Jersey Shore Wildcats first baseman Tyler Heyward steps on first base to close out 7-6 win.
By Sean Reilly
Vincent Garibaldi had an eventful game for the Jersey Shore Wildcats on Saturday morning at the 11U Home Run Classic, Powered By Victus, at Diamond Nation.
He struck out nine batters while pitching the first five innings, and was also hit by pitches twice at the plate before hitting a crucial RBI double to give his team a three-run lead in the bottom of the fifth.
So how did he sum it all up after his team held on in the sixth inning for a 7-6 pool play victory in Hamilton?
“I was just having fun,” Garibaldi said.
Garibaldi’s effort was part of a strong overall team showing which gave the Wildcats a split in their first day of action at the tournament. The win came immediately after a 5-3 loss to the Diamond Jacks Super 11U. Mount Olive, meanwhile, also finished the day with a 1-1 record after beating the Powerballers, 16-11, in their second game.
Mount Olive took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when leadoff man Justin Kay reached on an error, stole second and scored on a hit by Tyler Castillo.
The Wildcats then rallied for three runs after the first two batters were retired in the bottom of the inning. Tyler Heyward doubled, Charlie Mahony walked and Cole Kerstetter hit a first-pitch single to right field to plate the first run. Garibaldi was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Collins Sharkey was safe on an infield hit compounded by an error for an additional run and a 3-1 lead.
Sharkey added another RBI single with two out in the third for a three-run advantage.
Mount Olive got a run back in the fourth when Castillo led off with a triple, and Rocco Gallo followed with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Wildcats scored two runs off wild pitches in the bottom of the fourth, and Mount Olive closed to 6-4 in the fifth after Castillo hit a high pop up that was dropped, allowing two runs to score.
The bottom of the fifth turned out to be very important for the Wildcats. Mahony led off with a single to the third base bag, stole second and moved to third before scoring his third run on Garibaldi’s one-out double to left center for a 7-4 score.
Garibaldi was relieved on the mound in the top of the sixth, which began with a fly out before Mount Olive’s Ruben Rodriguez walked and Bradley Cahili followed with a single. Cahili took second on a throw, with Rodriguez safe at third. Pinch hitter Tanner Bush hit a double to score both, and he took third when the next batter grounded out to second. With the game in the balance, the next batter hit a hard grounder to first baseman Heyward, who fielded the ball cleanly and stepped on the base for the final out.
“Our pitcher, Vincent, did a good job on the mound and gave us a chance to win the ballgame,” said Jersey Shore Wildcats coach Mike Condon. “Defensively, we made the plays we needed to make and offensively we executed one better than the other team. That last run turned out to be really important. The other guys made it a game at the end, which is why we came here.”
“I thought my pitching was good and my teammates did an amazing job,” said Garibaldi. “I was executing my fastballs and had a nice curveball, too. It was a good way to come back after we lost the first game.”