Double Major goes Double Extras to capture 13U Mother’s Day Classic

By DN WRITING STAFF | May 13, 2024

By Sean Reilly

The name of the team is Double Major Black 13U. 

But on Sunday evening at Diamond Nation, Double Extra Innings would also have been totally acceptable. 

Immediately after it needed nine innings to defeat the Diamond Jacks Super 13U, 5-4, in the semifinals, the South Plainfield-based team met Complete Game Academy in the 13U Mother’s Day Classic final. 

Once again, extra innings were required. And once again, Double Major Black emerged a 5-4, nine-inning winner. 

The final was as well played a game as you’ll see at ‘The Nation.’ In fact, there was still a minute remaining on the 1:50 play clock even though the game was long past the seventh inning. 

Extra inning games, which are reserved for playoff contests, are a rarity at the Flemington facility. And given that each frame begins with the bases loaded and one out, there’s usually drama. 

That was certainly the case in the championship clash on Field 1. After both teams scored twice in the eighth inning, Double Major pitcher Erik Finne struck out both Complete Game Academy batters in the top of the ninth. 

In the bottom of the inning, Jackson Brosonski was the runner on third with Cruz Valente at the plate. A wild pitch resulted in Brosonski racing home with the winning run. 

“I was running as hard as I could,” he said. “A wild pitch was the one thing I was thinking out there. It felt nice. It was a relief. A lot of relief.” 

The game featured exceptional pitching and defensive plays from both sides through the seven innings which ended in a 2-2 tie. 

Justin Monterosso pitched the first 4.2 innings for Double Major Black, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits (all in the second inning). He struck out one and walked two. Finne pitched the remaining 4.1, allowing two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. 

The two pitchers shared tournament MVP honors for Double Major Black, which ended the tournament 5-0 with a 31-10 run difference. 

The efforts were matched by Alekai Nonthakan, who went the first seven innings for Complete Game Academy. Nonthakan allowed two runs (both in the first inning) on six hits, with one strikeout and three walks for the Lancaster, Pa. team. 

Complete Game Academy, which went 4-1 on the weekend, used the tiebreaker to score twice for a 4-2 lead in the top of the eighth. Joseph Hennesy lined a 0-1 pitch into right-center field to deliver two runs. Fenne struck out the next two batters. 

In the bottom of the inning, Double Major’s first batter was Tyler Shea, who drew a run-scoring walk. Brosonski followed with a ground ball to second that forced out Shea at second, but allowed Finne to score the tying run.

Double Major scored its first two runs in the bottom of the first. Jack Byers and Monterusso hit consecutive singles with one out, and both scored on errors. 

Complete Game Academy closed to 2-1 when Tate Lutz grounded an RBI single past the pitcher’s mound with two out in the third, and tied it when Lutz grounded out to shortstop to deliver Hennesy in the fifth. 

Monterosso and Finne were ecstatic that their pitching efforts resulted in a hard-earned championship.

“I had to go in there, throw some strikes and strike them out,” Finne said. “With the pressure of the tiebreaker, I felt like I was in MLB. I just had to do my thing. To pull off two walk-off wins, it was amazing.” 

“I was trying to stay calm and throw strikes,” Monterosso said. “I had to stay on my game, stay focused and stay confident. The defense also played well. It was intense, but we played our game and it worked out in our favor.” 

Double Major Black beat the Diamond Jacks when Chase DeSevo dropped down a successful bunt to score the winning run as the first batter in the bottom of the ninth. 

“They dug deep and found a way to pull it out,” said Double Major Black coach Carlos Ruiz. “We had some big-time performances out of our arms to keep us in the games, and they showed how resilient they are and how tough they can be. That was a big-league double dip right there. They played 18 innings of baseball, and they pulled it out.”

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