Miles Capobianco of Northeast Pride ’21 zones in a pitch from Christo Garrelts.
Christo Garrelts fixed a mechanical issue that got him into some trouble in the first inning and tamed a strong Northeast Pride ‘21 Select lineup, 2-0, in a four-hitter as The Clubhouse won for the third time in Blue Chip Prospect pool play at Diamond Nation on Thursday.
Garrelts, a 6-3, 190-pound righthander committed to Elon University, struck out nine and walked four and really had little trouble after getting his rhythm in order after a mound visit from his coach in the first inning.
“I was pushing the ball,” said Garrelts. “I wasn’t using my full arm in my windup. I was short-arming it.”
Garrelts had surrendered a one-out double to the Pride’s Nick Montagnese and a single to Christian Mingione that put runners on the corners. He then plucked Marc Milano to load the bases. That’s when Garrelts received a visit and some quick instruction on what was askew.
Max Haberman then hit a hard grounder toward the middle of the diamond but second baseman Luke Fisher was there, stepped on second and fired to first for an inning-ending double play. Having averted a big inning, Garrelts went to work fixing his mechanical quirk.
“I did some work in the bullpen during our at bat,” said Garrelts. “I threw a couple pitches and felt better after that.”
He also pitched better, striking out three batters in the second and two each in the third and fourth innings to wrest control of the game. The Clubhouse improved to 3-1 in pool play, having lost only to the Diamond Jacks Super 17U, 6-5, on Monday.
Meanwhile, Northeast Pride’s starter, lefthander Ryan Ebright, was containing The Clubhouse lineup despite getting in and out of trouble through the first four innings.
The Clubhouse actually stole both of its runs, the first coming in the third inning. Michael Hernandez drew a two-out walk and Tyler Kipp followed with a single to left field. Kipp took off for second on a steal attempt with Cam Maldonado at the plate and Pride catcher Connor Sullivan fired down. Kipp was safe as Hernandez broke from third base. Shortstop Mingione made a nice throw that appeared to beat Hernandez, but Sullivan couldn’t hang onto the ball and The Clubhouse had the first run of the game.
Ebright ran out of gas in the fourth, hitting three straight batters with pitches after one was out. But reliever Mingione got out of it by getting the first batter he faced, Dennis Gamester, to line into an inning-ending double play.
But The Clubhouse manufactured another run in the fifth after Kevin Luke was hit by a pitch leading off the inning. Jackson Ferrigno dropped down a nice sac bunt to move Luke to second base and Hernandez flew out deep enough to center field to allow Luke to scoot over to third. Then, with Maldonado at the plate again, Mingione uncorked a wild pitch and Luke barely beat the tag at the plate for a 2-0 lead.
Miles Capobianco drew a one-out walk and promptly stole second in the sixth for Northeast Pride but Garrelts was still churning and got the next two batters to secure the victory.
“My four-seam fastball was working best today,” said Garrelts. “It has a little side run. I was working on my slot today and when I was right I did get some run.”
NOTES: Montagnese went 2-for-3 with a double for Northeast Pride. Mingione (1-for-3) and Carson Neal (1-for-1, walk) had the only other hits for Pride, which fell to 0-3 in tournament play. … Kipp was on base all three trips to the plate, drawing a pair of walks around a single for The Clubhouse. Mercedes had the only other hit for The Clubhouse, which was limited to two hits by Pride pitching. … Ebright permitted one run, which was unearned, on the two hits through 3.1 innings. He struck out two, walked four and hit three batters. Mingione allowed one run on no hits, struck out none, walked one and hit a batter