It’s fair to wonder what your going to get from a field full of nine and 10 year olds but M-Squad 10U and Eagles Baseball Club showcased just how impressive baseball neophytes can be last night at Diamond Nation.
Addison Adornato came into get the final two outs of the games, squelching an Eagles Baseball threat as M Squad held on in a well-played and entertaining 5-4 victory in the 10U Fall Brawl championship game.
M Squad received an outstanding start from lefthander Matthew Filiaci and a 3-for-3 performance from its leadoff hitter Adornato, who would be named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. M Squad carried a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth but Eagles Baseball struck for three runs to draw within 5-4. Then the Pennsylvania team put the pressure on in the sixth.
Reliever Chris Tortorella had to stare down the top of the Eagles Baseball batting order in the sixth and got its leadoff hitter on a grounder to third base. Filiaci, now at first base, made a great pick on Mateo Liloia’s throw for the first out. But Jonah Gonzalez followed with a double into right-center field to put the tying run in scoring position.
M Squad coach Jon DiGregorio called on Adornato to close it out but the short stint wouldn’t be without some angst. Will Brown drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to put the potential winning run on base. Adornato then induced a fly out to right field for the second out as both runners moved up a base. Eagles Baseball was suddenly a single away from a thrilling victory.
But Adornato got the next batter to hit a bouncer to second base that Tyce Hanratty gobbled up and threw to first to end the game.
“Addison was our spark plug the whole tournament,” said DiGregorio. “He started our engine.”
The righthander Filiaci was terrific over four innings. He limited Eagles Baseball to one run on two hits, struck out 10 and walked just one. “Matt is lights out all the time,” said DiGregorio. “We rely on him. He never flinches. He’s calm out there.” Filiaci peppered the zone with strikes, catching five of his 10 strikeout victims looking. He struck out the side in the second, all looking at fastballs dotting the outside corner.
Filiaci turned the game over to the M Squad bullpen with a 2-1 lead in the fifth. That lead came courtesy of a rally in the top of the third ignited by the bottom of the M Squad order and an Adornato timely hit. Michael Donahue, the No. 9 hitter, led off with a single through the left side. He took second on a passed ball and moved to third on a nice sacrifice bunt by No. 10 hitter C.J. Cantagallo. Adornato followed with an RBI single through the middle for a 1-0 lead. Adornato then stole second, reached third on Tortorella’s fielder’s choice grounder and scored on a wild pitch.
Filiaci surrendered a two-out triple to Khalil Roberts in the second inning but spotted a fastball on the outside corner to strike out the next batter and end the sudden threat. Filiaci couldn’t keep Eagles Baseball off the scoreboard in the fourth, though, when Garret Mainhart tripled with one out and just kept coming around third and scored as the relay went to the wrong base.
M Squad re-asserted itself in the fifth when it struck for three runs, all unearned, but on some clutch hitting with two outs. Hanratty started it with a leadoff walk but by the time the lineup flipped to leadoff man Adornato, two were out. Adornato kept the line moving though with a single to center field as Hanratty took second. Tortorella then hit a bouncer to third base but was safe as the throw got away. Hanratty raced home to extend the lead to 3-1.
Filiaci then delivered the biggest hit of the game, a shot to right field that went to the fence for a two-run triple and a 5-1 lead.
M Squad is made up of ballplayers from Mountainside and Westfield in Union County. “They blend well together,” said DiGregorio. “They are real ball players who play really heads up ball.”
Fall Brawl recaps
M Squad 5, Eagles Baseball Club 4
M Squad edged Eagles Baseball Club, 5-4, in the 10U Fall Brawl championship game. Addison Adornato of M Squad was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. M Squad (4-0) outscored its opponents 30-13. Eagles Baseball Club (3-1) held a 39-12 runs advantage on its opponents.
Diamond Jacks Super 11U 2, Bridgewater Panthers Elite 0
The Diamond Jacks Super 11U edged Bridgewater Panthers Elite, 2-0, in the 11U Fall Brawl championship game. Tommy Denvir of the Super 11U was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Diamond Jacks (3-1) outscored their opponents 41-19. The Panthers Elite (3-1) held a 38-10 runs advantage on its opponents.
HDMH Titans 10, Diamond Jacks Super 13U 4
The HDMH Titans defeated the Diamond Jacks Super 13U, 10-4, in the 13U Fall Brawl championship game. Tyler Cook of the Titans was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Titans (4-0) outscored their opponents 39-8. The Super 13U (3-1) held a 39-10 runs advantage on its opponents.
Wall Wildcats 7, Rising Stars Baseball 5
The Wall Wildcats defeated Rising Stars Baseball, 7-5, in the 15U Fall Brawl championship game. Shane Andrus of the Wildcats was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Wall Wildcats (5-0) outscored their tournament opponents 42-16. Rising Stars Baseball (3-1) held a 31-10 runs advantage on its opponents.
Locked In Baseball Expos 2, Team Elite 0
The Locked in Baseball Expos defeated Team Elite, 2-0, in the 17/18U Fall Brawl Gold Bracket championship game. Tom Clancy of Locked In was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Locked In Baseball (4-1) outscored its opponents 20-12. Team Elite (3-1) held a 16-5 runs advantage on its opponents.
Staten Island Orioles Showcase Gray 1, Massapequa Baseball 2020 0
The Staten Island Orioles Showcase Gray nipped Massapequa Baseball 2020, 1-0, in the 17/18U Fall Brawl Silver Bracket championship game. Matthew Bedford of the Orioles was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Staten Island (3-1) outscored its opponents 11-4. Massapequa Baseball (2-2) held a 17-14 runs advantage on its opponents.