Mid-Atlantic Sox finish 15U World Series with noisy bats

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 7, 2023

L.T. Farley of the Mid-Atlantic Red Sox breaks for second in 15U DN World Series game on Thursday.

By Joe Hofmann

The 15U Mid-Atlantic Red Sox packed up their gear, cleaned up their dugout and left Diamond Nation with smiles on their faces Thursday afternoon.

They also left scratching their heads.

How can a team hit so well one day and not so well on another?

That’s an age-old question. If you have an answer, drop coach Farron Riggs a line. He’d love to hear from you.

“If I knew why,” Riggs said with a smile, “I’d bottle it and sell it.”

The Red Sox will make the trip north feeling better about themselves thanks to a 9-4 victory over Accelerate Elite to finish 2-2 in the 15U Diamond Nation World Series.

They put the bat on the ball and made the most out of their opportunities, especially early on.

Earlier in the tournament, the Red Sox couldn’t get much offense going.

Amazing what swinging the sticks can do for a team.

“Early on, we couldn’t get anything going,” Riggs said. “Our bats came alive today. We put the ball in play and put some runners on the bases.”

Armed with the early lead, the Red Sox pitchers knew how to protect it.

“Pitchers threw strikes,” Riggs said. “We had struggled with that.”

The team scored three in the second and five more in the third. They did it with patient at bats and hitting in the clutch.

“We did a good job of getting runners on and moving them over today,” said Dan Ockerman, who had a big hand in getting things going in the second inning.

Bo White walked to lead off against losing pitcher Lucas Tucker before Zac Taylor reached on an infield hit to third to put runners on second and third.

The lefty-hitting Ockerman then lined a triple off of first baseman Thomas Service’s glove and the ball rolled up the Diamond Nation turf and into the right field corner for a two-run triple to give the team the lead for good.

“I just wanted to hit the ball to the right side to move the runners over,” Ockerman said. “It got through.”

Evan Zarroli followed with an RBI single to right to make it 3-1.

There was more timely hitting in the third, when the Red Sox sent nine men to the plate for an 8-2 lead.

Mason Ferrell delivered the big blow when he launched a two-run double to bring in White and Nathan Burawski, both of whom had walked.

L.T. Farley singled with one out, Jake Nikolow reached on an infield hit, and Logan Atkinson singled and later scored on a wild pitch.

Armed with an 8-3 lead after three innings, the Red Sox bullpen was efficient the rest of the way.

Ian Hyman relieved starter Farley with two outs in the second, and allowed two runs (one earned) in 1.1 innings. Logan Powell came on and pitched two scoreless innings. Ockerman, who’s coming back from an injury, threw a scoreless sixth.

“It was a hot day, and L.T. didn’t have it,” Riggs said. “Ian struggled a little but Logan threw well. Ock finished it out. I don’t usually like to go with someone for more than 3-4 innings. I want some of the others to get their work in.”

Like the hitters, the pitchers worked ahead for much of the game.

“We’ve gotta’ throw strikes,” Ockerman said. “The team we faced today wasn’t as strong as some of the other teams we have faced and they shouldn’t have scored. We need to pitch in the zone and good things will happen.”

Caden Crygiel walked and scored two runs for Accelerate. Tucker doubled and scored.

But it wasn’t nearly enough to keep pace with the Red Sox, who got things going with the sticks.

With Diamond Nation in their rear view mirror, the team will now embark on three other tournaments for the rest of the summer. They will go to Baltimore, Alabama, and Cincinnati in coming weeks.

“We have been up and down and moving all around,” Riggs said. “One week we play well, then we struggle. If we can find any consistency, we can be a good club.”

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