Cubs’ Conte, Rajagopalan toss no-hitter at 12U April Fool’s

By DN WRITING STAFF | April 7, 2024

Vincent Mose steals third for the Morris County Cubs White.

By Sean Reilly

Dwarak Rajagopalan had two jobs on Saturday afternoon at Diamond Nation, and he performed both to perfection. 

As a batter, his assignment was to get on base for the Morris County Cubs White against the Clifton Park Plainsmen at the April Fools 12U tournament. 

He did that by going 2-for-2 with a walk, stealing three bases and driving in a run along the way. 

His other role was to move from second base to pitcher for the final two innings, with the task of protecting a three-run lead. 

He handled that by retiring all six batters he faced, and his effort closed out a 4-1, no-hit victory for the Cubs in Flemington. 

Joey Conte pitched the first four innings for the Cubs, striking out five, walking two and hitting one. 

Rajagopalan struck out two during his two perfect frames.

Joey Conte and Dwarek Rajagopan, at second base above, combined on a no-hitter for the Cubs. 

“My fastball felt good, and I was just trying to throw strikes,” Rajagopalan said of his mound work. 

As for his hitting, some winter practice paid off during his team’s first day of 2024 action. 

“I’ve been working on my swing,” he said. “Trying to keep my hands calm.” 

The Cubs began their day with a lopsided defeat against Sandlot Baseball Kwiatkowski. Their matchup against Clifton Park went much better, with opening-game nerves out of the way. 

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Vincent Morse, who made two nice plays handling throws for putouts at first base in the opening inning, led off with a single to shortstop.

He stole second and third while the next two batters struck out. He scored when Rajagopalan singled to left-center field.

Josh Yan hits a sacrifice fly to score the lone run for the Clifton Park Plainsmen. 

Clifton Park, from Saratoga County, N.Y., tied it in the bottom of the second. 

Ryan Redick led off with a walk, and Brady Krisanda was hit by a pitch. The runners moved to second and third when Caleb Kelly flew out to center field. Josh Yan followed with a sacrifice fly to right field. 

The Cubs broke the tie in the top of the third. Anthony Reali reached on an error with one out and next batter Mason Bertos walloped a home run beyond the fence in left field. 

The Cubs extended their lead to three runs in the fifth inning. The first two batters struck out before Conte singled to left field and advanced on a passed ball. Morse (2-for-2, walk) followed with an RBI double to right center. 

Rajagopalan closed out the win and no-hitter by getting a fly out to left field followed by two strikeouts in the fifth, and a pop to shortstop and two ground outs in the sixth. 

The Cubs close out pool play against Double Major 12U Black (1-0-1) on Sunday at 10 a.m., while Clifton Park will meet Sandlot Baseball (1-0-1) at the same time in its final game.

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