Lethal Sandlot Baseball bats take two in Summer Finale

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 21, 2022

Garrett Yakimowicz, 3-for-3 with three RBI, drills run-scoring single for Sandlot Baseball 12U. 

By Sean Reilly 

Sandlot Baseball 12U followed a certain formula against HBQVB Rampage 11U in its opening game on Saturday at the Summer Finale 12U Tournament at Diamond Nation. 

Sandlot Baseball, out of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., swung its bats hard and ran aggressively on the bases. It’s partly the team’s nature, but it was also an important consideration since the coaches were looking to manage the pitching staff and save the better arms with a hopefully busy weekend ahead.

The approach worked, as Sandlot gained a 13-7 victory in Flemington.

As a bonus, it followed that game with a 13-5 triumph over Adrenaline Selects for a perfect start to a weekend that will continue with a Sunday morning matchup against the Staten Island Orioles (2-0) with a first-place pool finish and playoff berth on the line.

“We took advantage of what we needed to,” Sandlot coach Mike Zapotoski said. “We’re trying to save arms and throw guys an inning or two at a time. It wasn’t our greatest effort, but a win is a win.”

Sandlot scored four times in the top of the first, with Eli Zapotoski and Tyler Daugherty hitting consecutive RBI doubles, Garrett Yakimowicz adding a run-scoring single and Ryan Kopiak hitting an RBI double, all with one out.

While that 4-0 start seemed encouraging, the New York City-based HBQVB Rampage 11U scored four of its own in the bottom of the inning.

Adrian Caban singled in the first run and Mason Hemraj followed with a two-run single with one out, before George Cancel, Jr. doubled in a run with two out for HBQVB.

Sandlot Baseball catcher Jett Kelsall receives throw from Garrett Yakimowicz before tagging out Rampage 11U runner.

Sandlot took a 5-4 lead when Mateo Cruz doubled in a run with one out in second. The Rampage tied again in the bottom of the inning, this time when D.J. Jacob scored from third while another runner was thrown out trying to steal second.

Sandlot’s aggressiveness on the basepaths paid off in the top of the third. Daugherty led off and walked on a full count. Yakimowicz then grounded a perfect hit-and-run single by hitting a ball through the vacated spot at shortstop. Kopiak walked to load the bases. Trey Mishanski then hit a grounder to the shortstop, who tried to initiate a double play. But his throw to second base was dropped. There was no play made on Daugherty, who scored from third, but Yakimowicz ran non-stop from second and also scored for a 7-5 lead.

Sandlot broke the game open by scoring six times in the fourth for a 13-5 advantage. The inning included run-scoring singles by Jett Kelsell, Zapotoski and Kopiak and an RBI ground out by Jeff Peck.

The first six batters in the Sandlot order were a combined 11-for-13 with 12 runs scored.

“We were up, they tied us and then we had to keep scoring runs,” said Yakimowicz, the No. 5 hitter who led the charge by going 3-for-3 with three runs and three RBI. “I was trying to hit the ball in gaps and score some runs. I was looking for fastballs and hoping that I could hit it.”

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