Luke Tyson steals third base for the PA Rebels Maroon in 16U Grand Slam.
By Sean Reilly
Much of the focus of Sunday action at Diamond Nation is centered around playoff games and championships, but there are many other ways that teams can return home happy.
The PA Rebels Maroon 16U are a case in point. They took the field on Sunday morning knowing that a 16U Grand Slam tournament playoff berth was out of reach, but still lined up against Syracuse Sports Zone aware that there was plenty to gain through game action opposite a quality opponent.
Behind a strong pitching effort from left-hander Timmy Fries, the Rebels went back to Pennsylvania with a 9-1 victory that completed a quality 2-1 weekend at ‘The Nation.’
The Rebels opened play with a victory over Outlaws Baseball on Saturday, before falling to the Diamond Jacks Super 16U, the eventual undefeated and unscored upon tournament champ, later in the day.
There was certainly no shame in that outcome, and Sunday brought a solid bounce-back victory.
Jack Pole of Sports Zone 16U is safe on a first-and-third steal of home, as the ball gets loose.
“I hate going home and knowing I lost,” Fries said. “We played really well this weekend. We hit the ball well in the first game. The second game didn’t go our way, and this game we started slow but really picked it up.”
Fries pitched a three-hitter in the game, which ended early after his team scored six times in the bottom of the fifth. He struck out six, and walked none.
“My curveball was starting to work pretty good,” he said. “At first, it wasn’t going as planned, but once I started settling in, it started to work for me. I also went with fastballs to hit the out and inside corners, and sometimes low, depending on their swing.”
The Rebels wasted no time in taking a 1-0 lead. Chase Castro was hit by a pitch leading off the bottom of the first, and on the first three pitches to Zach Ward, he stole second, swiped third and then scored on a wild pitch.
The Rebels added two more runs in the second. Alex Kennedy led off with a single to center and Ryan Simpson followed with a first-pitch single to right field. The next batter flew out to right field, but J.P. Hoffmayer singled to load the bases. Zach Raihall then hit a two-run double deep to the left field corner.
The Sports Zone scored their run in the top of the fifth. Held to one hit at that point, the inning began with consecutive singles to center field by Jack Pole (who advanced on a wild pitch) and Anthony Riccadello. With the runners at first and third, Pole scored on a successfully-executed double steal.
The Rebels ended the game by scoring six times in their half of the fifth.
Raihall (2-for-2) led off with a single, and he also beat a throw to second as Alex Cortes was safe at first on a fielder’s choice. A wild pitch advanced them to second and third.
Cole Antonelli followed with a ground out to second that scored Raihall and sent Cortes to third. Castro was safe on an infield error, but was credited with an RBI since no play was being made on Cortes at the plate.
Ward followed with a walk, and a double steal sent the runners to second and third. Luke Tyson then hit a two-run single to left field, and he advanced to third base when the ball went past the outfielder.
Ryan Metzler was up next, and he tripled to right field, giving the Rebels an 8-1 lead. After a walk and fly out, Owen Jordan ended the game via the eight-run mercy rule with a hard RBI single to left field.
“This was a good weekend,” Rebels coach Eric Miller said. “We went 2-1 facing a really good team yesterday. It was good for the kids to see that type of velocity. We got some good work in.”
“Timmy pitched really well,” he added. “He keeps the ball down and we just have to get him stronger. All of our pitchers are doing really well. We definitely have a good pitching organization.”
“I’m proud of the guys on our team,” Fries said. “It’s a great group of kids.”