Dinoff, in high stakes situation, seals deal for Power 5

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 4, 2022

John Forte of Power 5 Baseball takes a lead off of first base in Blue Chip Prospects.

By Will Harrigan

Matt Dinoff stepped into a less than ideal situation on Wednesday afternoon.

Well, that’s how most people would look at it when coming into pitch with your team nursing a one run lead, and having to retire the side with two men already in scoring position.

Dinoff, on the other hand, embraces that kind of pressure. And to his credit, he went out there and backed it up.

Setting down three batters in a row to close the deal in a pressure situation, Dinoff’s clutch save propelled Power 5 Baseball to a 5-4 victory over Morris County Cubs 17U in the Blue Chip Prospects showcase at Diamond Nation. With the victory, Power 5 improved to 2-0 in the event, while the Cubs fell in their tournament opener.

“I embrace pitching in pressure situations, and I’m glad I got the chance to come in today,” Dinoff said. “As I got each out I was feeling better and better about our chances to win.”

Andrew Haussman and Nick Struble singled and doubled, respectively, for the Cubs to mount their late comeback rally in that final sixth inning. Power 5 turned to Dinoff – a big 6’3 right-hander out of Nyack (NY) High – to close out the game, and he began that quest by striking out clean-up batter Mac Curcio for the first out.

Dinoff then got ahead of Ryan Wehrle and struck him out looking on a 1-2 curveball to set two aside. Dinoff induced a fly ball to right off Jared Maher to close the job and seal the victory.

“Just by looking at him, Matt lowered my blood pressure. He’s so cool and collected that I knew he was the right guy for that spot,” said Power 5 assistant coach Andrew Parise. “He was always in control of the count and that allowed him to execute his pitches.”

An inning earlier, Nutley’s Derek Lanza singled in a run to even things up at 4-4, and River Dell’s John Forte would ground in the go-ahead run a batter later. Those plays scored Brandon Lucia and Will Kerin, who started the inning by singling and getting struck by a pitch, respectively.

Morris County Cubs 17U pitcher Sebastian Holl follows through on a pitch on Wednesday.

Forte would drive in the winner\s’ first run in the third, but it was an absolutely crushing error that really hurt the Cubs.

Power 5 had the bases loaded, but with two men out and Sebastian Rivas facing two strikes, a pickoff attempt at first base wound up by the foul pole, allowing David Tucker and Forte to score a pair of painful runs as the mishap gave Power 5 a 3-2 lead.

In the second, Tyler Kopec’s triple into the right-center field gap helped get the Cubs off to a 2-0 lead. The Morris County-based squad would reclaim the lead at 4-3 in the fourth, when Liam Gallagher singled in a run.

On that same play, a Power 5 outfielder misplayed a ball, allowing Wehrle to come around and score as well.

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