Izenman arm, Myers bat guide Rockland Elite Red

By Bob Behre | March 22, 2023

If you hadn’t seen Jake Myers swing the stick before the 12U Spring Invitational championship game, you still may have guessed he had a shot at the tournament’s MVP award.

That’s because he hit the ball so hard in his three trips to the plate in the final —  twice singling and scoring a pair of runs — it got one’s attention. Myers did garner that coveted honor but it took a sturdy and stubborn arm in the final to ensure Rockland Elite Red a happy ending to its weekend.

That right arm belonged to Spencer Izenman, who gave his team four strong innings on a cold evening against a sturdy Diamond Jacks Super 12U lineup. Izenman limited the Diamond Jacks to three runs on four hits, all coming in the fourth inning, struck out two and walked just one to steer Rockland to a 6-4 victory and the tournament’s 12U championship.

Izenman’s hitless three innings to start the game enabled Rockland Elite to get a jump start against the Diamond Jacks in the form of a four-run first inning. Rockland would, in fact, extend the lead to 5-0 in the fourth courtesy of a Myers single and eventual run.

“Spencer showed a lot of composure and did a nice job keeping them off balance,” said Rockland Elite Red coach Kevin Reim of his gritty pitcher.

The difference in the game was best illustrated in the first inning when Rockland struck for its four runs, all unearned, as it leveraged seemingly minor Diamond Jacks miscues. Meanwhile, the Super 12U squad got two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the inning but Izenman stranded them right there.

Mike Monda started the four-run surge in the top of the first for Rockland when he reached on an infield error and stole second. Monda appeared out at second on a strong throw by catcher Harry Politi. Indeed, the umpire called him out initially, but the ball squirted free after the tag and he was properly ruled safe. Monda would eventually score on a fielder’s choice grounder by Hudson Weitz before Logan Cox delivered the big blow, a two-out, two-run double to right-center to lift the lead to 3-0. Myers, who had singled in the middle of the uprising, scored on the double. Liam Guyre capped the rally with another two out hit, an RBI single to right.

Myers led off the fourth with a single to left field, moved to second on Cox’s walk and to third on a fielder’s choice. Diamond Jacks starter Cam Glovas had Izenman struck out for the third out, but the ball was in the dirt and Myers scored as Izenman reached first. Myers seemed to be in the middle of things all weekend.

“I was looking for fastballs all weekend and to drive my teammates in,” said Myers. Asked how many hits he had on the weekend, Myers answered, “I don’t count hits, I count wins.” That number would be five, against zero losses, for Rockland Elite Red.

The Diamond Jacks (4-1) had entered the contest having outscored their first four opponents 41-4 and finally got on the board in the final with a three-run rally in the bottom of the fourth to draw within 5-3.

Leadoff hitter Fenton Morrissey (2-for-2, run) started it with a single through the right side. Morrissey then raced to third base on Nick Stangota’s single to right field. Ryan Jezorwski delivered Morrissey with the Diamond Jacks’ first run on a fielder’s choice bouncer to first base. Cleanup hitter Harry Politi brought Stangota home with a hard single to left before Mason Matis doubled to the gap in left-center to score Politi and shave the Rockland lead to 5-3.

Mond reached second on a mishap with one out in the fifth when the Diamond Jack first baseman lost a throw from shortstop in the setting sun on Field 2. Dylan Kass followed with a single to right-center that scored Monda and extended the Rockland lead to 6-3.

The Diamond Jacks tacked on a run in the fifth in a rally that began with two outs and at the very bottom of the Super 12U lineup. The No. 10 hitter Andrew Finarelli threaded a single through the middle before Nico Comiskey, the No. 11 hitter, followed with a single to right. Finarelli, who had stolen second, raced home on the clutch hit to trim the deficit to 6-4.

Lucas Coseo, who had relieved Izenman to start the fifth, pitched a 1-2-3 sixth to close out the 6-4 victory.

“Jake gives us a lot of energy, drives in runs and makes great plays on defense,” said Reimk of Myersf. Rockland Elite Red outscored its opponents 71-14 in the tournament.

The Diamond Jacks can rue the few minor mistakes it made that contributed to a close loss in the final, but should rather embrace the many positives that lead to a 4-1 weekend and a highly competitive championship game in which they participated.

“It was our first weekend and our guys played really well,” said Super 12U head coach Josh Ake. “We had good at bats and pitched well. We have a great group of young guys who you can see are going to do very well. I’m excited for the rest of the spring.”

Glovas could have gotten out of the first inning clean with a little help but he did find barrels that inning. He really settled in nicely from there and would permit six runs, only one of which was earned, on six hits, struck out four and walked one. Glovas surrendered just two hits after the first inning when he did a fine job changing speeds.

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