By Sean Reilly
The Connecticut Rage traveled to Diamond Nation over the weekend to get their first taste of outdoor baseball in the 2023 season.
The team from Fairfield County, Connecticut also came to Flemington with another objective in mind. They didn’t just want to play. They also wanted to win.
The Rage completed an undefeated weekend by rallying from a four-run deficit to beat the Diamond Jacks Super 13U, 5-4, in the championship game of the 13U Spring Invitational on Sunday evening.
The Rage, who excelled in all facets throughout the weekend, showed perhaps their best quality by scraping back over the final three innings to beat the Diamond Jacks, who had entered the game with a 4-0 weekend record.
“This was great,” said Rage pitcher Charlie Rosenthal, who relied on his curveball while throwing three scoreless innings of relief to gain the victory. “We fought hard. That’s what we do. We always fight hard, no matter what. You can never count us out.”
The Diamond Jacks took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth. Owen Rivenbark had a RBI single in the first inning and Jason Baker hit a two-run single in the third, before coming around on two stolen bases and a wild pitch. All of the Diamond Jacks scoring came with two outs.
The Rage got their first run when Will Ryan hit a two-out double that landed near the left field foul with two out in the fourth to score Damian Webb from first base.
Rage catcher Max Mulhall led off the bottom of the fourth with a walk. He scored on a one-out double by Zack Dilorio that cut the Diamond Jacks lead to 4-2.
The game then turned when the Rage scored three times in the bottom of the sixth. The inning started with singles by Michael “Meesh” Mulhall and Michael Marino. After Rosenthal reached on a ground out that forced out the lead runner at third, Webb was safe on an error that scored a run. Rosenthal scored the tying run on a wild pitch with Will Ryan at the plate. Ryan got aboard via a fielder’s choice and scored the go-ahead run as the Diamond Jacks fielder couldn’t corral a looping ball hit near the right-field line by Justin Gnidula.
Rosenthal then pitched a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, capped by a strikeout on a curve to secure the championship. He struck out four during his stint, all of them looking.
Mulhall was named tournament’s MVP. He caught three games over the weekend and went 4-for-7 with two walks at the plate. He also threw out a couple of would-be base stealers along the way.
“This was a great weekend,” he said. “It was really fun to be back outside. It was exciting. We worked hard all winter, and then as we got on the field and in this game, we knew we would come back because we persevered throughout this whole tournament. It’s a good start to the season.”