By Sean Reilly
It was only fitting that Jayden Beriguette’s final at-bat on Sunday resulted in a grand slam.
The blast, which capped an eight-run second inning for the Jersey Storm, was his fifth home run during a four-game day, and sent his team to a 12-0 victory over the Diamond Jacks 12U Gold in the championship of the 12U Mother’s Day Classic at Diamond Nation.
Berguetto scattered his other four home runs throughout his team’s compacted day in Flemington, the result of the rainouts on Friday and Saturday.
The North Jersey team, which has already traveled the country this spring, had the offense, depth and power pitching to overcome any adversity along the way. It wound up outscoring its opponents, 52-3, in rolling to the title.
“I knew it was going to be a long day,” Beriguette said. “I was pretty confident we’d play in the championship game. I wasn’t expecting to hit like that, maybe a couple of extra base hits, but it just happened. It was great.”
In the final, the Storm showed their strength right from the start. Starting pitcher Anthony Muaranga was throwing fastballs clocked as high as 74 mph, when most 12U pitchers at Diamond Nation throw in the low-to-mid 50s. He struck out two batters and got the other out on a grounder to first base.
Then, the Storm struck almost immediately in the bottom of the inning, when Michael Alberto led off with a single to right field, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored when No. 2 hitter Colin Raymond smashed a ball off the fence in left field.
The Storm were kept off the scoreboard for the remainder of the inning, but in the top of second, Muaranga walked one and struck out the other three batters.
That set the stage for the eight-run outburst in the bottom of the frame, which included an RBI single by Justin Accosta and bases-loaded walks to Edward Piniero, Jeremy Irazerry and Raymond before Berguetto’s grand slam.
The slugger then pitched the third inning, throwing with speed mostly in the mid-60s, and recorded all three outs via strikeout.
The Storm scored their final three runs in the third. Jack Spitaleri led off with a tomahawk home run to left field, and Irazerry hit a two-run shot beyond the fence in right center with two out.
Alberto then pitched the fourth inning, and struck out the side to clinch the championship.
“These kids have been together the last couple of years, and we’ve got a couple of new additions,” Jersey Storm coach Nigel Archibald said. “We’ve done some traveling for the first time and it’s built them up confidence-wise. We went to Vegas in January, Texas in February and Carolina in March. It just builds.”
The experience and talent also had the Storm ready for the busy day, which culminated with the team presenting flowers to their moms.
“We’re lucky enough to have the depth to be able to do it,” Archibald said of the dominant showing. “Different kids stepped up throughout the day, so it was just amazing.”