Delmarva’s Testa walks it off, Wise MVP in 11U Spring Classic

By Bob Behre | May 6, 2024

Brandon Testa put a sudden end to a terrific game when he launched a two-run triple just short of the wall in left-center field to give Delmarva Aces 11U Upstate a 4-3 victory over the Diamond Jacks Super 11U in the 11U Spring Classic championship game.

Delmarva had forced extra innings when it tied the game at 2-2 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning on a pair of Diamond Jacks errors. The game moved to the California Tiebreaker in the seventh and the Diamond Jacks struck first on J.J. Villanueva’s sac fly.

But the Diamond Jacks could not muster any more runs from there as Delmarva came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with a chance to win it. In the California Tiebreaker, each team comes to bat with the bases loaded and one out.

Testa, Delmarva’s cleanup hitter, stepped in having gone 0-for-2 to that point in the tightly fought contest. “I was looking middle-in and just trying to make contact,” said Testa.”

Well, Testa saw something he liked immediately from Diamond Jacks pitcher Chase Samuelson. Delmarva’s shortstop ripped the very first pitch he saw deep into the gap in left-center field that chased home the runners on second and third with the tying and winning runs.

“We knew we had the right guy in that spot,” said Delmarva coach Chase Rosenquist. “I told Brandon to look for his favorite pitch and drive it. If you get it, don’t miss it.”

Testa didn’t miss it after bouncing out to the mound and flying out to center field in his first two at bats. “I just wanted to keep my good attitude in that at bat,” said Testa.

It was an extremely clean game, particularly for the 11U level, until the Diamond Jacks – error free through the first five innings – committed two miscues in the sixth that led to the Delmarva run. The Aces committed a single error that did not cost them.

The Diamond Jacks (3-1-1) struck first, scoring in the top of the first after Ben Pasuco laced a two-out double to center field. Pasuco would score on consecutive wild pitches with Nicholas Penna at the plate.

Diamond Jacks starting pitcher Christian Basile retired the first seven Delmarva batters of the game before Cole MacFadyn ripped a one-out double to left field in the third. A wild pitch moved MacFadyn to third base. Speedy leadoff batter Zyaire Wise stepped in with two outs and hit a chopper to the left side. Shortstop Brycen Davis made a nice play and throw on it, but Wise beat it out for an infield single as MacFadyn raced home with the tying run.

The Diamond Jacks regained the lead in the top of the fifth when Scott Krempecks drew a leadoff walk, stole second and moved to third on Ralston Cooper’s hard single to center. Ralston stole second to put a second Diamond Jacks runner in scoring position before Krempecke scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Zyaire Wise of Delmarva Aces was named MVP of the 11U Spring Classic tournament.

Wise started and was pulled after the first two Diamond Jacks runners reached in the fifth. He pitched a mostly tidy four-plus innings, permitting two runs on three hits, struck out five and walked six. Reliever Greyson Voshell retired the side in order in the fifth, around that wild pitch, to avert further trouble and keep the Aces in the game.

Wise was named the 11U tournament’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts in the final and the entire tournament.

“I was throwing fastball, slider, curveball,” said Wise about how he contained the Diamond Jacks’ bats. But Wise, the man who stood out all tournament, pushed his chips to the middle of the table on his teammates. “I had no doubt we’d win,” he said, describing Testa’s clutch hit as, “Perfect.”

Voshell allowed just one baserunner in his three innings of relief. He stranded Penna (2-for-3) in the sixth after his two-out single and, faced with the bases loaded in the seventh via the California Rule, induced the sac fly and a groundout to the right side.

The pitching was strong for the Diamond Jacks as well. Basile allowed one run on one hit, struck out one and walked one over 2⅓ innings. Samuelson worked the final 3⅓-plus, permitting one run, which was unearned, before the tiebreaker, on two hits, struck out one. He walked none and hit a batter.

Coach Rosenquist said his Delmarva team has, “a never-say-die attitude. And Zyaire was a dog for us this weekend. He lit it up on the mound, taking us into the fifth inning. And he does such a good job focusing on getting on base for us.”

Delmarva (4-0) outscored its tournament opponents 42-24, The Diamond Jacks held a 54-21 runs advantage on their opponents.

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