East Coast Cannons batter Matt Waters stands in at the dish.
By Will Harrigan
Sean Chekmayan is refreshingly candid about what the East Coast Cannons 13U baseball squad is all about.
“It’s three dads who love baseball, and we have our kids and their friends to make up our team,” said Chekmayan of his simplistic approach to assembling a baseball program.
And in fact, this weekend’s Summer Finale event marked the first time the Cannons have ever tested their abilities at Diamond Nation.
They won’t be leaving without one statement victory in tow, at the very least.
Taking advantage of what was given to them by the Jersey Shore-based Raiders Baseball club, the Cannons rolled to a 13-0 victory in Pool C action on Saturday morning. Now 1-1, East Coast Cannons will have the opportunity to advance to the playoffs in its Sunday morning tilt vs. Hudson Valley Bulldogs, as it is a winner take all contest.
Raiders Baseball Club fell to 0-2 with the defeat.
The way the four-run first inning went for the Cannons symbolized the entire game essentially.
A one-out single by Brody Love got things started, and Love would immediately steal second and third base. Those two swipes were the first of some 18 stolen bases by the Cannons in this one. An ill-timed balk would allow Love to score, all coming with Ryan Steinberg at the dish.
Steinberg and Matthew Mianulli each walked, and, after a stolen base for each, came around to score when Matt Waters started his 3-for-4 rampage with a two-RBI single to center.
Brody Rick’s RBI double, remarkably the only extra base hit recorded by the Cannons, scored Waters to cap off the fourth inning.
“We kind of took what was given to us. We had a lot of guys walk and a single was all we needed in some spots. A lot of guys came up with clutch hits to help us out,” said Chekmayan.
The combination of walks and stolen bases worked again in the second, as Love and Mianulli each drew free passes and swiped a bag to start things.
Love would again score on a balk charged to the Raiders pitcher. Then, Mianulli and Waters came around to score when a misplay on a Waters single ended up at the outfield wall, scoring both to run the lead to 7-0.
A groundout by Mianulli pushed Steinberg across in the fourth, and Waters added the ninth run following an error that came after his third hit of the day.
Meanwhile, Cannons starter Max Spector tossed three innings of shutout ball to get the Cannons bats’ back up at the dish.
The Raiders would load the bases with no one out in the frame, as that little spurt included base hits by Evan Haelig and Joe Henn. Henn’s base hit in the seventh was the only other hit by the Red Bank-based club.
Spector would get out of that pickle by impressively striking out the side, and he’d make way for Waters in the game’s final two innings to close the deal.
“Both of them did exactly what we wanted. Just get ahead in counts and pound the zone. It’s all we needed today,” Shekmayan said.
Mianulli singled in a run and a walk drawn by Joe Doherty also brought in a run as part of a five-run fifth that gave the winners extra insurance.