Journeymen rally past Trailblazers in 12U Summer Finale

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 20, 2023

Harper Rowe (with helmet) celebrates with Journeymen teammates after his two-run home run.

By Rich Bevensee

The PAC Journeymen of Rochester, N.Y., began their first Diamond Nation visit of the summer by getting roughed up by another New York team, Hudson Valley Select, 14-4.

After the loss, PAC coach Dave Roth spoke with his team about taking advantage of early-count fastballs, and the message rang clearly for his 12U club.

The Journeymen utilized an eight-run rally – highlighted by RBI doubles from Nash Owczarzak and Jack Rund – in the fourth inning for a come-from-behind 11-7 victory over the Tri-State Trailblazers on Saturday afternoon at the Nation.

Landon Vanorden came on in the fifth to pitch two scoreless innings with no hits, two walks and three strikeouts to earn the victory. 

“We swung at good pitches in the second game,” Roth said. “In the first game we watched a lot of fastballs down the middle, got behind in the count and it wasn’t a good recipe for success.

“We talked about it after the game. We want them to be aggressive and swing. The first two strikes are for them and the third is for the team, so we want them to widen out and protect the plate with two strikes.”

Trailing 7-3 in the bottom of the fourth, Andy Triolo, courtesy running for catcher Cam DeBree, got the rally humming when he stole third and scored on a throwing error. 

Vanorden began the hit parade with an RBI single. Tino Costanza singled up the middle for another run, and Owczarzak’s RBI double tied the game at 7-7. Harper Rowe reached on an outfield error and Owczarzak scored on the play to lift the Journeymen into the lead, 8-7.

Rund added another RBI double and Austin Pulire smacked a two-run single for an 11-7 cushion.

“We were a lot more into it and didn’t give up in the second game,” Owczarzak said. “We just kept chipping away and then we got that big inning. It can turn the whole game around because the momentum switches. We didn’t chase bad pitches and we jumped on fastballs down the middle. That made a big difference.”

The Journeymen were caught off-guard at the outset when the Trailblazers seized a 6-0 lead after their first two at bats.

In the first, Zoe Wood drove an RBI double to right center, Brooke Ploetner had an RBI single, Kirsten Adams scored on an outfield error, and Lily Kwis added her own RBI single.

In the second, Noderer stole home and Ploetner drove in Wood with a single to right for a 6-0 lead.

The Journeymen began chipping away, as Owczarzak said, in the bottom of the second when he hit an RBI double and Rowe crushed a two-run homer to left. 

The Trailblazers added their final run in the third when Wood reached on a two-out outfield error and Sienna Adams scored on the play. 

Wood pitched a scoreless fifth inning by allowing one hit and no walks with three strikeouts. 

For the Journeymen, Pulire, Johnny Tumminelli, Rowe, Colton Ashby and Jayce Baker combined to pitch the first four innings before Vanorden took over.

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