Henry English’s RBI single in the first stood as the game’s only run until Wladyka rallied in fourth.
By Rich Bevensee
For Wladyka Baseball National’s Luke Kosoff, the offer seemed too good to be true.
He said a group of scouts from Pottstown University approached him at Diamond Nation on Saturday with an enticing deal. They offered to trade him a new bat for his old one.
But there was a kicker – the new bat was in a cardboard box and Kosoff had to make the trade before seeing what was in the box. It was something right out of the old TV game show, “Let’s Make A Deal.”
What Kosoff didn’t know at the time was that the “scouts” from “Pottstown University” were really representatives of CS99TV, a TikTok influencer with 2.7 million followers.
“They said if I were to give them my bat, they would trade, but I didn’t know what was in the box,” Kosoff said. “Once I did it, I realized what the bat was, and I was about to give my bat to them and they said I could keep mine. But I had no clue what was in the box.”
He didn’t open the box until the bottom of the fourth inning in Wladyka’s game against 3Up3Down in the 14U bracket of Diamond Nation’s Fall Harvest Tournament.
Wladyla was protecting a 1-0 lead when Kosoff was to lead off the inning. After a brief delay which had everyone wondering what was going on in the Wladyka dugout, Kosoff emerged with his new Voodoo bat – having never laid eyes on it before.
On a full count pitch, Kosoff roped a double into right-center field, and that hit triggered a nine-run rally which vaulted Wladyka to a 10-0 victory in Flemington.
“I didn’t open the box until I got up to hit,” Kosoff said. “It felt really good. And because this is our last tournament of the fall, it felt really good to end the season like that.”
Wladyka’s Sean Fealey was outstanding on the mound in keeping 3Up3Down at bay until Kosoff revved Wladyka’s engines. Fealey pitched four shutout innings while allowing one hit and two walks and he struck out four.
Fealey also busted out of a week-long slump by driving in Wladyka’s second run with a single to left, three batters after Kosoff’s double, to make the score 2-0.
“That one felt really good,” Fealey said. “I haven’t gotten a hit in a while. It was really frustrating. I got mad every time I didn’t get a hit. The key was just getting a pitch I wanted to hit and then driving it. Getting that hit, especially with the hype around Luke, was good to have. Then the rally came and I was glad to get it going.”
“Their pitcher was struggling a little bit and once we got the leadoff double and a couple walks, all of a sudden there it goes,” Wladyka coach Butch Bellenger said. “It was nice Sean got that hit because it opened the floodgates for us. That was the key hit tonight.”
The rally, in what the Wladyka faithful were calling “Butchie Ball,” continued when Jack Dunbabin drove in a run with a fielder’s choice. Baxter Hilton’s fielder’s choice ground ball generated two runs with two errors on the same play to make it 5-0.
Leadoff man Anthony Straface and Ethan Cueto both forced in runs with bases loaded walks for a 7-0 Wladyka lead. And Luke Featherstone concluded the fireworks – and the game – when he blasted a bases-clearing triple to right.
Kamren Martin exhibited a bend-don’t-break mentality in the first three innings for 3Up3Down, slipping in and out of danger in each frame. He allowed one run on two hits and three walks and struck out five in the first three innings.
With both pitchers combining for just one run allowed through three innings, Bellenger said he felt his team was fortunate to finally come out on the winning end of a rally after a great start by both pitchers.
“We’ve been on both sides of it, probably more often on the wrong side,” Bellenger said. “A kid can be throwing great and all of a sudden he hits a rough patch and the wheels fall off. Glad we can be on the other side today.”
The victory gave Wladyla a split of its Saturday games, having lost earlier that evening to Tucci Elite 14U, 8-3. Wladyka wraps up action with a Sunday game against Diamond Jacks 14U Gold.
3Up3Down endured a rough Saturday, getting swept by Wladyka and Diamond Jacks 14U Gold (11-1). Their final game on Sunday is against Tucci Elite 14U.