Late 9ers rally ends 18U World Series on a high note

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 23, 2022

Colts Baseball pitcher Jake Disbot releases an offering in Friday’s 18U World Series.

By Will Harrigan

The 9ers Baseball 17U baseball team had themselves an up and down week in the 18U World Series at Diamond Nation.

The Central Jersey-based squad won their opener, lost a heartbreaker on Wednesday, and were a bit overwhelmed on Thursday.

But the way they ended their run – with a late five-run rally to lock up another victory – left the 9ers satisfied as they departed Flemington.

The seventh inning explosion proved to be the difference in what was a tight game throughout, as the .9ers notched a 6-1 victory over Colts Baseball on another hot day at ‘The Nation.’ The Colts – a club based out of Bucks County, Pa., finished their tournament with a 2-2 record as well.

“I always tell my guys that if you get on base, good things happen,” said .9ers coach Jonathan Troice. “For a while there the offense was a bit dry, but the bats got going just in time – we got on base – and got a nice win here.”

Four walks issued by the Colts played a large role in making the big rally happen, including two to start the inning by A.J. Ramirez and Matt Mason.

Two batters later, a fielder’s choice off Chris Rodriguez’s bat nearly drove in a pair of runs, but Colts shortstop Bobby Hansen made a diving stop on a grounder, fired home and threw out a runner to keep the game tied, 1-1, for the moment.

But Calvin Claiborne would draw a walk with the bases juiced two batters later, allowing the 9ers to take a 2-1 lead without getting a hit. Catcher Aiden Hreha singled in a run a batter later to double the advantage.

Jon Carollo would then put the real dagger into the Colts, as his slicing double plated a pair of runs and gave the winners their final 6-1 lead.

“One thing I liked was that a lot of guys had a good week hitting,” Troice said. “(Brady) Leach had a monster week, and other guys came through with big hits today. Everyone is contributing right now.”

Brady Leach of 9ers Baseball steps into a pitch during 18U World Series at Diamond Nation.

Colts starter Jake Disbot was terrific in four innings of work, consistently hitting the high 80s on the radar gun and fanning five in four shutout innings. He helped his own cause by driving in Rocco Zizzo – who was struck by a pitch – on a single to center in the second.

A one-out double by Claiborne in the fifth got the 9ers in business, and a wild pitch, followed by a pick-off attempt gone wrong, leveled things up at 1-1 going into the later innings. Claiborne – who plays his high school ball for Iselin Kennedy – reached base all three times up and scored a pair of runs.

Disbot’s single was one of only two hits the Colts could muster, as a combined pitching effort by starter Jackson Killian, Shawn McNiff, and Dominick Mallamaci kept Colts batters guessing all day.

“We had good pitching the entire tournament, and today was no different. Those guys didn’t allow (the Colts) to hit one hard ball all day,” Troice said.

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