Team Boston Academy 15U catcher Nolan Donaldson makes nice catch on a foul pop.
By Sean Reilly
Bill Ford, the coach of Deck Dogs 2024 team, is a bit of a baseball sage inside his team’s dugout. He offers his players a study flow of positive instruction, advice and wisdom throughout the game.
He had plenty of good things to pass along on Saturday, when the Deck Dogs won twice at the Super 16 Invitational, opening with a 4-3 victory in the morning over the East Coast Lumberjacks at Raritan Valley Community College, and following with a 7-1 triumph over Team Boston Academy 15U in the afternoon at Diamond Nation.
The Deck Dogs, out of Newton Square, Pa., played crisp baseball throughout the day, including the win over Team Boston Academy, which acquitted themselves well with a roster made up of Class of 2025 talent who are playing up age-wise for the weekend.
“Our pitching has been good,” Ford said, whose team has a deep staff. “We haven’t allowed a big inning, and our hitting has also been good. We have a good group of kids, they’re scrappy. They just need to keep getting better.”
The Deck Dogs showed their efficiency in the bottom of the first inning in the win over Team Boston. Nico Tozzi led off with a walk, and advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw. He crossed to third when Zane Malarkey flew out to center, and then scored when Sam Dinitz hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
Team Boston Academy tied the game in the second inning, as Tom Quinn walked with one out and Luke Thornton followed with a RBI double.
The Deck Dogs scored twice in the bottom of the second, with all of the damage coming after the first two batters were retired. Matthew Sheppard walked, and after a wild pitch, Ivano Romaniello hit a single that brought in the first run. Romaniello took second on the throw to the plate, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single supplied by Tozzi.
The Deck Dogs added three more two-out runs in fourth for a 6-1 advantage. Malarkey doubled in the first run, while Dinitz and Zachary King each legged out infield hits to score the others.
The final run was scored in the fifth. Troy Neff led off with a walk, reached third after two wild pitches, and scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of David Meiser.
Joe Kerns pitched the first five innings for the Deck Dogs. He allowed two hits, with seven strikeouts and one walk. He received firm backing from his defense, particularly Dinitz at shortstop.
The Deck Dogs conclude play at the showcase on Sunday with an afternoon matchup against the Bronx Bombers 16U, who tied Team Boston Academy, 5-5, later in the day.
Team Boston plays the East Coast Lumberjacks 2025 (0-2) in its final game on Sunday.