Charlie Garjulo of Frozen Ropes Rockies watches as Ryan Kessler of the Jersey Boyz charges after a bunt attempt.
By Will Harrigan
Coming from the Hudson Valley, the Frozen Ropes Rockies are very reminiscent of a good high school baseball team.
The squad has efficient pitching, plays good defense, and has a big bopper in their lineup with a solid supporting cast around him.
That all materialized on Wednesday afternoon, as the Rockies used all of the above to take a 7-4 victory over Jersey Boyz Baseball in sweltering heat at Diamond Nation. The Rockies are now 2-0 in 18U Diamond Nation World Series action, while the Jersey Boyz fell to 2-1 in the tournament with the defeat.
Hurd – who plays his high school ball for Warwick Valley (NY), just over the New Jersey state line – was a one-man wrecking crew for the winners, going 2-for-2 with a double and triple, two-RBIs, and a walk.
“Josh has been the best player I’ve coached since he was five years old,” said Rockies coach Denis McLaughlin. “He’s the staple of our lineup and he has been crushing the ball all summer.”
The biggest blow delivered by the Rockies came in the fourth, where Hurd’s two-RBI double played a part in putting up a five-spot and the game out of reach.
The first run of the inning came without the Rockies putting the ball in play. Mike Cancellore was struck by a pitch, which was followed by walks drawn by Dan Moccio and Rocco Tammone to load up the bases.
Two batters later, tenth-batter Nate Scaglione would drive in a run while drawing a walk, moving the Rockies lead to 3-1.
Cornwall (NY) product Thomas Shaw would get up next and lace a single to score a run. Two batters later, following an ill-timed Jersey Boyz error that led to another run, Hurd would rope his double to blow the game wide open and give the Rockies a commanding 7-1 edge.
“That was a big hit by Tommy there. At that point we were still in a close game and he fell behind in the count. To come back and score two runs kind of changed the momentum for good,” McLaughlin said.
An inning earlier, the Rockies took the lead thanks to a few defensive mishaps by the Jersey Boyz.
Charlie Garjulo was struck by a pitch, stole second, and scored on a crushing two-out error on a ground ball hit by Shaw. To make matters worse for the Jersey Boyz, a single off Matt Segali’s bat was followed by another fielding error, scoring Shaw and catapulting the Rockies into a 2-1 lead.
The Jersey Boyz staked out to a 1-0 lead in the second, when rising Westfield junior Thomas Cestero grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Frankie Liggio, who reached on an error.
Scotch Plains’ Jaden Carpien would rope a double in the fifth to try and launch a comeback attempt, but it never came to fruition.