Brayden Hy of the L.I. Body Armor Titans follows through on his RBI double in the first inning.
By Sean Reilly
The Super 16 Invitational this weekend at Diamond Nation is an important one for many of the teams and players on hand, since it represents one of the first opportunities to showcase themselves to the many college coaches who are on hand to evaluate.
A perfect example is Riley Weatherwax of the Long Island Body Armor Titans.
A week ago, he concluded his sophomore season at Roy C. Ketcham High School in Dutchess County, when it lost to Pine Bush in a New York State Class AA regional final.
This weekend, he is competing for the Long Island Body Armor Titans, and was the starting pitcher in its opening game against the North Jersey-based Untamed Baseball Prospects. He hurled four hitless innings, with five strikeouts and one walk, in an efficient 8-0 victory in Flemington.
“I knew my slider was working and I knew I could throw the fastball because I trust my teammates, and they were pretty good today,” Weatherwax said. “This is a big summer and I’m looking forward to it. This was a good start. Hopefully I can get on the radar for some schools.”
The Titans were efficient in all aspects of the victory. In the bottom of the first, No. 2 batter Noel Rivera hit a one-out grounds rule double to right field. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Brayden Hy doubled to right field.
The Titans added three more runs in the third. Nick Zampieron led off with a single to center, and Rivera followed with a hard grounder past the shortstop that skipped to the gap in left-center, scoring a run and sending Rivera to third. John Margolies then drove in Rivera on a ground out to shortstop. Hy reached on a dropped infield pop up, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Cole Haddock grounded out to shortstop, with Hy crossing to third. He then scampered home on a wild pitch.
The other four runs came in the fourth inning. Catcher Luke Ciminiello led off with a single to shortstop, and Peter Beisel supplied an RBI single with one out. John Harrington hit a pinch-hit RBI single, another run scored on a wild pitch and Hy added a run-scoring single for the eight-run lead.
Dalton Rutt then pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning to end the game via the run-rule and finish off the no-hitter.
The first four batters in the Titans lineup combined to reach base 10 times in 12 plate appearances, with six runs scored.
“We played four games last week and won all four, so we’re 5-0 early in the season and we look pretty strong,” said Titans coach Gregg Sarra. “This is the third year that we’re together. The roster has changed over the last two years. We’ve gotten much bigger and more physical as an offensive team and we’ve added a couple of guys from other areas.”
If anything, Saturday’s victory was almost too efficient, since the overall effort resulted in the five-inning game that barely took an hour to play.
“You kind of want your guys to get opportunities and you want to play full games,” Sarra said. “It wasn’t anything that the opponent did wrong, it was that our guys hit the ball really well, they ran the bases aggressively and our pitching is pretty good. Right now on this staff, we have pretty much four or five Division 1 arms in the 2024 class, and that’s what people are looking for.”
A prime example of that depth is the Weatherwax/Rutt combination that tossed the no-hitter.
“What we do in a showcase tournament is we split the games between pitchers, 4 and 3, or 5 and 2 innings pending pitch count,” Sarra said. “Riley was going to go 50 pitches or four innings. He was very efficient, and then Dalton was going to go three innings with a pitch count of 40. We didn’t get to throw him more than one inning. He’s young. He’s a 15 year-old, so we’re pretty excited about him. Riley is a D-1 prospect, and he didn’t hurt that today because he looked very efficient.”