The Frozen Ropes Rockies knew they were in for a battle in the Super 16 Summer Championship final when Gavin Martin rocked a two-run home run over the left field in the top of the first inning for RCBC New Jersey.
Then again, RCBC is no stranger to the Chester, N.Y.-based Frozen Ropes Rockies and the two have certainly squared off plenty of times. So, Frozen Ropes starting pitcher Adam Paperny and his buddies knew it was time to hitch up the baseball pants and go to work. That began with Paperny turning the page and asserting his will on the rugged RCBC New Jersey lineup and ended with the Frozen Ropes’ bats coming to life after a quiet couple innings.
“We play them all the time,” said Frozen Ropes Rockies coach Rich Paltridge. “Our team knows they have to step up.”
Paperny, whose arm would prove so critical throughout the tournament, limited RCBC to those two early runs on five hits, walked two and struck out none. Paperny was named the Super 16U Summer Championship Most Valuable Player.
“I had my location with my fastball,” said Paperny. “My off-speed stuff wasn’t great but I was staying down and out and that was working.”
Frozen Ropes (7-0) climbed back into it with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third during a rally triggered by Frank DeMarro’s leadoff single to left field. Richard Paltride, the Rockies leadoff batter, followed with a ringing RBI triple into the right-center field gap. Brendan Tierney promptly singled to center to tied the game at 2-2.
Paperny was lifted with one out in the fifth inning after Dario Perdomo laced a double to left-center field. “We asked Adam to give us two or three innings and he almost gave us five,” said Frozen Ropes coach Paltridge. “He closed out the semifinal for us and pitched Wednesday.”
Ryan Vollmer greeted reliever Paltridge with a looping single to center field. Perdomo initially held up at second, then raced toward third. Center field Tierney tried to nail Perdomo at third, but the throw got away, allowing Vollmer to take second. It was the first and last mistake by the otherwise airtight Frozen Ropes defense.
Paltridge, pitching to Hunter Rivera with two outs, threw a pitch in the dirt. The pitch went back to the backstop as Perdomo raced toward the plate. Catcher Brendan Douthit retrieved the ball and fired back to the plate where Paltridge was waiting to tag Perdomdo for the third out.
That kept the game knotted at 2-2 with Frozen Rope getting its licks in the bottom of the fifth. It went to work immediately in taking advantage of its good fortune.
It was Paltridge who would lead off and benefit again from some luck as he reached when the pitch he swung at for strike three got away. When Tierney reached on an infield fielding error, Frozen Ropes was in the business. Justin Guilianni and Will Logue followed with consecutive RBI singles — the first to right field the next to left — to give the Rockies their first lead at 4-2.
Paltridge closed it out from there, permitting just a one-out single to Cole Leach in the sixth and a one-out walk to Martin in the seventh. Paltridge shut out RCBC New Jersey over the final 2.2 innings on two hits while striking out two and walking one.
“We’re a hard-nosed team and we make our defensive plays,” said coach Paltridge. “We been pitching well, too.”
RCBC (6-1) used four pitchers to contain the Frozen Ropes offense which outhit the Staten Island-based program 8-6. But RCBC’s pitchers did a good job getting out of trouble as they stranded nine Rockies runners.
RCBC had Paperny in trouble in the first when Anthony Matrone drew a leadoff walk and Chris Corchado followed with a single through the left side. But second baseman Mike Messina turned a grounder his way into a 4-6-3 double play as Matrone took third. Papery looked like he may survive the inning scoreless until Martin launched his shot to left field that just kept on going, easily clearing the fence for a two-run homer.
Kiernan Dehaan drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the sixth and Paperny was hit by a pitch to suddenly put the Rockies in business with no outs. But RCBC would get out of it courtesy of two outstanding defensive plays.
DeMarro popped up a bunt attempt to the right of home plate in foul territory and RCBC catcher Leach made a remarkable diving catch for the first out. First baseman Corchado was crashing on the play and the two nearly collided. Shortstop Micheal Shaffer then charged in on Douthit’s slow grounder and made a beautiful play throwing across his body to first base.
The Frozen Ropes Rockies outscored their tournament opponents 36-9 while RCBC New Jersey held a 44-20 runs advantage on its opponents.