This was close but Santino Bruno of the Expos beat this one out in the 10U Boys of Summer.
By Joe Hofmann
Graham Longo led off the game and crushed a baseball so hard that it knocked the opposing shortstop’s glove off.
Yes, it did.
It would be that kind of game for the Locked In Baseball Expos 10U team.
This was more like it for the Expos, who endured the ultimate see-saw morning.
For three innings, there was very little they couldn’t do. They hit, pitched, fielded and ran the bases beautifully in a 15-1 victory over the Bergen County Hawks in the Boys of Summer Tournament at Diamond Nation on Friday morning.
Earlier in the morning, the Expos absorbed a 21-3 loss to the Diamond Jacks that was every bit as lopsided as their victory.
What a difference a couple of hours can make.
“We have strong defense and hitting and we didn’t show that in the first game,” Santino Bruno said. “This game picked us up when we were all down.”
The team erupted for seven runs in the first, six in the second and won by the 14-run mercy rule in the third. It was a far, far cry from their first game of the day, when they were overwhelmed.
“The kids played good defense and they hit,” winning coach Mike O’Neill said. “We did a lot better this game.”
The hitting took center stage right away.
After the Hawks scored a run in the top of the first, the Expos responded immediately.
Longo smoked a liner to short that was hit so hard that the Hawks shortstop’s glove actually came off his hand and fell to the ground as Longa reached first.
That would be the beginning of a conga line of baserunners and runs for the Expos.
Eric Conklin doubled to right center and Tyler Sharperson hit a two-run single to take the lead for good. Jack Fitzgerald tripled in Sharperson and scored on Ian Johnson’s 6-3 grounder to make it 4-1.
Bruno singled and scored on an RBI double by Mason Doresett, who scored on winning pitcher Pat Collins’ base hit. Two batters later, Collin Waldron had a two-run single for a 7-1 bulge.
In the bottom of the second, Santino Bruno reached on an infield single and Longo walked to set up Conklin’s three-run, inside-the-park homer that went over the right fielder’s head.
Sharperson hit a grounds-rule double to left and scored on Fitzgerald’s base hit.
Johnson doubled and Bruno walked to load the bases before Doresett hit a comebacker that was fielded by losing pitcher Sebastian Martinello, who threw home for the force at the plate. But the catcher’s throw to first to complete the double play sailed into right field, scoring Johnson, Bruno and Doresett, making it 13-1.
“When all of the guys are hitting, it’s fun,” Bruno said. “It’s good when you are in a game and everyone is making good contact.”
Longo singled in Waldron and Brady Hood in the bottom of the third, ending the game.
Collins pitched one-hit ball over three innings, allowing one hit and fanning six and walking one.
“I was happy with the pitching,” O’Neill said. “We usually play strong defense. Our pitcher threw strikes. Defense and pitching is what we are usually about.”
The Expos don’t believe they played up to par in the early loss to the Diamond Jacks.
“The first game this morning was hard because we usually play defense and hit,” Bruno said. “This game, we hit the way we usually do. We didn’t show up in the first game.
“It feels a lot better leaving here with a win.”