Cusack sparks Rebels to opening win at 14U Williams Harley Davidson

By DN WRITING STAFF | April 27, 2024

Luke Cusack was 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI for the NJ Rising Rebels.

By Sean Reilly

Luke Cusack couldn’t wait to play baseball, and it showed on Friday night at Diamond Nation.

Cusack was the No. 3 batter and starting first baseman when his NJ Rising Rebels 2028 team made its season debut at the Williams Harley Davidson 14U tournament.

Up until then, his baseball appetite was pretty much fed by what he could watch on TV.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” he said. “I’ve been watching so much baseball. College baseball, MLB…I couldn’t wait to play.”

Cusack went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI as the Morris County-based Rising Rebels beat the PA Shockers 14U Blue, 10-0, in four innings in Flemington.

Jordani Gonzalez scores first-inning run for NJ Rising Rebels on hit by Luke Cusack 

The Rising Rebels followed with a 7-3 victory over the Morris County Cubs to complete a very productive opening night at ‘The Nation.’

In the win over the PA Shockers, Cusack batted three times with runners on base, and each time he produced.

That included the bottom of the first inning, when he came up after Jordani Gonzalez led off with a walk, and Quinn Barron (2-for-2, walk) followed with a single to center that moved Gonzalez to second.

Cusack delivered an RBI single to center field.

“I love the pressure of those situations,” he said. “My approach is always to hit the ball as hard as I can. I don’t want to take any half swings, hit any weak pop outs or anything like that. I’m looking to always hit the ball hard and advance runners.”

The Rising Rebels added two more runs in the third inning.

Barron hit a stand-up triple to center field with one out, and he scored when Cusack singled to right field. A walk to Brian Morehardt was followed by a double steal. The throw to third went into left field, allowing Cusack to score.

The Rising Rebels ended the game by putting up seven runs in the fourth.

Jackson Toland (2-for-2) led off with a single to left field, and Ryan Flack reached on a single to third base. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third.

With the infield forced to play in, James Gaven hit a two-run single through the middle and into center field.

Michael Mejia was safe on a fielder’s choice, with an error on a throw to second allowing Gaven to stick at second. The runners then advanced to second and third on a balk.

With the infield again having to play in, Gonzalez placed a two-run single into right field for a 7-0 lead. Gonzalez advanced to second on a throw, and took third on an error. He scored the eighth run on a wild pitch with Barron at the plate.

Barron walked, and Cusack singled to right field. They advanced on a double steal while the next two batters struck out.

Quinn Barron (2-for-2, walk) pulls into third with a standup triple for NJ Rising Rebels 

With a chance to end the game via the 10-run, fourth-inning mercy rule if both Barron and Cusack could score, Julian Liu blooped a single beyond the pitcher’s mound to score Barron.

Toland was then at the plate when a balk brought in Cusack with the game-ending run.

The Shockers ended their night with a 6-2 loss to FS Prime.

FS Prime also won both of its games on Friday, having defeated the Morris County Cubs, 6-2.

First place in Pool D will be decided when the Rising Rebels and FS Prime collide on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.

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