Diamond Jacks Gold 14U finds hitting rhythm in Boys of Summer

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 30, 2023

Luke Rocha pitched a shutout as the Diamond Jacks Gold 14U bats erupted on Friday.

By Joe Hofmann

It is summertime. School is out. Text books are packed away.

But the learning continues.

The Diamond Jacks 14U Gold team spent Friday afternoon learning basic Math.

No hitting = No victories.

Good hitting = Victories.

Class dismissed!

Amazing what some well-timed hits can do for a team.

It sure did wonders for the Diamond Jacks, who erupted for a 10-0, four-inning victory over the Sparta Cyclones in the 14U Boys of Summer Tournament at Diamond Nation Friday.

What a difference a week makes.

The Diamond Jacks did little at the plate last week at the Beat the Heat Tournament at Diamond Nation.

They went 0-3 and scored a paltry six runs.

Ugh-and-3 is more like it.

“We were 0-3 for the first time ever,” Diamond Jacks catcher Andre Garlits said. “Our bats struggled. We struggled just putting hits together. Our pitchers pitched pretty well but we just couldn’t put the bat on the ball.”

That wasn’t a problem against Sparta. The Diamond Jacks scored four runs in the first, one in the third, and five in the fourth to win by mercy rule.

They ended the game with an exclamation point, with a flurry of five straight hits.

Leadoff man Nico Moore (3-for-3, 2 runs scored, RBI) led the hit parade when he led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored on an overthrow.

He wasn’t the only hitting star. Stefano DiGeronimo (1-for-2, walk, 2 runs), Blake McClagg (2-for-3, double, 2 runs, 2 RBIs), Garlits (3-for-3, RBI, run scored), Andrew Miliukas (2-for-3, 1 run, RBI), George DeTorres (2-for-2, RBI), and Peyton Keller (RBI double) were other hitting leaders, making a winner out of starter Luke Rocha.

“We had a good approach at the plate,” winning coach Logan Steidinger said. “We were aggressive and hit the ball well. Our swings looked good. We fielded well. Luke pitched well. Good all-around game for us.”

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We said before the game, ‘Let’s bounce back,’” Garlits added. “We came out with the bats today and we picked up our pitcher.”

Rocha, meanwhile, was in total control, literally and figuratively. He went the distance, allowing three hits, fanning six and not allowing a single walk.

“Luke controlled the zone,” Garlits said. “He trusted the guys in the field.”

“You just try to go out and throw strikes because it is the first game of the tournament,” Rocha said. “I want to get into the playoffs this weekend. That’s my goal. What really helped me behind the plate was our catcher. And the run support helped.”

It sure put last weekend to rest.

“That was a little rough,” Rocha said. “This was definitely good.”

So was the catching of Garlits, who threw out two Sparta runners attempting to steal.

“I really appreciate our catchers,” Rocha said, referring to Garlits and George DeTorres. “When I have a runner on base, they give me peace of mind. They keep me steady.”

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