Sandro Salomone and Neo Diaz each ripped four home runs to steer the Diamond Jacks Super 12U squad to the 12U August Showdown championship at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
Salomone and Diaz shared the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award as each seemed to be in the middle of every rally as the Super 12U outscored its four tournament opponents 61-8.
The Diamond Jacks rocked four home runs in the championship game, capping their tournament run with an 18-2 victory over the BC Cyclones. Salomone hit two home runs and drove in five runs, Anthony Huaranga went 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBI, Nick Do chipped in with two hits and two RBI and Stefano DiGeronimo blasted a home run.
Mike Meyers picked up the win and nearly tossed a shutout, but surrendered a two-run home run in the third inning.
The Diamond Jacks Super 12U finished its season at 52-14 and smacked a total of 109 home runs. The August Showdown championship run included victories over Intensity Baseball 12U, 9-1, PBI Eagles, 18-0 and Tri-State Arsenal NAC, 16-5.
“We never really had a big arm this season, but our defense was unbelievable,” said Super 12U coach Mark Crawford, “which is good because that will translate to the bigger field next year.”
The Diamond Jacks staff was certainly efficient in the August Showdown. Tommy Denvir pitched a tidy six-hitter in the Diamond Jacks’ tournament opening victory over Intensity Baseball, striking out seven and walking just one in the five-inning game. He had plenty of offensive support from the Super 12U’s rugged lineup.
Diaz and DeGeronimo each went 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBI and Salomone also launched one deep.
Diaz tossed a one-hit shutout and struck out three against PBI Eagles to move the Diamond Jacks to 2-0 in the tournament. Diaz also had a big game at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two solo home runs. Do and Salomone each had two hits and two RBI, Denvir was 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and Jacob Lilienthal unloaded a home run.
Do then had the unenviable task of trying to contain the deep Tri-State Arsenal lineup that entered the game against the Diamond Jacks at 2-0 and having outscored its two opponents 22-3. But Do battled gamely, permitting five runs on four hits over four innings while striking out six and walking four.
His teammates, meanwhile, unleashed the metal, hitting three more home runs and scoring 16 runs. Diaz had two hits, including a home run, and drove in two runs. Salomone and Hoosta Labrador each homered and Meyers, Lilienthal and Huaranga chipped in with a pair of hits apiece.
That all set up the Diamond Jacks Super 12U for its rousing success in the championship game.
“We got better and better as the season went along,” said Crawford, “especially defensively. They just challenged themselves more. They’d make a play and become more aggressive, thinking they could make every play.”
The Super 12U finished the season with five players in double digits in home runs, including Labrador’s team-leading 23 home runs. The team boasted a .952 fielding percentage.
While the goal of the 12 year old season is steady improvement, built around hard work, the underlying aim is to prepare each player for the jump to the big field as 13 year olds.
“They are ready,” says Crawford.