw it go over the glove. Seeing my coach wave me in kicked me into another gear.”
Grady Schopps, Dylan Ellison, and Chase Supan each laced line drive singles to quickly load the bases in the second inning. A fielding error – one of four committed by the DJacks – on Supan’s hit allowed Schopps to score and get the Grind on the board.
Following a strikeout, 11th batter Drew Pedigo would get up and draw a walk to force in another run and double the lead.
Western Connecticut State commit Ryan Vallie would follow that up with an RBI single, setting up the big blast by Crowley.
“Our offense is like that, able to score runs in bunches,” said Crowley. “There is not much of a drop off in the lineup.”
Meanwhile, the run support would be more than enough for the southpaw Supan, who tossed five innings of one-hit ball to shut down the DJacks.
Pitching to contact exceptionally well, Supan also fanned four Diamond Jacks batters while not allowing a runner into scoring position.
A two-out double in the fifth by Vallie – his third time reaching base on the day – paid off for the Grind, as a pair of errant pitches allowed Vallie to score the decisive eighth run.
Following a bunt single by St. Joseph of Metuchen product Christian Salgado – the lone DJacks hit of the day – Supan would induce a 4-6-3 double play ball to put the mercy rule in effect and finish the game.
CT Grind Carolina finished up a 3-1 week at the Super 17 Invitational with the victory, while the DJacks Gold 17U squad finished an even 2-2 in the tournament. The Super 17 is a showcase event, so there are no playoffs contested this week.