Miller’s solid debut leads Iron Nine to Wood Bat shutout

By DN WRITING STAFF | September 9, 2023

Quinn Carlesimo scores for Iron Nine Baseball on first-inning wild pitch.

By Sean Reilly 

James Miller made his debut for Iron Nine Baseball a memorable one. 

The left-hander, who just began his junior year at New Providence High School, joined Iron Nine for the fall season which began with a Friday night matchup against ASBA Futures 2024 Red at the Diamond Nation 17/18 Wood Bat Championship, Powered By Victus. 

His results were splendid. Staked to a three-run lead in the top of the first inning, he allowed one hit over a five-inning stint, with 11 strikeouts against four walks, as Iron Nine Baseball gained a 5-0 victory in Flemington. 

“I was pounding the zone and using all my pitches effectively,” he said. “I was throwing a curveball and two-seam fastball. I also had more strikeouts than usual.”

“He was calm, cool and collected,” said Iron Nine coach Max Herrmann. “He threw very well. He’s a new piece to an established program.” 

Hermann is a Montclair Kimberley and Rutgers alum who reached Triple-A with the Angels in 2019.

The game was delayed at the start for almost an hour due to a wave of severe thunderstorms which swept through Central Jersey on Friday afternoon.

The game started with Quinn Carlesimo of Iron Nine hitting a single to center, and the next-batter Aaron Ives was hit by a pitch. Following a force out that left runners on first and third, the game was again delayed when another storm rolled in.

After play resumed, Carlesimo scored on a wild pitch and Dominic Schiavone hit a two-run double to right-center for a 3-0 lead. 

Miller then navigated through trouble in a tone-setting bottom of the first. He struck out the first batter, but hit the No. 2 man with a pitch. The runner advanced to second on a wild pitch before Matt Johansen doubled to the deep right corner on a full count.

The runner stopped at third, however, and Miller struck out the next two batters to keep ASBA Futures off the scoreboard.

Liam Sullivan leads off first base for Iron Nine Baseball. 

“I was in a pickle,” Miller said. “But I found the zone and got out of it.” 

Miller’s new teammates presented him with two more runs in the top of the second inning, which began with Liam Sullivan getting hit by a pitch and Jayden Diaz (2-for-2) legging out a hit to the right side of the infield. 

Carlesimo, who ended 2-for-4, followed with an RBI single for a 4-0 lead. After a pop out to third base, Garrett lined a first-pitch RBI single to left field to bring in the other run.

Miller, meanwhile, registered two strikeouts in each of the second, third, fourth and fifth innings before Aaron Ives relieved in the sixth and final inning. Ives pitched a 1-2-3 frame to conclude the shutout. 

“Getting a lead early helped me on the mound,” Miller said. “It let me pound the zone more effectively and make them hit the ball.” 

All in all, it was a great debut for Miller, who hadn’t pitched in several weeks after a late-summer break. He also wants to spend time in the weight room to build up more strength for next spring’s season at New Providence. 

Schiavone also ended with two hits for Iron Nine. 

Iron Nine played a second game on Friday, which resulted in a 7-1 loss to the Diamond Jacks Super 17U. ASBA Futures continues play against the Super 17U on Saturday.

There are no playoffs in the 60-team tournament. The top eight teams in the final standings after a three-game weekend qualify to compete in the Columbus Day Showdown at Diamond Nation on Oct. 9.

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