Mason Daly of Time To Sign delivered the winning run with a sac fly.
By Joe Hofmann
By Mason Daly’s lofty standards, he had played a poor game yesterday.
But by game’s end, he was mobbed by his teammates – thanks to one swing of the bat.
Daly’s sacrifice fly brought home Dylan Henshaw with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning as Time To Sign Prospects beat the Virginia Blasters at Diamond Nation, 5-4.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Daly, who goes to Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey. “The last two weeks, I have been struggling. I have been hitting the ball right at people.”
Daly did that one more time, but it was good enough to get the job done.
Earlier in the game, he struck out and popped out. In the top of the seventh inning, he blamed himself for dropping a throw home on a bunt that tied the game at 4-4.
“I dropped the ball at the plate and the tying run scored,” he lamented.
But that all changed in the bottom of the seventh for his team, which is made up largely of players entering their sophomore and junior year of high school.
Henshaw was hit by a pitch to lead off and was singled to third by Tim Amato one out later.
Up stepped Daly.
“I just wanted to get the ball to the outfield,” he said. “I did what I could.”
When it was over, Daly was overwhelmed by his teammates patting him on the back and helmet near first base.
“That was pretty cool,” he said. “That never happened to me before. I just wanted to get the job done. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates getting on base. They did the job and that’s why we won the game.”
The game took a stunning turn in the top of the seventh. Virginia trailed 4-3 and appeared to have taken a 6-4 lead when Hunter Gillespie hit a two-run single to right-center field.
But a moment later, base umpire James Rueb went into the Virginia dugout, picked up the bat and ruled Gillespie out because he was using a Baum bat, which is illegal in the tournament. Winning pitcher Nicholas Hodgkins, on in relief, then got Rhett McNamara to hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
“We’ve been coming here for years now, and it was called on us one time 2-3 years ago,” said Time To Sign coach Ian Luberti. “No Baum bats! Our kids are cognizant of that now. It has a metal rod on the inside of it and it makes a big difference when you hit the ball. The kids have seen the bat before. They see it before us coaches do – even before it happens.”
“The kids yelled, ‘Check the bat,'” Rueb added. “It’s a rule. It’s on the back of the lineup card. The kids from Virginia asked, ‘Is that a Diamond Nation rule?’ I don’t umpire anywhere else, but I know that is a rule here.”
The victory was the first in four games for Time To Sign.
“This gives us confidence moving forward,” Daly said. “We have only spent one week with each other. Coming back from down 3-0 will give us confidence.”
Virginia took the lead in the top of the third with three runs on a throwing error and a Jake Chadwell double.
Time To Sign scored four in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead. The rally was keyed by Ben Landesman’s double to center, Henshaw’s RBI single, and Amato’s two-run double to put the team ahead.
“It’s exciting for us,” Luberti said. “We have a lot of sophomores and freshmen in the lineup. It’s a young group, but we’re hoping this translates for the rest of the summer.”
Time To Sign will head to Perfect Game in Georgia next week and Prospect Select in North Carolina. Later in the summer, they’ll return to Diamond Nation, perhaps with their confidence boosted from pulling out the win yesterday.
“It was an ugly win,” Luberti said, “but a nice win.”