Parker Klug ripped a two-run home run and delivered a two-run walk-off single in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Diamond Jacks Super 12U an 11-3 victory over Full Count Futures in the Halloween Mash championship game at Diamond Nation last night.
Klug’s two big hits in the championship game were front and center but so were the performances of the tournament’s co-MVPs Remington Mortman and Luca Catanzarite. In fact, the entire Super 12U contributed to the team’s impressive 4-0 run through the 12U Mash to finish its fall season in style.
That run included comeback wins in three of the team’s four tournament games, the most stunning of which was a rally from a 6-1 deficit to a 7-6 victory over Hurricane Elite in Super 12U’s Saturday opener.
The Diamond Jacks, in fact, erased a 2-0 deficit in the final as they scored at least two runs in each of their five at bats.
The Super 12U was holding dearly to a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third when it staged a rally with two outs and no one on base. Gino Spigarelli, the Diamond Jacks catcher and No. 3 hitter, started the rally innocuously by dropping a high pop-up into center field that he hustled into two bases. Bryson Auten then followed with a hard single to center to score Spigarelli and boost the lead to 5-2.
In stepped Klug looking for something he could drive and he did, latching onto a fastball and lifting it the opposite way over the right field fence for a two-run home run and a 7-2 Diamond Jacks lead.
“I got a fastball outside and went with it,” said Klug. “We felt good with that 7-2 lead.”
The Super 12U came to bat in the bottom of the fifth leading 9-3, so had an opportunity to end the game early via the eight-run mercy rule. A couple infield errors put Spigarelli and Auten on with two outs and the duo pulled off a double steal with Klug at the plate. That gave Klug an opportunity to walk it off with as little as a single.
Klug worked the count full and let his head lead his bat this time.
“I saw the pitcher shake off the fastball, so I knew he had to be throwing a curveball,” said Klug. He threw the curveball and I drove it through the 5-6 hole.”
As Klug’s single split the left side of the infield into left field, Spigarelli scored easily and Auten raced home from second base with the decisive run.
“Parker was struggling a bit the first two games but he got locked back in and got it done in a big spot,” said Super 12U coach Chris Banos. “He’s a good hitter.”
Mortman was terrific on the mound, limiting Full Count Futures (2-2) to three runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits, struck out two and walked three. Full Count actually hit Mortman hard in the first inning when it struck for two runs, but the righthander righted the ship from there.
Jillian Candelaria drew a one-out walk and Jack Doherty followed with a double down the left field line to put two runners in scoring position. E.J. Onyschak then ripped a hard shot to right field that was caught but dropped as Candelaria scored and Doherty moved to third. Luiggi Sacca followed with a sac fly to right to give Full Count an early 2-0 advantage.
But the Diamond Jacks answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning and just kept coming. Leadoff hitter Catanzarite drew a walk and stole second and third before Jason Baker walked, as well, to put Super 12U in business in the first. Spigarelli’s bouncer to the left side brought Catanzarite home as Baker raced all the way to third base on the out. Auten then reached on a throwing error as Baker scored to tie the game at 2-2.
The Diamond Jacks would score twice in the second, forge that two-out, three-run rally in the third, tack on two more runs in the fourth before closing the game with Klug’s two-run single in the fifth.
Sac flies by Dylan Brito and Derek Guzman in the second brought home Sam deLaurier and courtesy runner Kamau Taylor. deLaurier and Mortman had triggered the rally with back-to-back walks. deLaurier and Mortman pulled the trick again in the fourth, starting the inning with a pair of walks. Gianni Franzoni singled home deLaurier and Mortman scored on a throwing error to lift the lead to 9-3.
Aiden Luccarelli drove Onyschak home with a sac fly in the fourth to enable Full Count to trim the deficit at that time to 7-3. Onyschak had singled with one out, reached second on a wild pitch and third on a fielder’s choice grounder. Mortman, however, worked his way out of further trouble.
Mortman, in fact, retired the last five batters he faced.
Catanzarite hit well throughout the tournament and came up big in the come-from-behind opener on Saturday when he entered in relief and shut down Hurricane Elite over the final two innings.
The Diamond Jacks Super 12U outscored its four opponents 31-14. Full Count Futures was outscored by its opponents, 27-24.
HALLOWEEN MASH RECAPS
RCBC MARUCCI NATIONALS
RCBC Marucci Nationals defeated the NJ Renegades, 9-1, in the 10U Halloween Mash championship game. Mike Garland of RCBC was named the 10U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. RCBC (2-1-1) outscored its opponents 42-38. NJ Renegades (3-1) held a 46-17 runs advantage on its opponents.
OOTP Cyclones defeated Five Star Mid-Atlantic Select, 12-3, in the 11U Halloween Mash championship game. OOTP Cyclones outscored their opponents 43-14. Five Star Mid-Atlantic Select (3-1) held a 39-22 runs advantage on its opponents.
The Hammonton Stars defeated Aces Baseball, 12-3, in the 15U Halloween Mash championship game. Evan Taylor of the Hammonton Stars was named the 15U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Hammonton Stars outscored their opponents 47-11. Aces Baseball (4-1) held a 36-16 runs advantage on its opponents.
17-18U (A-C BRACKET)
PRIME TIME ACES
Prime Time Aces defeated Rake Baseball, 8-7, in the 17-18U A-C Bracket Halloween Mash championship game. Campbell Plishker of Prime Time Aces was named the A-C Bracket Most Valuable Player. Prime Time Aces (4-0) outscored their opponents 39-11. Rake Baseball (2-2) held a 21-16 runs advantage on its opponents.
17-18U (B-D BRACKET)
U.S. ELITE NJ 2023
U.S. Elite NJ 2023 defeated Diamond Elite, 6-3, in the 17-18U B-D Bracket Halloween Mash championship game. Brandon Boyd of U.S. Elite was named the B-D Bracket Most Valuable Player. U.S. Elite NJ 2023 (3-1) outscored its opponents 25-20. Diamond Elite (2-2) was outscored by its opponents 18-13.