Justin Labrador reared back for the biggest strikeout of the game, stranding the tying run on third base as the Diamond Jacks Super 11U squad survived a late rally by Hit Brigade to win the 11U Battle at the Turf championship last weekend at Diamond Nation.
Hit Brigade had moved their runner to third on a fly out to right field right before Labrador tightened the screws on a 10-9 victory and the Super 11U’s first tournament title of the spring season.
The Diamond Jacks actually had to survive a three-game gauntlet that included an 11-10 victory over the AA Canes in the final game of pool play and an 11-9 triumph over a typical rugged All-Out Baseball team in the semifinals.
“We were very fortunate to come out on the winning end in all three of those games, let alone one,” said Super 11U coach Mark Crawford. “It wasn’t like there was bad pitching or fielding by any of the teams. All the teams we played had really good bats. They turned into slugfests.”
It was no secret that Hit Brigade, a talented team from Bronxville, N.Y., came into the final on a head of steam and the Diamond Jacks certainly knew what they were up against.
“Once we saw them beat All-Out in pool play, we pretty much knew they were a very good team,” said Crawford.
Labrador and Alex Famolari (2 doubles) each drove in three runs in the championship game and teammates Drew Hartong (2 RBI), Danny Continialo (RBI) and Josiah Sharpe (RBI) chipped in, too. Labrador closed out the final three innings, permitted four runs, but only one was earned, struck out four and walked none.
Oliver Aridi had a terrific tournament both at the plate and on the mound. He entered the game in the semifinals to get outs in a big spot. Aridi was named the 11U tournament Most Valuable Player.
The Diamond Jacks rapped out 11 hits against Hit Brigade in the final. The Diamond Jacks (5-0) outscored their tournament opponents 55-23 and Hit Brigade held a 44-20 runs advantage on its opponents.
“I think we became a team last weekend,” said Crawford. “It was good to see them come together and fend off a rally against them. We had a lot of two-out hits all over the lineup. Hopefully we’ll carry that momentum into our next tournament this weekend.”
The big statement, says Crawford, was that “we never gave up when challenged. We kept battling.”
Diamond Jacks Super 14U, 7, Diamond Jacks Gold 1
The Diamond Jacks Super 14u defeated its Diamond Jacks Gold buddies, 7-1, in the 14U Battle at the Turf championship game. The Super 14U (4-0) outscored its opponents 39-3 and the Gold 14U (4-1) held a 44-17 runs advantage on its opponents.
Diamond Jacks Super 12U 22, RFH Dawgs 0
The Diamond Jacks Super 12U defeated the RFH Dawgs, 22-0, in the 12U Battle at the Turf championship game. Zach Fronio of the Diamond Jacks was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Super 12U (4-0) outscored their opponents 69-1. The RFH Dawgs (2-2) were outscored 37-19 by their opponents.
Diamond Jacks Super 11U 10, Hit Brigade 9
The Diamond Jacks defeated Hit Brigade, 10-9 in the 11U Battle at the Turf championship game. Oliver Aridi of the Diamond Jacks was named the tournament Most Valuable Player. The Diamond Jacks (5-0) outscored their tournament opponents 55-23 and Hit Brigade (3-1) held a 44-20 runs advantage on its opponents.
Southern Maine River Rats 10, HV Elite 5
The Southern Maine River Rats defeated HV Elite, 10-5, in the 10U Battle at the Turf championship game. Southern Maine (3-1) outscored its opponents 48-16 and HV Elite (3-1) held a 37-15 runs advantage on its opponents.
AA Canes 18, Monroe Falcons 8
The AA Canes defeated the Monroe Falcons, 18-8 in the 9U Battle at the Turf championship game. Gavin Bowman of the Canes was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Canes (3-1) outscored their opponents 55-29. The Falcons (3-1) held a 52-24 runs advantage on their opponents.