Cameron Glovas and Ryan Jezorski spearheaded a 16-hit attack by the Diamond Jacks Super 11U.
By Rich Bevensee
Aggressive in the zone.
It’s a simple enough baseball mantra for hitters to follow, but for young ballplayers, it’s easier said than done, for there’s always a high pitch they can’t wait to tomahawk and a low delivery most experienced players couldn’t hit with a golfer’s pitching wedge.
Diamond Jacks Super 11U coach Jairo Labrador thinks his players not only have a handle on the expression but the patience to make it work. Constant preaching and endless reps have made it part of their baseball DNA.
The Super 11U made their coach look good on Saturday in the Williams Harley Davidson Tournament at Diamond Nation in Flemington. Nine of their 12 batters accounted for 16 hits – five for extra bases – and half of those 16 hits knocked in runs in a four-inning, 14-1 decision over the RedBlacks of Staten Island.
“When the coach says be aggressive in the zone, he means if you see that first pitch fastball over the plate, crush it,” said Jason Sporer, who slammed a pair of doubles in his two at bats. “If it’s a curveball, sit back and foul it off and wait for the fastball and turn on it. When we practice hitting we go high pitch on the tee, and we go low and away to practice taking it that way.”
The Super 11U were to play two more pool games before the playoffs begin on Sunday – against Powerballers Baseball of Northampton County, Pa., on Saturday and the Hudson Valley Renegades of New York on Sunday.
The RedBlacks were to face the Renegades on Saturday evening and the Powerballers on Sunday in pool play.
The Super 11s conducted their offensive business as if it were contagious. After scratching out a run in the bottom of the first inning, the Diamond Jacks sent eight batters to the plate in the second, an attack which began with back-to-back doubles by Sporer and Rich Griswold, and scored five runs on four hits.
The bottom of the third resembled an assembly line – hit after hit after hit. The Super 11s began the frame with eight straight hits, including doubles by Ryan Jezorwski and Sporer, and hung eight more runs on the RedBlacks.
“We take pride in hitting as a program,” Labrador said, “and all the coaches teach them to work at it and have an approach. If a guy’s slow, if a guy’s fast, the approach doesn’t change. We’re working toward hitting into the big part of the field and getting the bat through the zone.”
Nico Comiskey was the beneficiary of all this offense. He pitched 3 ⅔ innings, allowing one hit and four walks with four strikeouts.
Comiskey got off to a rough start, surrendering walks to three of the first four RedBlacks in the top of the first inning, before striking out the next two to escape further trouble. Justin Gano reached on a fielder’s choice and eventually scored on an outfield error.
But Comiskey righted the ship, permitting one hit and one walk the rest of the way before handing off to Logan Koziupa for the last out.
“I was taking more of a grip on the ball – I made it tighter so my fingers were more spaced out and it made it rotate more – and I started pushing off the rubber a little harder,” Comiskey said. “Once I did that I tried to focus on getting the ball in the strike zone and letting my defense work behind me because I know they’ll take care of the ball and get outs for me.”
The Super 11U tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first when Jezorwski singled, stole second and third and scored on a Cameron Glovas’ RBI single up the middle.
Then came the Jacks’ offensive avalanche. In the second, following consecutive doubles by Sporer and Griswold, Grayson Babich was hit by the pitch and Harry Kusant drove in Griswold and Babich with a two-run single to center. After Koziupa walked, Fenton Morrissey drove in Kusant and Koziupa with a two-run double to right center.
The Super 11s’ eight-run third was the lethal blow. In order, it went as follows: Matias Pelaez single, Jezorwski RBI double, Glovas RBI single, Dylan Brito RBI single, Sporer ground-rule double, Griswold RBI single, Andrew Finarelli RBI single. All seven players scored. And if that wasn’t enough, Comiskey walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch.