Michael Faulk ripped a shot into the left-center field gap to score Andrew Finarelli from third base with the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Diamond Jacks Super 10U squad nipped the Richmond Titans, 7-6, in the 10U Easter Extravaganza championship game.
Finarelli had triggered the winning rally when he led off the inning with a double and reached third on a passed ball. Henry Kusant was walked intentionally and stole second. “Henry was having a huge tournament, so the intentional walk wasn’t a surprise,” said Super 10U coach Pete Minsavage.
It almost paid off as the Titans buckled down, getting the next two Diamond Jacks out. It appeared the Titans were about to extricate themselves from the dire threat, but Faulk, still just nine years old, stepped up in the big spot and delivered a no-doubt-about-it shot to walk it off for the Diamond Jacks. Faulk had three RBI in the game.
“Andrew’s double got us motivated in our last at bat,” said Minsavage. “It was an incredible game.”
The Titans trailed 6-2 in the third inning and rallied for a couple runs in the fourth to get close and would tie the game at 6-6 entering the sixth inning. The team from Staten Island had a rally of its own in the top of the sixth, threatening to cap the comeback with some late game magic. But Supe 10U shortstop Fenton Morrissey snared a lined drive for the second out and turned it into an inning-ending double play.
Max Lopez, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, entered with two runners on and one out in the fourth and stemmed the Richmond rally. He’d permit just two runs over the final 2.2 innings to earn the victory. “Max came in and held them right there in the fourth,” said Minsavage. “He got some big outs for us the rest of the way.”
When not on the mound, Lopez was handling his duties at shortstop and making all of the plays.
Kusant provided the big hammer all tournament. “Henry was crushing baseballs all tournament,” said Minsavage.
The Diamond Jacks’ complete team effort was obvious in a scoring differential of 33-11. The Titans, indeed, played an excellent tournament as well, outsourcing their opponents 46-18.
“What’s so beautiful to watch at this age level is the players’ development day-to-day,” says Minsavage. “ They just continually improve. They just love the game. And during this trying time they are putting in a great effort and it shows in their performance. They are putting their heart and soul into the game.”
Easter Extravaganza recaps
RCBC Marucci Nationals 15, NJ Renegades 12
RCBC Marucci Nationals edged the NJ Renegades, 15-12, in the 9U Easter Extravaganza championship game. Vincent Lanni of RCBC was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. RCBC (4-0) outscored its opponents 67-21. The Renegades (3-1) held a 55-20 runs advantage on their opponents.
Taconic Rangers 11, Baserats Baseball 1
The Taconic Rangers defeated Baserats Baseball, 11-1, in the 12U Easter Extravaganza championship game. Ethan Viera of the Rangers was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Rangers (4-0) outscored their opponents 46-14. Baserats Baseball (2-2) was outscored by its opponents 23-15.
Trenton Thunder Baseball Academy 6, NJ Marlins 1
Trenton Thunder Baseball Academy defeated the NJ Marlins, 6-1, in the 13U Easter Extravaganza championship game. Bryce Bolognini of Trenton Thunder was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Thunder (5-0) outscored their opponents 56-9. The Marlins (3-1) held a 46-8 runs advantage on its opponents.
Diamond Jacks Super 14U 9, Diamond Jacks Gold 14U 8
The Diamond Jacks Super 14U edged the Diamond Jacks Gold 14U, 9-8, in the 14U Easter Extravaganza championship game. David Varoli of Super 14U was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Super 14U (4-0) outscored its opponents 44-13. The Gold 14U had a 21-21 scoring differential against its tournament opponents.