Kelly’s big hit sends PA Shockers Blue to 13U Father’s Day win

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 18, 2023

Joseph Cambareri makes solid contact for the Complete Game Colonials 13U Blue. 

By Sean Reilly 

Austin Kelly was a guest player for the PA Shockers 13U Blue on Saturday at Diamond Nation, but he’s really more a part of the organization’s family. 

Kelly’s regular team was off during the weekend, but his brother plays with one of the Shockers’ 14U sides that is also competing this weekend in Flemington as part of the Father’s Day Classic. 

Austin, who has 12U eligibility but plays on the big-field at the 13U level, sometimes practices with the 13U Shockers Blue team and has joined them at ‘The Nation’ for this weekend’s tournament, including the opener against the Complete Game Colonials 13U from Bergen County.

Batting third and playing third base, he also delivered the biggest hit of the game, a three-run triple with two out in the top of the sixth that rallied his team to a 4-2 victory.

The hit was part of a four-run inning that erased a two-run deficit for the Shockers, who play their other two pool play games on Sunday. 

“They all know me,” Kelly said of his association with the team. 

The game was crisp. The Shockers were held in check by Colonials starter Logan Janusz, who retired the first eight batters and allowed one hit, struck out three and walked three before exiting with one out in the top of the sixth.

Shockers starter Sully Hochbein was also pitching well. He allowed a leadoff triple to Chris Peakler in the first inning before retiring the next three. The Colonials also placed runners on second and third with one out in the second, but Hochbein worked out of that jam as well. 

The Colonials, who also have two more pool games to play on Sunday, took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. 

John Blackman led off with a single into center field. After an out, John Cambareri and James McMahon drew walks that loaded the bases. With the infield playing in, Max Cohen hit an RBI single to shallow right field. The second run scored on a balk.

PA Shockers first baseman Greg Buckman steps on first for third out after snaring grounder with two runners aboard.

The Shockers went down 1-2-3 in the fifth inning, but broke through in the sixth. 

The first batter that inning struck out, before Chase Davis walked. Janusz exited at that point. Joey Colon then greeted the reliever with a single past third base. With runners on first and second base, the batter dropped down a bunt, but the lead runner was forced out at third. 

The top of the order was now up, and leadoff man Elijah Los hit an RBI single to left field. Alex Vasquez followed with a walk that loaded the bases for Kelly, and he responded with the triple over the head of the right fielder for a two-run lead. 

“I was looking to wait on it and take it to right field,” he said. “I came up there knowing I had to drive in a run.” 

Davis, who pitched the final three innings in relief of Hochbein, allowed no hits with two strikeouts and three walks to earn the win.

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