Massive comeback sends PPH Mafia to 15U Halloween Bash win

By DN WRITING STAFF | October 29, 2023

PPH Mafia players converge on Aryan Nair after he scored winning run to cap six-run sixth.

By Sean Reilly 

The PPH Mafia will do just about anything to scrap toward a victory, and Jarret Intili wore the bloodied uniform top to prove it. 

Intili stole second base on the back end of a two-out double steal that scored Jake Brown from third with the tying run and no time left on the game clock against the Marlboro (N.Y.) Wildcats on Saturday afternoon at Diamond Nation.

Intili then had to exit the game with a nosebleed after sliding into the knee of the covering infielder at second base. 

He was replaced by pinch runner Aryan Nair, who then scored the sixth and final run of a massive bottom-of-the sixth comeback. Anthony Cicenia delivered the clutch single that gave PPH Mafia an unlikely 9-8 win at the 15U Halloween Bash in Flemington. 

Marlboro held a 6-0 lead after three innings, and was still up 8-3 entering the bottom of the sixth, with only a few minutes left on the 1:50 game clock. 

The Central Jersey-based PPH Mafia, which got its first hit with two out in the fourth inning, scored six times on five hits in the bottom of the sixth to complete a 2-0 day at ‘The Nation.’ It opened with a 3-2 win over the Prime Time Aces. 

“We have a great group of guys, and that inning showed we have a lot of passion for the game.” Intili said. 

PPH Mafia opened the comeback inning by getting a double from Brandon Bostek and a single from Jordan Randolph. Anuj Bandireddy followed with a walk that loaded the bases.

Tyler Barry hit a two-run double to left field, and Jake Brown also hit a two-run double to left field to get PPH Mafia within 8-7. The next two batters were retired, with Brown moving to third on a wild pitch along the way. Intili walked, to put runners on first and third with Cicenia at the plate. 

Intili made a break for second on a designed first-and-third play, but Marlboro made a pickoff throw to first. Intili kept running as Brown raced toward home with the tying run. As Intili slid into second, he collided with the covering player’s knee, the ball got loose and all hands were safe. 

“At that moment I was trying to do anything to win,” Intili said. “I slid, and the moment I got there, I felt something dripping from my nose. I slid into his knee.”

With the score now tied, the entire complexion of Cicenia’s at-bat changed. With the score now 8-8 and the clock expired, PPH Mafia couldn’t lose. But it still had a chance to win, and that’s what happened when his single scored Nair, who had replaced Intili at second base.

Aryan Nair of PPH Mafia scores winning run on Anthony Cicenia’s single to cap six-run sixth.

“They gave me a pitch I could hit,” Cicenia said. “When it was first and third, I was a little nervous, but I had to go up there and hit. And then getting the run in took the pressure off.”

For the first half of the game, the story was the pitching by Marlboro starter Liam Correa. He worked three hitless innings, with eight strikeouts and two walks. He also retired the last eight batters he faced. 

During that time, Marlboro built a six-run lead by scoring three times in the second and third innings. Cole Belecastro hit a two-run double to highlight the second inning and Patrick Tarsio supplied a two-run single in the third. 

PPH Mafia began to chip away when Marlboro went to its bullpen in the fourth inning. 

That rally began when Bostek bounced a single over the pitcher’s head with two out. Rudolph followed with a two-run home run to left field. Bandireddy walked, stole second and scored when an infield hit by Barry moved him to third, with an errant throw to first allowing him to score. 

Bostek, Rudolph and Barry all went 2-for-3 for PPH Mafia.

Aiden Douglass was 3-for-3 and scored two runs with one RBI for Marlboro.

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