Maddy Lenz steals third base before scoring first-inning run for Prospects Baseball.
By Sean Reilly
John Deveau, the starting pitcher for Hustle Baseball Academy, wasn’t particularly concerned after allowing the leadoff batter to score in the first inning of Friday night’s game against Prospects Baseball.
One reason was that he had plenty of trust in his own stuff to settle into a groove. The other was that he had much faith in his team’s offense to also get in gear as the game progressed.
Deveau was correct on both counts, as Hustle Baseball team wound up gaining an 11-1, five-inning victory that completed a two-win opening night for the Essex County-based organization at the Diamond Nation 14U Mother’s Day Classic in Flemington.
Deveau pitched the first four innings, and allowed two hits with five strikeouts and five walks. Joe Maiella pitched a hitless fifth inning, with three strikeouts against one walk.
Deveau also hit a double to deep center field for Hustle Baseball Academy that was part of the team’s 12-hit attack.
It all followed a 4-3 decision over the Diamond Jacks 14U Gold earlier on Friday, which gives Hustle Baseball Academy a chance for a first-place pool finish pending a Saturday night outcome against Garden State Naturals Navy, which went 1-1 on Friday night.
“I had a slow first few batters and then started cruising,” Deveau said. “Pitching wise, my fastball had good command. Sometimes I’ll have a somewhat slow start and then get going. It was my fastball and curveball, with a few change ups.”
Prospects Baseball took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Leadoff batter Maddy Lenz walked and moved to second when Colton Weyers was hit by a pitch. After stealing third, he scored on a single to center by Keegan Monahan.
Deveau got out of the inning by getting a ground out to third base and strikeout. After that, his team gradually took over.
Hustle Baseball Academy tied the score in the second inning when Roman Rowbotham (3-for-3) led off with a single to center, stole two bases and then came home when next-batter, Nicholas Danieli, grounded out to shortstop.
Hustle then broke the game open with four runs in the third inning. Maiella led off with a double and scored on a single by Landon Bolan. Aaron Wu hit an RBI double to center with one out and he scored on a two-run single to left field by Justin Acosta with two out.
Rowbotham led off the fourth with another single and again stole two bases before scoring on a ground out to shortstop by James Killian.
The final five runs for Hustle Baseball Academy were scored in the fifth inning.
Bolan led off with a walk and advanced to third on Deveau’s well-struck double. Eric Hokenberg hit a single to right field to score Bolan. Wu was safe on a fielder’s choice that forced out Hokenberg but scored Deveau for an 8-1 lead.
After Jayden Acevedo walked, Joaquin Phillips hit a two-run double to deep center. Rowbotham followed with his third hit, a single to right field that drove in Phillips for the 10-run advantage.