Team Boston’s Orlando Emiliano dives back to the bag toward York Revs Brady Grimes.
By Rich Bevensee
Trailing by a run and down to its last out, Team Boston 17U Cabe proved that it could be just as opportunistic with the game in the balance as it was at the outset.
After a Mark McKay walk and a Michael Fabiano single, Ryan Jones bounced back from two prior strikeouts by drilling a 1-2 double into the left-center fielder gap to score both in the top of the seventh inning and ultimately propel Team Boston to a 10-6 victory over York Revs 2023/2024 on the final day of the Super 17 Invitational on Friday at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
Jones’ blow sparked a six-run seventh – again, all with two outs – and spoiled a terrific relief performance by the Revs’ Kamden Sowers, who pitched four shutout innings and got the first two outs in the seventh.
“We’re going home with a win, that’s all that matters,” Team Boston coach Chris Cabe said. “No quit in these guys up here.”
Jones, a rising senior at Bishop Stang in North Dartmouth, Mass., who struggled at the plate this week according to Cabe, struck out looking against Sowers on curveballs in his two at bats prior to the seventh.
“I just tried to think less and make contact, just stay alive, especially down two strikes early,” Jones said. “I knew the curveball was coming. In my last at bat (before the seventh) he threw me the same pitch and I didn’t swing at it, so I knew it was coming and it worked out.”
Jones mirrored the no-quit attitude of his team, which leaped to a 4-0 lead in the opening half inning, only to fall behind 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth.
“After striking out twice, I cleared my mind. That’s it,” Jones said. “It’s easier to say than to do it, and it was pretty tough, but in that situation you just have to flush the last at bat and worry about surviving with two strikes. It’s baseball – everyone has those days. Everyone has to overcome it at some time.”
York went through three pitchers – Sowers, Ty Pridgen and Mark Vottero – in the seventh before they were able to squelch the Team Boston rally.
The Revs scored a single run in the bottom of the seventh on a Camron Gracey RBI single before reliever Jaren Megan slammed the door and allowed Team Boston to drive its caravan north with a 4-1 record.
Team Boston suffered its only loss on Monday in a 2-1 verdict where Sportika 17U National scored both its runs on passed balls. From there, Team Boston pitched three shutouts, blanking Time To Sign Prospects 4-0, Morris County Cubs 17U 10-0, and NY Gothams 2-0.
That’s a 4-1 record despite missing five of its best players due to school still being in session and injuries.
“It’s been a tough week in personnel,” said Cabe, whose team overcame absences by scoring four runs in the first before going scoreless for five innings and then exploding for its decisive seventh inning rally. “We call that a donut sandwich – score four in the first inning and six in the last one. Goes to tell you they didn’t quit.”
The Revs finished their week 0-3-2, tying Morris County Cubs 17U 2-2 and Time To Sign Prospects 3-3, and bowing to NY Gothams 8-0, Sportika 17U National 7-1 and Team Boston.
To complete the two-out, seventh-inning splurge, Jones’ two-run double was followed by a Damon White RBI single, Reuben Siegel and Orlando Emiliano both scored on wild pitches, and Megan forced in another run with a base-loaded walk.
“In the seventh our team did a good job of not swinging at bad pitches out of the zone and just taking our walks,” said Jones, whose team scored six runs on three hits and five walks in the seventh. “Baserunners are key there, especially with two outs. The more traffic the better and it proved to be beneficial.”
The Team Boston rally came on the heels of falling behind 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth when the Revs scored once and the damage could have been much worse. Travis Ohm, Gracey (3-for-4) and Sowers (2–for-4, double) led off the inning with singles to load the bases before Peter Skiadas and Micah Smith hit absolute scorchers which turned into lineouts at second and short.
Charlie Sheerer then gave the Revs their one-run lead on a bases-loaded walk.
Michael Fabiano, who went 6-for-6 with two homers and eight RBI against the Morris County Cubs, 2-for-4 against York and was the only Team Boston hitter to register two hits against Revs pitching.
Team Boston was on the attack from the outset against York starter Noah Costa, the victim of shaky fielding three times over in the first inning. Aiden Hassey reached on an infield throwing error, McKay walked and Fabiano reached on a fielder’s choice as Hassey safely advanced to third on another infield miscue.
Jones then forced in Hassey with a bases-loaded walk. McKay scored on Siegel’s infield bloop which dropped in the middle of three fielders, and Emiliano made York pay by rapping a two-run single to left for a 4-0 Team Boston lead.
York climbed back into the game on the huge shoulders of 6-7, 225-pound first baseman Brady Grimes, who launched a titanic three-run homer to left in the bottom of the third.
The Revs tied the game at 4-4 an inning later when Ohm reached on an infield throwing error and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Megan got the win after pitching the final 1⅓ innings, allowing one run on one hit, one walk and a hit batsman and two strikeouts.
Team Boston starter Aiden Hassey lasted 5⅔ innings and permitted five runs on seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
For the York Revs, Sowers was impenetrable for four-plus innings, striking out eight while allowing just one hit until he got two outs in the seventh. Things went south after that, when he allowed three runs on two hits and a walk.
Pridgen entered for Sowers with two outs in the seventh and didn’t get an out while allowing three runs on one hit and two walks. Vottero pitched the final ⅓ of an inning and had a walk and a strikeout.