The fall season is a transition period for players as they move up an age group and try to make the necessary adjustments. It also can take a few games for a team to learn where it stands in relation to the competition.
The Diamond Jacks Super 12U squad — just days prior operating us the Super 11U team — shook off any and all of those concerns on the way to the 12U Fall Classic championship last weekend at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
“It was a well-played tournament,” said Super 12U coach Chris Suseck. “And the final was a great game.” The Diamond Jacks used the long ball to wrest control of its 5-2 championship game victory over Spring Prodigy and benefited from the outstanding pitching of righthander Peyton Keller.
Keller pitched five strong innings, allowing one earned run, while the Super 12U was building a 5-2 lead over Spring Prodigy. The Diamond Jacks got on the board first via Stefano DiGeronimo’s RBI single before Anthony Huaranga’s three-run home run broke things open a bit in the fourth. Huaranga’s blast staked the Diamond Jacks to a 4-0 lead.
“Peyton’s fastball was dominant and he was throwing strikes,” said Suseck. “That was important because they got back in it and it became a one or two play game.”
The right-handed Huarang came in to close out Spring Prodigy in the sixth and soon found himself in a two-on, no-out jam. Spring Prodigy had suddenly brought the potential tying run to the plate. But that one big play Suseck talked about would go the Diamond Jacks’ way.
Huarang got a strikeout for the first out and catcher Jackson Lewis immediately gunned down the runner straying off of second base for a quick second out.
“That strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out was huge,” said Suseck. “Jackson got his throw in behind the runner and picked him.”
The Diamond Jacks (4-0) outscored their first three opponents in the tournament 33-9 with a lethal combination of quality pitching and hot bats. Justin “Hoosta” Labrador, who would be named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Justin Perez and Huaranga provided some thunder at the plate. Suseck called Perez a sparkplug for his speed and base-stealing ability. And said, “Hoosta hit well throughout the tournament.”
Righhander Jake Masterson picked up the win in the Diamond Jacks’ 10-2 tournament-opening victory over Reapers Baseball Club. After the Diamond Jacks cruised to 13-5 victory over Northeast Titans Blue, Nehemiah Diaz nailed down a 10-2 victory over Lincroft Lightning that ultimately sent the Super 12U squad to the championship game.
“Diaz really threw well against Lincroft,” said Suseck.
Spring Prodigy went 3-1 in the 12U Fall Classic, outscoring its opponents 31-12. The Diamond Jacks are back at it in the Super 12 Fall Invitational at Diamond Nation on Sept 25-27.