Shawn Torpey gets set at the plate for the Connecticut Rangers in Mid-Summer Classic.
By Joe Hofmann
Pitches leave Jadon Krisanda’s right hand and then, somewhere between the mound and home plate, the adventure begins.
Try and follow along. Opposing hitters sure couldn’t on Sunday night.
The pitch starts up here …
…and lands down here.
The NJ Rising Rebels rode it all the way to the White Pool championship with a 5-3 victory over the CT Rangers at the 13U Mid-Summer Classic.
Krisanda’s go-to pitch is a knuckle curve. It dips, dives, dances, and most importantly, Krisanda can throw it for strikes. He fanned eight in six-plus innings of work, walking three. He relied mostly on his fastball but broke out the knuckle curve when he needed it most.
“My 11-U coach (Mike Kane) taught all of us,” Krisanda said.
Krisanda has taken the pitch to the next level. He has now pitched the Rebels to three straight tournament titles, including two at Diamond Nation.
“He throws strikes and has great control,” coach Andrew Mount said. “He’s a bulldog. He never wants to come out of a game.”
Krisanda gave up a run in the first inning and two in the fourth. In the second, he allowed a Shawn Torpey single, two stolen bases, and Kieran Garrity’s RBI groundout.
In the third, Krisanda gave up a leadoff walk to Torpey, Jack Mariani reached on an infield error, and Jacob Pardalis had a two-run single to tie the game at 3-3.
In the bottom of the third, the Rebels took the lead when Andrew Young, Will Sassmann, and Eric Hokenburg — the team’s Nos. 10, 11 and 12 batters — reached on walks to load the bases. One out later, Brayden Fry turned an outfield misplay into a three bases, scoring three runs.
After the Rangers tied the game, the Rebels scored two more to go ahead for good.
Finn O’Loughlin walked to lead off and came in on an outfield misplay that went for a double by Connor McNally. After Holden Cohn walked, Kyle McBride reached on an infield hit for another run.
Five runs was enough. The only time Krisanda had trouble throwing was — oddly enough — when he was forced to make a routine throw to first base to lead off the seventh inning.
Torpey led off the inning with a comebacker. Krisanda turned to throw to first baseman Will Sassmann and the poor throw got away from Sassmann. Mount had told Krisanda before the inning that if he allowed a baserunner, he was going to the bullpen. So after 95 pitches, Mount took out Krisanda and replaced him with hard-throwing lefty Curt Friedrich, who fanned the side and walked two to finish off the game.
Krisanda pitched the Rebels to a spring tournament title at Diamond Nation, as well. He also pitched the team to a USABL tournament title in Woodbridge this summer.
The Rebels, out of Morristown, N.J., went 4-0 during the tournament over the weekend, beating the Pennsylvania Rebels in the semifinals, 3-0.
“So we won two dogfights,” Mount said. “I’m proud of these boys.”
The team will head down to Baseball at the Beach in Delaware next week and will compete in the USABL World Series in Toms River later on this summer.
The team allowed just four runs all weekend because of its stellar pitching and defense.
“I just try to throw strikes,” Krisanda said. “I know I have a great defense behind me, so I’m not afraid to put the ball in play.”