By Sean Reilly
Something had to give when the Diamond Jacks Super 11s met the Bucks County Generals 11U Black for the championship of the 11U Williams Harley Davidson Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Diamond Nation.
Both undefeated teams had blended impressive hitting and even stronger pitching to earn their places in the title game. The Diamond Jacks Super 11s had won their first three games by a combined score of 39-3, while the Generals outscored their three foes 26-0.
Sure enough, both teams scored twice in the first inning. But the Diamond Jacks fared better the rest of the way, taking a five-run lead into the bottom of the fifth before holding on for an 8-6 triumph.
“They were every bit the team we expected to play,” said Diamond Jacks Super 11s coach Jairo Labrador. “They were sound and well coached. They’re a great program. We’ve played them quite a few times and you definitely know you’ll get a battle with that group. But, we think we’re a great program, too. We expect to win these things when we get there. That’s our mindset because we work so hard at it. These boys put in a lot of work so when it comes to these situations, we expect them to thrive.”
A four-run fifth inning made the difference for the Diamond Jacks Super 11U. With his team trailing, 3-2, Logan Koziupa led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on Grayson Babich’s single. A base hit in front of the plate by Fenton Morrissey and a walk to Matheus Pelaez then loaded the bases. The first out was recorded on an infield fly to the pitcher before a two-run single by Cameron Glovas, compounded by a throwing error, cleared the bases for a 6-3 advantage.
“Bases were loaded and I was thinking to look for a fastball high and I got the barrel on it and got it up the middle,” Glovas said.
Third-baseman Glovas also made the defensive play of the game in the top of the inning. With one out and a runner on third, he fielded a scorching grounder hit by Mason Bonfig and threw him out at first. The go-ahead run scored on the play, but his web gem erased the threat of a much bigger inning.
“I just kept my eyes on the ball all the way through and knew I had a strong arm so I could throw from my knees.”
The Diamond Jacks Super 11U added their final runs in the top of the sixth, getting an RBI groundout from Richie Griswold and a run-scoring single by Koziupa.
Those runs were important, since the Generals staged a one-out rally in the bottom of the sixth and final inning. Koshie Hardaway singled, Jake Pietrak reached on an error and Mason Bicht hit a three-run homer to make it a two-run game. But the next two hitters were retired to end it.
Glovas and Diamond Jacks teammate Griswold were named co-MVPs of the tournament.
“This was the best weekend I’ve performed in,” Griswold said. “I was very comfortable the whole entire tournament. I had a really good time and it was a lot of fun playing with my teammates.”