Feinstein’s curveball leads Tucci Elite 13U at Father’s Day Classic

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 18, 2023

Tucci Elite 13U pitcher A.J. Feinstein (22) was an easy choice for his team’s game MVP after pitching a one-hitter, hitting a home run and singling home a run.

By Sean Reilly 

When a 13U starting pitcher makes an instant impact at Diamond Nation, it’s usually due to a high-speed fastball. 

A.J. Feinstein was a bit different on Saturday morning upon taking the mound for Tucci Elite 13U against the Locked In Expos 13U Black at the Father’s Day Classic. 

Yes, the left-hander from the Connecticut-based team can throw fast. But what set him apart from the very first batter was a sweeping curve that the Expos batters couldn’t quite master. 

Feinstein, who retired the first 10 batters, pitched a four-inning one-hitter with six strikeouts and two walks, when Tucci Elite gained a 10-0 victory in Flemington. 

Feinstein was also a standout at the plate. He hit a leadoff inside-the-park home run and also an RBI single as part of a nine-run bottom of the fourth that ended the game and gave his team a 1-1 record on the day. 

“My curve is definitely my best pitch,” he said. “I throw it with speed, and then I can hit them with the fastball. It’s a good sequence.”

Tucci Elite 13 baserunner slides back into first base ahead of pickoff throw from Locked In Expos pitcher Shaylen Christian.

He struck out the first two batters in the opening inning, and rolled from there. But in the meantime, the game was a tight one until Tucci Elite blew it open in the fourth. 

The only scoring until that point came in the second inning. Trey Sutter led off for Tucci Elite with a single past third base. He took third when Matthew Fieffe singled to left field on a full count with two out. With Chris O’Donnell at the plate, Fieffe took off for second base, and Sutter stole home before Fieffe was tagged out in a rundown. 

The Expos got their first baserunner when No. 2 batter Joe Lombardo walked on a full count with one out in the fourth. The next batter flew out, and an infield hit from Frank Seretis – past the mound and between the shortstop and second baseman – was followed by a walk to Kyle Devlin. 

With the bases now loaded, the next batter hit a full-count fly to shallow right field near the foul line. It was caught on the run by second-baseman O’Donnell for the third out. 

Feinstein led off the bottom of the inning by hitting a ball to the gap in right center that he hustled into an inside-the-park home run. 

After walks to Sutter and Brody Broems, both scored on a standup triple to right field by Desmond Kady. 

The next batter popped out to second base, but O’Donnell then walked and stole second. The throw resulted in an error that scored Kady for a 5-0 lead and sent O’Donnell to third. The next two batters walked to load the bases, and after a pitching change, a walk to Scooter Seiden forced home the sixth run. 

Feinstein then came up for the second time in the inning, and his RBI base hit to left field made the score 7-0.

The next three batters – Sutter, Broems and Kady – all drew run-scoring walks to end the game. 

It was a much better result for Tucci Elite 13U than its opener earlier on Saturday, a 7-2 loss to the Diamond Jacks Gold 13U. 

“It was definitely great,” Feinstein said. “First game, everyone was low energy. It’s not an excuse, but we played a lot better in this one.” 

The Expos finished the day 0-2. The Morris County team opened play on Saturday with a 13-9 loss to Wladyka American.

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