Minyetty, Accurso lead FB Braves to 11U Summer Finale crown

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 28, 2023

By Sean Reilly 

Anthony Minyetty is an experienced and savvy baseball player, even if he’s still young enough to play for the Flores Baseball 11U Red. 

Not only does he possess skill, he’s also clued into the larger concept of how to compete. 

A case in point was his team’s championship matchup against the Richmond County Baseball Club Ghost 11U Nationals on Sunday afternoon at the Diamond Nation 11U Summer Finale Tournament, Powered By Victus. 

The Fairfield-based FB Braves have been one of the more successful organizations to play at all age levels at ‘The Nation’ in 2023. And if the Braves are among the best, RCBC teams are right there with them. 

It’s a fact that Minyetty was well aware of when he took the mound as his team’s starting pitcher in the final. 

“I had to really bring it,” he said. “I know that they’re a really good team and I had to go out there with all I’ve got. I had to have my best stuff.” 

Minyetty succeeded on all levels. He pitched a one-hitter that sent his team to a 4-1 victory and the championship in Flemington. He earned the tournament MVP award for his efforts. 

Minyetty, a left-hander, took his no-hit bid into the fifth inning. He ended with two strikeouts and two walks, both of which came in the first inning. 

He also benefited from several exceptional plays from his defense, notably by catcher Adrian Mercado, third baseman Michael Faulk and shortstop Jaiden Turi. 

“My fastball, change up and curve were really all I threw,” Minyetty said. “I was also able to throw strikes. And my defense, I can’t thank them enough. They were amazing. I love all of them.” 

While the pitching and defense were crucial, the FB Braves still needed runs to win. They were powered in that area by another tournament success story. 

Anthony Accurso was called up for the weekend from the Braves’ 10U team, and hit .571 during the tournament. He capped it off by going 2-for-2 in the final, with a two-run double that opened the scoring in the second inning. 

While the Braves benefited from six walks and a hit batter, those were their only two hits in the game. 

“I wasn’t nervous,” Accurso said. “I was just excited for the chance to play more baseball.” 

A key play in the contest took place in the top of the first inning, when RCBC had runners on second and third with two out. 

A wild pitch went to the backstop and the lead runner tried to score, but Mercado pounced on the ball and flipped to a covering Minyetty, who made the tag for the third out. 

It wasn’t the first time this year that Mercado showed fantastic reflexes behind the plate on Field 2. When the FB Braves White team won the championship of the Father’s Day Classic in June with a one-run, eight-inning victory, he recorded the final out by making an unassisted tag at the plate following a wild pitch.

Anthony Minyetty of the FB Braves was named 11U Summer Finale MVP.

The FB Braves took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, which began with walks to Nicholas Marino and Amare Garrett. 

Accurso was up next, and ripped a ball past third base and down the left field line for a double that scored both runners.

“That was awesome,” he said. “I wasn’t looking for anything, I just saw a pitch that I could hit and drove it down the line. It was great to get everyone fired up.”

After a one out walk put runners on first and third, the trail runner was caught stealing following a pickoff throw to first, but Accurso scored from third on the play. 

The Braves, who went 4-0 on the weekend with a 36-6 run differential, added their other run in the fourth after Turi led off with a walk and came around to score on a wild pitch. 

Minyetty, meanwhile, retired nine straight through the second, third and fourth innings. He was boosted by a brilliant play by third baseman Faulk, who caught a wicked line drive for the second out in the fourth.

Minyetty also set down the first two batters in the fifth, before the Braves committed their lone miscue on a dropped fly ball. RCBC then got its only hit when Frank Sblendorio doubled past third and into left field for an RBI. 

Minyetty still had to close out the game in the sixth, which was no sure thing against a potent RCBC team that scored four times in the bottom of the sixth for an 11-10 win over Prospects Gold in the semifinals. 

Chris McConnell led off the last inning of the final for RCBC by hitting a hard line drive that was caught by Turi at shortstop. If he didn’t catch the ball, it would have traveled to the left-center gap. 

Minyetty then retired the next two batters on a ground out to second and fly out to left field. 

The Braves were competing at the tournament as a late fill-in. Since it wasn’t on their original schedule, the roster was a mixture of players from its 11U Red and White teams, along with a call up in Accurso. 

“It was an awesome weekend,” Accurso said. “Especially when you’re young and the coach is proud of you and you were able to fire everyone up.”

Share With A Friend:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *