Garcia blast, Hiciano arm pace 5 Tool Player Development

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 11, 2023

Luis Garcia of 5 Tool Player Development is mobbed at the plate after his home run.

By Luis Torres

Luis Garcia said it wasn’t his favorite home run that he’s hit this summer.

Garcia was up to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and was ahead of the count 1-0. He was trying to put a good swing on the upcoming pitch as he tried to get on base any way possible. 

Garcia recognized a breaking ball coming out of the pitcher’s hand early enough that he was able to sit back on it and take a good swing. The ball kept carrying to left field, eventually hitting the top of the netting over the left field wall for a home run.

Even Garcia was shocked the ball went out.

“I thought it was a lineout,” he said. “I did not know it was going to go over.”

He and his teammates were glad it did as Garcia’s home run paced 5 Tool Player Development to a 7-5 win over Santos Baseball in 16U Blue Chip Prospect play on Thursday at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

Garcia ended his day 2-for-2 with three RBI and a walk, with his home run the highlight of his day.

The blast opened the scoring for New York based 5 Tool Player Development.

“It felt good. It’s been two weeks since I hit one. It felt good. It was a good day,” said Garcia, who added that it was his fifth home run of the summer. 

5 Tool Player Development starting pitcher Raul Hiciano spun three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and walking one while striking out four hitters.

Lefty pitcher Raul Hiciano had a terrific start for 5 Tool Player Development.

Hiciano, a left-handed pitcher listed as 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, overpowered Santos Baseball at times with his fastball. Hiciano ran into trouble in the top of the third inning after a leadoff walk to fellow starting pitcher Ryan Doñe. 

Doñe eventually reached third base, but Hiciano was able to strand him at third by retiring the side with a strikeout looking.

“That’s our dog,” 5 Tool Player Development coach Montano said. “He had command of all on his pitches, his slider was falling off the table, his curveball had a 12-6 drop, and he was able to spot his fastball inside and outside when he needed to.”

5 Tool Player Development led 3-0 after three innings, but Santos Baseball tied the game in the fourth inning after Diego Miranda scored on a fielder’s choice and then Christoper Fernandez scored on a wild pitch.

It didn’t take long for 5 Tool Player Development to respond, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Garcia had one of the big knocks in the frame, a two-run single through the left side of the infield, scoring Christian Ogando and Matthew Ronka.

“Luis had a very good day at the plate today,” Montano said. “He showed off his arm in center field and tracked the ball pretty well. And then he got two RBIs after that.”

Ayden Roman went 2-for-3 with an RBI for 5 Tool Player Development, and Dylan De Los Angeles went 2-for-2 with a run scored.

Montano was pleased with his team during the tournament, especially after losing the game before.

“Overall, it’s been a very good week for us,” Montano said.

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