Lincroft Tides roll to 12U Extravaganza victory

By DN WRITING STAFF | March 30, 2024

Brayden Deblock of High Heat launches a fly ball against the Lincroft Tides.

By Rich Bevensee

With the sun dipping below the horizon and 30 mph wind gusts making temperatures in the mid-40s feel much colder, no one would have blamed Brett Mittenzwei for losing his touch on the pitchers mound. 

But Mittenzwei never lost his cool because in his mind, it was a warm summer day at the beach.

That’s how the young right-hander overcame a chilly March outing and lifted the Lincroft Tides to their first tournament victory of this young season. 

While Mittenzwei’s brain was at the beach, his fastball darted all around the plate and carried the Tides to a one-hit shutout. Lincroft rode Mittenzwei’s arm and a host of potent bats to a four-inning, 10-0 pool play victory over High Heat in the 12U Easter Extravaganza on Friday evening at Diamond Nation in Flemington. 

“My fingers were freezing and I couldn’t really grip the ball so I had to wipe all that coldness off,” Mittenzwei said. “I think about a summer day, a hot summer day, and that helped a lot. I think about being on the beach, about getting out of this (cold weather) to go there. It always works.”

It was a nice bounce-back win for Lincroft, which bowed 10-2 to the Richmond County Baseball Club Ghost Nationals (2-0) earlier on Friday.

The Tides complete pool play against PRD Pride Donuts (1-1) on Saturday at 10 a.m.

The 12U semifinals are at 2:15 p.m. and the championship game will be played at 4:30 p.m.

Hudson Ellis of Lincroft Tides dives back to first under High Heat first baseman Kenny Whitman.

“I told the guys we had a little bit of a slow start, but we started moving toward the end of that first game and they came out on all cylinders for the second game and played well,” Tides coach Jim Brett said. “They hustled around the field and put the pressure on them and that’s how we like to roll.”

High Heat (0-2), which lost to the New York Gothams, 21-2, earlier on Friday, will face RCBC on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. to close out pool play. 

Offensively for Lincroft, leadoff man Logan Peerless singled, tripled and drove in two runs. Landon Adler launched a two-run double, Grayson Entrekin had an RBI double, and Jax Brett and Owen Warner each singled in a run.

Brett was also pleased to see his players drive in runs unselfishly. Warner and Mason Reinhard both drove in runs with a groundout.

“Our guys are starting to learn the game and realize when you have a situation like that, you roll over a ground ball and you score a run to help the team,” Brett said. “The kids really support each other.”

But the story of the game was Mittenzwei. While High Heat righty Alex Torres reached 63 on the radar gun, Mittenzwei lived in the mid-50s and kept the Heat off-balance with precise location.

He permitted only one walk, and struck out six in a span of eight batters. Two runners were stranded in scoring position.

“Again I tried not thinking about the cold and just throwing my best,” Mittenzwei said. “I threw a lot of strikes, a lot of good inside pitches, and basically I was putting my pitches where I needed them.”

“Brett pitched a great game,” Tides coach Jim Brett said. “He pounded the zone, got ahead early in the count and put the pressure on them to swing the bats and we made plays for him.”

Lincroft claimed a 3-0 lead in a nine-batter second inning when Reinhard grounded out to bring home a run, Hudson Ellis scored on a wild pitch and Peerless singled into shallow center to plate the game’s third run. 

Mittenzwei scored in the fourth inning on a Warner RBI groundout to give the Tides a 4-0 lead.

Lincroft forced the 10-run mercy rule in the fourth with a six-run rally. In consecutive at bats, Adler drove in two runs with an opposite field double, Peerless blasted an RBI triple which reached the left field wall, and Brett plated another run with a deep infield shot. 

Entrekin added an RBI double and Warner’s RBI single closed out the contest. 

Tyler Haskins had the only Heat hit of the game, a fourth-inning double. Torres and Brayden Deblock handled the pitching. 

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