Gencarelli’s arm, DiLorenzo’s mad dash steer Baseball U-Philly

By DN WRITING STAFF | May 5, 2024

Mason DiLorenzo of Baseball U-Philly hammered a two-run, inside-the-park home run.

By Rich Bevensee

When the boys from Baseball U PA-Philly 14U get around to reminiscing about their lopsided victory over the Morris County Cubs at Diamond Nation, two things may come to mind.

The hot topic will probably be Mason DiLorenzo’s soggy jaunt around the bases with one shoe. What may get lost in the conversation is how dominant Nico Gencarelli was on the mound. 

Both young men played pivotal roles in Baseball U’s 17-4, four-inning victory over the Cubs on Saturday evening at ‘The Nation’ in Flemington.

DiLorenzo’s two-run, inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the third inning was not the usual product of a speed demon turning a gapper into a homer. 

DiLorenzo, wearing a pair of brand-new New Balance cleats perhaps a bit too big, clubbed a shot into the right-center field gap with two out in the bottom of the third inning during an evening game clouded by light but steady rain. After rounding first, his left shoe came loose and he finished his race around the bases slipping with every stride, nearly wiping out while stepping on third. 

DiLorenzo, who admits he’s not known for his speed, made it safely home and well ahead of the throw to the plate. It was his second homer of the season; his first landed safely over a fence last month.

“When I hit it I’m thinking, ‘Score. Inside the park home run,’” DiLorenzo said. “Just got the shoes and they’re a little big. I thought I was good but I hit first and it came off. My sock was wet and I thought I was gonna fall, honestly. It was slippery running around second.”

The blow provided Baseball U with some laughs in the dugout and a 16-4 lead. DiLorenzo finished with three RBI, after hitting a sacrifice fly in the first inning and earning a bases-loaded walk in the third. 

Gencarelli’s performance offered the more conventional highlight. In his four innings of work he allowed four runs, all unearned, on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts.

It was his second start of the season following a four-inning stint in which he and Baseball U coach Brian Van Schaick agreed was steady but could use improvement. Gencarelli did that Saturday.

“Nico kept hitters off balance, threw strikes and was hitting his spots,” Van Schaick said. “He noticed the players were 6-foot-4 and kept the ball low, and that makes it hard to hit it.”

Jack Anderosky of Baseball U-Philly leads off first while the Cubs’ Ryan Parker holds the bag.

Gencarelli said he mixed his fastball with a changeup and curve when he was ahead in the count.

“The first (outing) was a little hard,” Gencarelli said. “In the first one I had a lot of walks. Today I didn’t do anything different, I just threw strikes.”

The offensive output for Baseball U maintained the same production the team has enjoyed coming out of the gate. Van Schaick’s crew went 3-1 in a USABL event three weeks ago, and won an Elite Championship Tournament Baseball event last week by going 4-1 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 

“They keep adjusting no matter what and they bring the energy every week,” Van Schaick said. 

Baseball U picked up two quick runs in the bottom of the first inning for a 2-0 lead with the DiLorenzo sac fly and when Gencarelli scored on a wild pitch.

The Philadelphia bunch hammered the Cubs for 11 runs in the second inning on three hits, eight walks and three errors. The big at bats in that frame belonged to Sean Morris, who hit a two-run double, and Jackson Dean, who added an RBI single while Baseball U was rolling to a 13-0 lead.

The Cubs got off the mat in the top of the third with four unearned runs. Evan Nilsen and Josiah Graff scored on a two-out infield error, and Jake Wolin made Baseball U regret that error with a two-run triple. 

Baseball U tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the third to polish off the Cubs. Evan Hemlinger scored on an error, DiLorenzo’s mad dash was a two-run homer, and Shane Davis added an RBI single. 

Baseball U was 2-0 going into its final pool play game on Sunday against the Locked In Baseball Expos.

The Cubs, 0-2, were slated to play Complete Game Colonials Blue on Sunday to finish pool play.

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