Complete Performance third baseman Dean Lauricella applies tag on runner trying to steal.
By Sean Reilly
Derek Escobar just turned 16, and has already packed a ton of memories into his baseball career.
Escobar was a third baseman on the Elmora Troopers team from Elizabeth that reached the Little League World Series and finished fourth nationally in Williamsport in 2019. Along the way, he made a play at third base in the Mid-Atlantic Regional that was a Top 10 highlight on ESPN and also showcased on several other outlets.
Last spring, he began his high school career as a freshman at Roselle Catholic, where he debuted by totaling 27 hits and hitting .529.
Throughout the years, he’s also been a regular visitor to Diamond Nation, appearing in many tournaments to help develop his game.
His latest trip to Flemington came on Friday night, when his Full Count Baseball team took on Complete Performance Baseball in the first game for both at the 16U Slugfest tournament.
Escobar didn’t disappoint as the third hitter in the lineup. He went 3-for-3 with two hard-hit doubles, scoring twice and knocking in a run, as Full Count Baseball notched a 7-3 victory.
“I’ve played a lot here,” he said. “Sometimes I do good, and sometimes I might have a bad game.”
Friday was definitely not an off performance.
Escobar helped Full Count Baseball take a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first. After the first batter struck out, Ethan Byrd walked, and Escobar followed with a double to right field which sent Byrd to third.
Damian Ogonowski then singled to right, which scored Byrd and sent Escobar to third. Ian Acevedo then supplied a two-run double to left field.
The score held until the fourth. After the first Full Count Baseball batter popped out to second, Emmanuel Nunez and L.J. Aponte walked. Jason Roser was up next, and he ripped a two-run double to left field for a 5-0 lead.
Full Count Baseball sent up the top of its order in the fifth. Aiden English dropped a single into right field and moved to second on a passed ball. After a strikeout, Escobar unloaded the hardest-hit ball of the game, an arching RBI double that landed near the fence in left center. He crossed over to third on a ground out, and scored when Acevedo reached on an error.
“I’m usually a first-pitch attacker,” Escobar said. “Anything he gave me, I was trying to take it wherever he pitched it. I usually go for the first pitch, because I think he’s trying to get a strike. On the third at-bat, he gave me something a little bit inside. I kind of like that. I got a little bit under it and hit it into the sky, but it still dropped.”
Although he’s experienced much to date, Escobar knows there’s plenty more to accomplish. The current fall campaign is the latest opportunity to do just that.
“I want to try to get on a summer team and try to make some noise for myself,” he said. “I want to get myself out there.”
Full Count Baseball employed several pitchers throughout the game. Complete Performance Baseball found success against the bullpen in the bottom of the sixth and final inning.
The first two batters walked before Joe Pietrunti hit an RBI single. A balk scored another run before Dylan Busanic walked with the bases loaded and two out. With the tying run at the plate, a strikeout by reliever Jamie Tamayo ended the game.