Robert Kelly bats for the DJacks Super 16U in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s Super 17 game.
By Steve Merrill
Robert Kelly reached base three times and launched a two-run home run over the left field fence to help guide the Diamond Jacks Super 16U over Baseball U PA 17u RSAALLA, 6-3, on Monday afternoon in the Super 17 Invitational Week 1 pool play opener.
The D-Jacks shortstop barreled up the first pitch fastball he saw off Baseball U PA starting pitcher Gary Weaver III to give the home team a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
“I got one over the middle of the plate and just put a good swing on it,” Kelly said. “I didn’t know it was out, so I sprinted out of the box.”
Baseball U. Pa. got even shortly after in the top of the third. Jacob Fink and Jeremy Cawley knocked one-out singles to set the visitors up with two men on. DJacks starting pitcher Kellen Moore struck the next batter out but surrendered a two-out, two-run double to Conner Griffin that tied the game at 2-2.
Baseball U PA saw its only lead of the game in the fourth when it was able to scratch across another run on a Zach Lloyd sacrifice fly to center field, giving the visitors a 3-2 advantage. The fourth would be Moore’s final inning of work. He allowed four hits and three runs while striking out five and walking two.
“Moore threw strikes,” DJacks head coach Chris Brown said. “He pitched to contact, and we have a good defense. That’s what you want. Just throw strikes and let your defense work.”
The DJacks put together a big inning in the bottom of the fourth without getting a hit, plating four runs to re-take the lead at 6-3. Every batter in the lineup came to the dish in an inning where the DJacks lineup drew seven walks. Weaver was chased after allowing four straight free passes. The right-hander tossed three-plus innings, allowing three hits, six runs (five earned), five walks, and five strikeouts. The D-Jacks as a team walked 10 times in the game.
Brodie Robertson then came in to minimize the damage. The ball was only put in play once during the half inning, when David Bertz grounded out to third, scoring Tom Piszel. Two other runs came home on walks. Kelly scored on a wild pitch. The marathon inning came to an end when Robertson struck out Jayden Shin.
“They did a great job of laying off tough pitches and not chasing,” Brown said. “If they’re not going to give you anything to hit then you have to take your base. You can’t expand the zone and get yourself out.”
The DJacks Nos. 4 and 5 hitters, Piszel and Kelly, combined for three hits, three walks, and scored four of the team’s six runs. Each reached base in all three plate appearances.
“We were disciplined at the plate,” Kelly said. “We got pitches we wanted and barreled balls up when we could and went from there.”
Baseball U PA moves to 1-1 in pool play and is back on the field Tuesday evening for game three. The DJacks are 1-0 and will also play next on Tuesday evening.