Hot-hitting Jacobson powers Aces to 14U Finch title

By DN WRITING STAFF | April 23, 2024

By Sean Reilly

The most pleasant problem a coaching staff can often face is selecting one player to be most deserving of an individual honor. 

The coaches from Finch’s Aces 14U-Russo could have had that dilemma over the weekend at Diamond Nation, after the team went on an impressive streak to capture the 14U Jennie Finch’s Spring Invitational championship. 

There were strong performances throughout the lineup, but one player went above and beyond to truly earn the tournament MVP award. 

Chloe Jacobson, the team’s catcher and cleanup  hitter, went 14-for-19 in seven games overall and 10-for-12 in the Aces’ four-game playoff run to the championship on Sunday in Flemington.

The capper was a 2-for-3 performance in the final, when even her out drove in a run, as the Aces beat Rip City USA 13U by a 17-0 score in a three-inning game. 

Playing four games during the day, and catching two of them, was clearly not an issue. 

“This was a good day,” she said. “I like a day like this. It was fun.” 

It was an outstanding weekend for Finch’s Aces-Russo, who basically had just one bad inning while going 6-1 with a 68-13 run differential. 

That one unfortunate frame came in the last inning of the opening game of pool play on Saturday, when the Aces allowed five runs in the bottom of the sixth to lose to the Connecticut Polar Crush, 5-4. 

That setback, however, inspired and motivated the Aces for the remainder of the tournament.

“That was tough and it made us want to be able to come back,” Jacobson said. “This is also our second tournament of the spring. We had one last week in Pennsylvania. We played well but lost in the championship.”

Losing two straight games was clearly enough for the Aces. Two lopsided shutout wins followed on Saturday afternoon, earning the team the No. 6 seed in the 20-team playoffs. 

In the playoffs, the Aces defeated the 11th-seeded Toms River Lightning, 6-4, before ousting the third-seeded Montgomery Devils 14U Red, 9-1. The semifinals brought a 6-3 victory over the Delaware Stars, who were seeded seventh. 

In the championship, the Aces were matched with a true upstart in Rip City USA, which hails from Massachusetts. 

Rip City is a 13U team that was playing against older competition throughout the tournament. It resulted in a 0-2-1 record in pool play.

Chloe Jacobson of Finch’s Aces 14U-Russo was named Spring Invitational MVP.

Not only that, Rip City was the 17th seed in the playoffs, which meant it had to win an extra playoff game to reach the main 16-team bracket. 

As a result of it all, Rip City – whose tournament was highlighted by a 9-5 win over the top-seeded NJ Batbusters 14U-Restaino in the Round of 16 – was playing its fifth game of the day by the time it faced the Aces in the 7 p.m. final.

In fact, of all 80 teams who competed at ‘The Nation’ in every age group over the weekend, Rip City was the only team seeded low enough in the playoffs to keep advancing and play an eighth game.

Once there, the team simply ran out of gas against an Aces team that was full of momentum. 

In the bottom of the first, the Aces sent 15 to the plate and scored 11 runs. 

The other six were scored in the second, and pitcher Hannah Jacobson threw a scoreless top of the third to close out the mercy rule win. 

The first three batters in the Aces lineup – Hannah Jacobson, Ava Figalora and Abby Cianfrocca – came to bat three times apiece for a total of nine plate appearances, and wound up scoring in every one. 

Chloe Jacobson reached and scored in two of her three at-bats, with the other being a ground out that scored a run. 

Figalora ended the game 3-for-3, including a two-run hit for an 8-0 lead with one out in the first. 

Hannah Jacobson was 2-for-2 with a walk, Sophia Vanario ended 2-for-2, while Abby Cianfrocca and Kaylee Rolph joined Chloe Jacobson in finishing 2-for-3. 

Taylor King had the lone hit for Rip City USA. 

Since the Aces are currently eighth graders, this is their last spring campaign since next year will begin with high school ball before the travel season kicks in. They want to make the most of it, and the championship made for a great start.

“This is our last year playing in the spring,” Chloe Jacobson said. “So we want to keep playing well.”

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Comments 1

  1. Congrats to Chloe and Hannah..You’re both amazing athletes..It proves hard work produces results..Continued success..Love grandma and grandpa Tom..We love you.

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