Gritty Sandlot Baseball 12U shakes off loss with big win

By DN WRITING STAFF | May 26, 2024

Nathan Graff ripped an RBI triple in the third inning for Sandlot 12U.

By Rich Bevensee

The 100-mile drive back home to Scranton, Pa., probably seemed like an eternity for the 12U Sandlot Baseball Academy–Termini ballclub Friday night. 

That’s what lopsided losses can do to an otherwise easy commute.

But what Sandlot coach Nick Termini knew was that his players were resilient enough to bounce back from the difficult defeat Diamond Jacks Gold 12U handed them a day earlier.

Sandlot appeared headed for another tough loss the next day after surrendering six runs in the top of the first inning to the Connecticut Bearcats. Termini and his boys were not fazed.

“We’ve got a funky group of guys,” Termini said. “They’ve come back before so I had faith in them. And it’s the first inning. Stuff happens. And they’re 12. You never know what’s going to happen.”

What happened next is that Termini’s faith was justified. Led by Brayden Boyarsky and Jack Kelly, Sandlot scored 13 unanswered runs over the second and third innings and held the Bearcats scoreless after the first inning in a 13-6 victory at the 12U Memorial Day Classic at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

“Everyone was really mad about how the last game went,” Kelly said about losing 14-2 to the Diamond Jacks on Friday night. “The difference today was fielding. One hundred percent. Our defense was not as good as it could be in the Diamond Jacks game. We did well hitting but we did not do well in the field. A couple errors held us down and the score was holding us back from our full potential.”

Boyarsky, who allowed six runs on three hits and three walks in the first inning, was impenetrable for the rest of the game. He pitched three scoreless innings over which he permitted just two hits and one walk. 

“After the first inning I wanted to throw my helmet, I was so frustrated,” Boyarsky said. “But I’ve been in that situation before, and I still had to throw strikes, so I had to take some deep breaths and relax.” 

Termini said the Sandlot bunch took their comeback cues from Boyarsky, in whom he has the utmost confidence to figure out how to make in-game corrections. 

“Normally he’s of the mindset to throw strikes and let your infield do the job,” Termini said. “They make errors from time to time but you have to keep coming back. That’s what we try to drill into them – throw strikes and let the outfield and infield do the rest. He’s got a good mentality of letting everything go into the past. New batter, new pitch.”

Sandlot, led by Kelly’s three RBI, took over the game with a seven-run second inning, in which it sent 13 batters to the plate and built its rally on three hits, six walks and an error. 

Kelly and Nathan Graff had RBI singles in the inning, and Brayden Egner, Noah Bermudez and Kelly drew consecutive bases-loaded walks to give Sandlot a 7-6 lead. 

The third inning was more of the same for Sandlot, as 12 batters accounted for six runs on four hits and five walks. Graff had an RBI triple, Corey Trichillo had an RBI double, Kelly and Brennan Mitchell earned bases-loaded walks, and Peyton Naniewicz and Mickey Baracaia had consecutive RBI singles. 

“In the first inning we made some errors but in the second inning we started to play baseball again,” Boyarsky said. “I’m very proud of myself and my teammates for doing that. We started to play like our actual selves, like how we’re supposed to play.”

“Our mentality was a lot better today,” Termini said. “On Friday we kind of showed up lazy because it got into their heads that the Diamond Jacks were a good team. Today was just a different mindset. We told them to play baseball. Don’t make it too mechanical.”

The Bearcats hail from East Haddam, Conn., and train at “The Mill” in neighboring Moodus. 

In the Bearcats’ half of the first inning, leadoff hitter Owen Murphy scored on a wild pitch before his teammates began to bang the ball around the yard for a 6-0 lead. 

Julien Natelle had an RBI single, Casey Donat blooped a two-run double, and Jack Ploski sent an RBI grounds rule double over the right field fence before scoring two batters later on an infield error.

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Comments 2

  1. That was a terrific comeback and win! What a nice article. Nate Graff did great and we are very proud of him.

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