Andrew Rigby of DCP Rawlings took this one for a ball before beating out an infield single.
DCP Rawlings 2021 National team, also known as the Delmarva Aces, wasn’t pleased with its performance at the 2019 Super 17 Invitational and has gone to work flushing that bad memory.
“We talked about it before the game,” said DCP Rawling coach Dave Whigham. “We played well last year but not so much here.”
Whigham sent out three power arms at South Jersey Elite 2021 White and they delivered a 6-0 shutout to get the 2020 version of Super 17 off to a more desirable start. The Super 17 Invitational, held perennially in June, was moved to August after Diamond Nation’s summer season was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think last year’s tournament was a little early for us. Our guys had just finished high school,” said Whigham. “We weren’t quite rolling yet.”
Whigham’s boys were rolling on Monday when they were one of four 8 a.m. games that opened the two-week, 130-team event at Diamond Nation. There were two other 8 a.m. games played off site this morning.
DCP Rawlings starter Chris Colmery set quite a tone, striking out the side in the top of the first inning around a one-out double by S.J. Elite’s Ryan Ulisse. That hit would be the only one allowed by DCP Rawlings pitching. Colmery’s three scoreless innings included six strikeouts and one walk.
Colmery, a rising senior at powerhouse St. Mark’s High in Delaware, permitted just the two baserunners and, after he issued the walk to Grant Hirt leading off the second, that runner was erased on a double play grounder. The Delaware commit gave S.J. Elite fits with his approach, a steady stream of first-pitch curveballs and sliders for strikes and an ability to keep their hitters off balance.
“My stuff was a little iffy in the first inning but I got my slider and curveball going pretty good,” said Colmery. His breaking balls were up in the zone a bit in the early going before they found their bite. Colmery’s fastball has touched 90 and gave S.J. Elite batters fits especially when they were guarding against his accurate breaking stuff.
Righthanders Tyler Bowen and Mason Drummond would come in and pitch a scoreless inning apiece to close out the five inning game ended by time limit. Bowen issued a pair of two-out walks but got through the fourth inning otherwise unscathed, having allowed no hits and struck out two batters. Drummond finished things with a bit of flair, striking out the S.J. Elite side in order in the fifth. The three DCP Rawlings pitchers combined to shut out S.J. Elite on one hit, strike out 11 and walk three.
Austin Prior gave a quick indication of what the DCP Rawlings offense was going to look like when he led off the bottom of the first with a single to center field and promptly stole second base. Prior took third on a passed ball with No. 2 hitter Andrew Rigby still at the plate and tagged and scored when Rigby flew out deep enough to left field.
Conor Ellingsworth manufactured another run in the first almost single-handedly. He drew a walk, took second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on Drummond’s fielder’s choice bouncer to the left side. The 2-0 margin would be plenty with the performance of the DCP Rawlings staff but the Delmarva-based club would tack on two more runs in the third inning and two in the fourth.
Cleanup hitter Ben Anderson drew a one-out walk to innocuously ignite the rally in the third. Courtesy runner Ellingsworth quickly stole second and third base and scored when Drummond dropped a fly ball into shallow left field that no one took charge of. Drummond would be forced home from third later in the inning when Alex Adams was hit by a pitch, boosting the lead to 4-0.
Prior and Rigby got it going again for DCP Rawlings in the fourth with back-to-back singles. Ellingsworth then drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Anderson then hit a long rainbow to deep straightaway center field that Joe Juliano nearly chased down. But the ball fell for a very long RBI single as the runners held, waiting to see if Juliano would make the grab. Rigby would score on a wild pitch to make it 6-0.
DCP Rawlings is back at it at 8 a.m. on Tuesday against TTS Prospects on Field 3. S.J. Elite will be looking for its first tournament win also at 8 a.m. tomorrow against Heavy Hitters 4 16U on Field 4. Each team plays five games through Thursday evening. There are no playoffs in the Super 17 Invitational.