LVBA’s Sweitzer, Erfle tame Jersey Boyz in Super 17 World Series

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 26, 2023

LVBA’s Dylan Metzgar appears to have the ball stuck to his bat on this bunt attempt.

By Rich Bevensee

The Jersey Boyz Baseball 17U squad feels pretty good about its chances when Jared Carlucci takes the mound. Carlucci is a 6-4, hard-throwing right-handed pitcher who was juggling a handful of Division 1 offers before committing to Rutgers on Monday.

But baseball has proven more than once that anything can happen on the diamond, and that’s the way the Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy Prospects 17/18U National squad approached matters on Tuesday.

While the Jersey Boyz had difficulty in solving LVPA hurlers Jacob Sweitzer and Paul Erfle, the Prospects made Carlucci look vulnerable for the first time this summer.

Tyler Hoffman drove in two runs, Dalton Young had two hits and the Prospects defeated Carlucci and the Jersey Boyz, 4-1, in Super 17 World Series play at Diamond Nation in Flemington. 

The game was called after four innings due to thunderstorms which swept through the complex.

“His fastball was good, breaking stuff was strong, but this team knows we have to take advantage of any opportunities we get,” LVBA coach Dylan Dando said of Carlucci. “That’s what we want to do. We gotta’ find ways to be productive up and down the lineup. We have to find ways to score, and by today’s baseball standards, with us it’s often not your typical ways.”

Carlucci didn’t get hit hard but he did lack his usual control. The rising senior from Columbia High in Maplewood gave up two runs on three hits and three walks with two strikeouts in three innings. 

The Prospects generated their first run without the benefit of a base hit. Easton Albert and Owen Ness led off the game with walks, Aiden Butz moved them over with a fielder’s choice, and Albert scored on a wild pitch. 

In the top of the second LVBA took a 2-0 lead when Young led off with a single, moved to third on consecutive infield groundouts, and scored on a Hoffman single.

After allowing a walk and a single in the third, Carlucci slipped out of trouble by picking off a runner at first and striking out two. He exited the game after that having thrown 59 pitches.

The Jersey Boyz got back into the contest in the bottom of the second. Robbie Ross singled to right and stole second. On his attempt to steal third, Sweitzer’s throw hit a sliding Ross and rolled into left field, allowing Ross to score.

That’s all the Jersey Boyz could muster, and they fell to 0-2 this week after a 14-0 loss to PS2 Academy on Monday night. 

The Jersey Boyz were limited to three hits by Sweitzer and Erfle, who offered vastly different arsenals. Sweitzer confounded the Jersey Boyz with a 70-mile per hour fastball and even slower curve over 2⅓ innings. Erfle entered in the third to relieve Sweitzer and showed off his 83 mph fastball and 72 mph breaking ball.

Jersey Boyz catcher Nick Smith is about to tag Dylan Metzgar out on throw from Ryan Kessler.

The two Prospects pitchers combined to allow one run on three hits and one walk with six strikeouts over four innings. 

“They just throw strikes. That’s the nature of the game,” Dando said. “There’s a big contrast between them but they compete.”

In the fourth inning the Prospects tacked on two more runs against Ross, who relieved Carlucci. Erfle helped himself with a sacrifice fly and Hoffman walked with the bases loaded. 

The Prospects improved to 1-1 after an unlikely 3-2 loss to Untamed Exposure on Monday. Unlikely, because the Prospects struck out 20 batters out of 21 outs and still lost. Aidan Butz pitched 6⅓ innings and reached 19 Ks after topping 100 pitches, and Zander Frey came in for the last two outs and got one more strikeout.

LVBA is slated to face the In The Zone College Prep Team on Wednesday at 2:15 p.m., and the PPH Mafia on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. 

The Jersey Boyz were scheduled to play Untamed Exposure on Wednesday at 8 a.m. at McKnight Field in Belle Mead, and the In The Zone College Prep Team on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. at Diamond Nation.

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