Tate Segel slides back to first base ahead of pick off throw for the Locked In Baseball Expos.
By Sean Reilly
Switching his bat between games on Saturday morning certainly made a difference for Kellan Jones.
Jones, the leadoff man for the Central Jersey Rebels, struck out three times without getting on base when his team opened play at the Diamond Nation 10U Fall Brawl with a 12-4 victory over the NY Prospects in Flemington.
The Rebels came right back on Field 2 at ‘The Nation’ to face the Locked In Baseball Expos. And armed with a different bat, his regular gamer, Jones went 3-for-3 with a walk and three RBI as his hard-hitting team gained a 16-8 win.
“In the first game I wasn’t using my real bat,” he said. “But I was using my actual bat in the second game, and I started hitting it. It was too cold to use it in the first game, because it could have broken when I hit it.”
With its Saturday sweep, the Rebels clinched a first place finish in their four-team pool with one game to spare. They played that game on Sunday morning, dropping a wild 19-18 decision to the Montco Mavericks. The Rebels then fell in the 10U championship game, 9-0, to the EEP Bandits.
The Expos, who began their day with a 13-11 win over Montco, took a 1-0 lead over the Rebels on an infield single by Chris Fassnacht in the top of the first.
The Rebels struck back by scoring four times in the bottom of the frame. Jones got things started by drawing a full-count walk. Logan Saganowski was safe on a fielder’s choice when his grounder resulted in an error at second base in a bid to erase Jones. Vincenzo Schiano fell behind 0-2, but worked out a walk to load the bases.
Blake Matney was safe on a fielder’s choice, with an out recorded at second base, as Jones scored the tying run. Brandon Testa was safe on a fielder’s choice that scored Saganowski with the second run. Owen McWhorter was then safe on an error that brought in the other two runs.
The Rebels ability to make things happen by making contact continued in the third inning, when four more runs increased the lead to 8-1. It started with singles by Testa and McWhorter to put runners on first and second. Weston Brittain, who also pitched the first three innings, reached on an error that scored Testa. Liam Mai walked to load the bases, and Marco Girard had an RBI groundout to first base. After a strikeout, Jones lashed a two-run single to center field for a 8-1 score.
The Expos didn’t quit, as the boys from Morris County scored four in the top of the fourth. Will Kanjo, Tate Segel and Gavin Murano had RBI singles, and the other run scored on an error.
The Rebels got all four runs back in the bottom of the inning. McWhorter delivered the first three with a three-run inside-the-park home run. He had also hit a two-run inside-the-park homer in the earlier game. The other run scored on a two-out base hit from Jones.
The Expos closed to 12-8 in the fifth on a fielder’s choice from Fassnacht and a two-run single by Sam Edgar.
The Rebels ended the game by posting their fourth four-run inning in the bottom of the fifth. Matney’s single was misplayed to score a run, Brittain singled in a run, Mai reached on an error to score another, and Chase Roberts drew a bases-loaded walk to end the game via the eight-run mercy rule.