Hardy’s pitching, big fourth inning spark Sportika Red in Super 16

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 11, 2023

John Bianculli dives into home plate to score the first run for Sportika Baseball Red.

By Sean Reilly 

Nick Hardy couldn’t have asked for a better start to his summer season.

After a spring pitching for Colts Neck High School, he got the opening night mound assignment for Sportika Baseball 16U Red against Full Count Baseball at the Diamond Nation Super 16 Invitational.

The 5-10, 150-pound right-hander came through by allowing two hits over five innings, as his team gained an 8-1 victory on Friday night in Flemington.

Hardy struck out five, with three walks and one hit batter, who happened to be Full Count’s leadoff man in the top of the first. He also allowed a two-out walk in that inning, but settled into a groove thereafter.

“I’m looking to have more command and have a better mindset of getting ahead of batters,” he said of his summer agenda. “Then I can work in my breaking pitches and get swings and misses. Other than that, everything felt good.”

Sportika scored its first run in the bottom of the third. John Bianculli drew a leadoff walk, stole second and moved to third on a one-out single to left field by Matthew Nuccio. Bianculli scored on a wild pitch with two out.

Sportika then blew the game open with a six-run fourth. The inning started with singles by Adrian Rodriguez and James Zsorey before Dylan Kane walked to load the bases. Jason Cota then rocked a three-run double to right-center field.

After a pitching change and a wild pitch, Anthony Yanick took advantage of the infield playing in by hitting a base hit to right field that delivered Cota for a 5-0 lead. Yanick later scored on a wild pitch, and an error brought in the other run.

Full Count Baseball first baseman Ethan Byrd handles throw to retire Sportika Baseball Red batter. 

Full Count Baseball, which lost a 5-0 game to the Morris County Cubs Navy earlier on Friday, scored its first run of the tournament in fifth. Ian Acevedo hit a one-out double to left field with one out, and he scored when Colin McGeehan hit a high infield pop up that was misjudged and landed for an RBI single.

Sportika scored its final run before the 1:50 play clock expired in the bottom of the sixth, with Matthew Sisco drawing a full-count walk with the bases loaded.

Sportika continued play at the tournament against Clubhouse 2026 Demarini on Saturday night and concluded opposite the Bucks County Generals 2025 on Sunday.

There are no pools or playoffs in this tournament. Instead, the top five finishers from the more than 60 entered will qualify for the Super 16 Top 25 in August at Diamond Nation.

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