Two teams that were a step ahead of the 16U Labor Day Blast competition all weekend put on an excellent exhibition of quality baseball last night at Diamond Nation.
Righthander Jaxon Kehoe pitched a complete game four-hitter and Chase Trolaro and Austin Cannon combined for four hits, three runs and two RBI as NJ Glory Select edged an equally game PA Shockers 2024 club, 5-3, in the 16U championship game.
Kehoe permitted three runs, two of which were earned, struck out six, walked one and retired the final 14 batters he faced.
“I got back to my old curveball,” said Kehoe, “throwing it straight over the top with my old grip.” Kehoe said he was tooling with his grip to find a comfort zone for both his curveball and fastball.
He certainly turned the corner late in the top of the second inning after the Shockers had scored twice to cut into what was a 3-0 NJ Glory lead and were threatening more. But Kehoe induced a pair of grounders to get out of the jam and would allow just one hit and an unearned run over the final 5.2 innings.
“I dropped in a couple two-seamers and started using it a lot more,” said Kehoe. “I took a deep breath between pitches and started to get in a rhythm. When that happens I can be unhittable.”
NJ Glory struck first, giving Kehoe an early cushion with a three-run bottom of the first inning. Kehoe led off and walked and Trolaro, who was named the 16U tournament’s Most Valuable Player, singled. Cannon followed with a one-out grounds rule double to left field that scored Kehoe with the game’s first run. Kyle Rogers then quickly boosted the lead to 3-0 with a two-run single to center field.
PA Shockers answered immediately in the bottom of the inning when Grayson Weikel led off with a grounds rule double to right-center field and Cole Serfass chased him home with his double to left. Serfass reached third on Logan Higgins’ single and scored on the back end of a double steal attempt with Higgins, who was thrown out on the play.
The Shockers tied the game at 3-3 in the third. Cooper Nahsin singled to center field with one out and reached third on an infield throwing error. Zach Wendell’s fly ball to center field was deep enough for Nahsin to tag and score the tying run.
Wendell’s sac fly, it turned out, would be the first of 14 straight batters Kehoe would retire.
NJ Glory (6-0) retook the lead in the bottom of the third with a rally that began with Kehoe’s leadoff walk. Trolaro, like he did in the first inning, followed with a single to left. Cannon singled with one out to deliver Kehoe with the go-ahead run. Rogers drew a walk to load the bases before Connor Scanlon’s sac fly to right field scored Trolaro for a 5-3 lead.
PA Shockers starter Kross Howarth and reliever Higgins combined to retire 11 of the final 12 NJ Glory batters they faced. The only NJ Glory batter to reach base in the final 3.2 innings was Joey Giordano, who doubled down the right field line leading off the fourth.
“Jaxon is a baller,” said NJ Glory coach Charlie Giordano of his starter Kehoe. “He was all weekend. When he finds it, he’s unbelievable.” Kehoe struck out four of the final seven batters he faced, including the final batter in the game.
Triloro had a big tournament at the plate from the No. 2 spot in the NJ Glory batting order.
“Chase hits every game,” said Giordano. “And he has great speed that he utilizes on the bases and in center field. He plays great defense and seems to get to all the balls in the gaps.”
The lefty Trolaro, in fact, had five putouts in the final alone and made an incredible sliding grab on a liner to right-center by Weikel with one out in the fourth.
NOTES: Joey Giordano had the unusual experience of leading off two innings with a double and not scoring a run. He doubled to left leading off the second but was nailed on a perfect relay as he tried to stretch the hit into a triple. He then doubled down the right field line leading off the fourth but was stranded as Howarth retired the next three batters in order.
… Shockers first baseman Matt Fattore made an outstanding pick on a throw from third base to help minimize the damage in NJ Glory’s two-run third inning. … Shockers catcher Serfass made a nice grab on a high pop behind the plate for the last out of the fifth. … NJ Glory outscored its opponents 45-7. PA Shockers (5-1) held a 53-9 runs advantage on their opponents.
Labor Day Blast recaps
NY Dynasty defeated the Hudson Valley Renegades, 6-4, in the 12U Labor Day Blast championship game. Tyler Stern of NY Dynasty was named the 12U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. NY Dynasty (4-1) outscored its opponents 40-24. The Renegades (3-2) held a 53-31 runs advantage on their opponents.
MA Show-Delvecchio defeated NY Gothams, 8-0, in the 13U Labor Day Blast championship game. J.J. McLaughlin of MA Show was named the 13U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. MA Show (3-0) outscored its opponents 21-4. NY Gothams (1-2-1) was outscored 27-20.
NY Gothams defeated the Bucks County Generals, 3-1, in the 14U Labor Day Blast championship game. Gus Kirsten of NY Gothams was named the 14U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. NY Gothams (3-2) were outscored by their opponents 18-17. The Generals (4-1) held a 30-17 runs advantage on their opponents.
Blue Claws Baseball
Blue Claws Baseball defeated the Hammonton Stars, 7-6, in the 15U Labor Day Blast championship game. Nick Izzo of the Blue Claws was named the 15U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Blue Claws Baseball (4-1) outscored its opponents 42-17. Hammonton Stars (4-1) held a 45-17 runs advantage on their opponents.
17-18U Wood Bat
Jersey Shore Wildcats
The Jersey Shore Wildcats defeated Baseball Performance Center, 13-3, in the 17-18U Wood Bat Labor Day Blast championship game. Harrison Campi of the Wildcats was named the 17-18U Wood Bat tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Wildcats (5-0) outscored their opponents 27-8. Baseball Performance Center (4-1) held a 36-15 runs advantage on its opponents.