Jacob Gordon was the NJ Titans’ leading hitter Friday night with a triple and single.
By Rich Bevensee
To know Diamond Jacks 16U Gold baseball coach Chris Brown is to know that he praises and critiques his players with the same controlled, measured tone in his voice.
It’s like he has a built-in restrictor plate on his excitement and anger.
But everyone has their limits. When the 15U New Jersey Titans were in the midst of a second-inning rally which saw the D-Jacks commit an error and fail to execute a fairly simple double play – perhaps playing without a sense of urgency – Brown had seen enough. Out came the uncharacteristic full-throated scream from the Diamond Jacks dugout:
Whether it was the volume of his voice or the shock of him screaming at all, Brown shook his players out of their funk. The Diamond Jacks defense allowed one run over the next four innings and rallied from behind for an 11-5 victory in a Slugfest 16U pool play game on Friday evening at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
“I was telling my team to get ready,” Brown said with a smirk, not wanting to expand on how frustrated he really was. “They’re learning. They’re teenagers, 15- and 16-year old kids learning this game. It takes an unbelievable amount of focus every single pitch, and you can’t take a pitch off. So it was me letting them know they have to focus on every single pitch.”
It was a good bounce-back win for the Diamond Jacks, who lost, 6-4, to Wladyka American in the first game of their Friday doubleheader. The Diamond Jacks, who trailed 6-1 entering the sixth inning of their opener, rallied for three runs but left the tying runs stranded on second and third.
The Diamond Jacks completed pool play with a 9-7 victory over ASBA Futures Navy on Saturday night.
The Titans, which lost to ASBA Futures Navy 14-5 earlier on Friday, defeated Wladyka American, 14-8, on Saturday night.
In their win over the Titans, the Diamond Jacks were led by Brian Quabeck, who went 2-for-3 with a three-run triple and a single, and leadoff man Chase Koplitz, who had a two-run double.
Koplitz said the team learned its lesson from the first game and applied what they learned to their win over the Titans, scoring all 11 runs in the first three innings.
“We really noticed how we shouldn’t be waiting in the count,” said Koplitz, a sophomore at Somerville. “We should be attacking earlier and staying through the middle of the field and picking up extra bases when we can and playing good, fundamental baseball.”
Diamond Jacks starter Noah Mednick allowed five runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts in 3⅓ innings. Mike Brunetti pitched 2⅔ scoreless innings in relief of Mednick while allowing just one hit and two walks with two strikeouts.
The Titans were led by Jacob Gordon, a junior at Franklin who belted a two-run double and a single. Anthony Tomei went 2-for-2.
Titans starter Andrew Csordos was roughed up for 11 runs (10 earned) on seven hits and five walks with four strikeouts. Relief man Owen Judge pitched admirably, chalking up two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and struck out three.
The game featured three lead changes through the first two innings.
The Titans jumped on top with Gordon’s two-run double which struck the left field fence. The Diamond Jacks responded by taking a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the first via Quabeck’s three-run triple.
The top of the second inning is what triggered Brown’s ire, as the Titans tacked on two more runs for a 4-3 lead. Justin Culver had a fielder’s choice RBI and Adrian Sanchez added an RBI single through the left side. Mednick recovered to escape the inning with the bases loaded.
Koplitz’ two-run double was the big blow in the Diamond Jacks’ four-run second inning, which began with the bases loaded and no outs. Nolan Fuller added an RBI bloop single behind second and Owen Melchione had a fielder’s choice RBI for a 7-4 lead.
The Diamond Jacks added four more in the third inning. Quabeck singled and eventually scored on an error on Justin Silvius’ grounder. John Palermo had an RBI single, Ryan Ciesla had a groundout RBI, and Will Macken followed with another RBI single.