Jonathan Ramirez leads off third base for the North Jersey Cardinals.
By Steve Merrill
A Casey Cumiskey hustle inside-the-park home run to center field put the Baseball Warehouse Mariachis in front in the final inning of play and eventually guided them to a 7-4 victory over the North Jersey Cardinals in a Super 17 Invitational Week 2 matchup.
Leading off the bottom of the fifth in a 4-4 game with the time limit looming, Cumiskey launched a fastball to dead-center field and it went over Jonathan Ramirez’s head, resulting in a lap around the bases for Cumiskey. His sprint out of the box on what looked to be a playable fly ball to the deeper part of the outfield is a lesson for all ballplayers.
“When I hit it, I saw it go over his head and I ran as hard as I could,” Cumiskey said. “You never know with anything on the field. At this age, anything could be a hit. They could bobble it, it could skip through. So you always have to run hard, maybe get an extra base if you can.”
Cumiskey was fresh off an appearance in the Quad County Underclassmen All-Star Game the night before. The Spotswood High player was in the Middlesex County lineup.
Cumiskey had a similar situation earlier in the game. During his first at bat, he stretched a single into a double. He wound up advancing to third on a passed ball then scoring.
“He’s been hustling, and I think his 60 (yard dash) is a 6.7,” Mariachis head coach Greg Sampson said. “It’s been really good to see.”
The heat was on Friday afternoon. Add in field turf to the equation and it’s even hotter. This was an issue early on as Mariachis starting pitcher Mihir Patel only lasted an inning on the bump.
The Cardinals got off to a fast start off Patel, plating two runs in the top of the first. Wyatt Monks doubled in a run and then the following batter, Jack Rothfleisch, singled Monks in.
“For us, our starter got a little lightheaded, so we had to bring in a guy who wasn’t expected to pitch,” Sampson said. “(Frankie) Flannery, who is coming off an injury, got us a lot of innings and threw really well.”
Flannery stepped up big time. The South Plainfield, N.J. native tossed four innings of two-run ball, surrendering two hits and two runs with six walks and three strikeouts. At the plate, Flannery also reached base twice via a walk and hit-by-pitch.
The Warehouse offense would answer back in the bottom of the first with three consecutive hits. Cumiskey doubled, then Michael Colonnello (also in the Quad County event the night before) tripled him home. Then Patel singled to drive in Colonnello, tying the game at 2-2.
The Cardinals scratched off two more runs in the top of the third. Jonathan Ramirez and Peter Ramirez walked and then Monks singled to load the bases. Rothfleisch then drew a walk to force in a run and give North Jersey a 3-2 lead. Kieran Conway drove in the Cardinals’ fourth run on a sacrifice fly to center field to take a two-run advantage.
North Jersey had a chance to add on and blow the game open in the fourth but fell short. With the bases loaded and one out, Jonathan Ramirez bunted right back to Flannery who started the 1-2-3 double play to retire the side and short-circuit the rally.
The Mariachis broke even in the bottom of the fourth, tying the game at 4-4. Jordan Martins reached second on a two-base error and then stole third. E.J. Accettura grounded out to bring Martins home. A single and three straight walks forced in the other run to tie the game.
Then in the fifth, after Cumiskey’s home run, Warehouse tacked on two more runs, with Patel recording an RBI single and Aidan Crimmins grounding out to score Patel. The Mariachis moved to 5-0 in their final game in the Super 17 Invitational while the Cardinals fell to 1-4.