Joey Bonfiglio of Hit And Run Outlaws gets set to unleash some hitting fury in Blue Chip.
By Joe Hofmann
Aiden Mitchell is usually called on to close games, not start them.
“Whatever the team needs,” the Hit and Run Outlaws hurler said.
The Outlaws needed a dominant pitching performance in a low-scoring game and he delivered one in a 3-1 victory over Beast 2023 at the Blue Chip Prospects 17-18U Tournament held at Diamond Nation.
Mitchell isn’t your typical righty. He wasn’t overpowering (high 70s fastball) but got by with smarts, finesse and pin-point control. He dominated Beast hitters … without dominating stuff.
Most of all, he went the distance, twirling a three-hitter, striking out five and walking two, and hitting two batters.
“He gave us a chance to win and he competed,” coach Michael Pena said. “He’s a bulldog who was consistent with his mental approach. He attacked hitters and pitched to contact and that’s what made him successful.”
Mitchell pitched one-hit ball through five innings and allowed hits in the sixth and seventh but Pena had the faith in Mitchell to leave him in.
“It’s all about hitting my spots, not with velo, but with movement,” said Mitchell, who’ll be entering his senior year at High Point High School. “Growing up, I never threw hard and I needed to find a way. I practice every day trying to hit my spots. As I got older, guys began throwing harder. It was challenging for me not throwing hard at first, but I accepted the challenge and created my own style.”
That style was good enough to shut down Beast hitters.
The Outlaws scored once in the fourth and two more in the fifth to give Mitchell all the runs he’d need.
In the fourth, Cooper Moutz walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on Joey Bonfiglio’s 4-3 grounder to the right side, and scored one out later when Joey’s younger brother Marco delivered an RBI double over the center fielder’s head.
In the fifth, the Outlaws put two more runs up to make it 3-0.
Aiden’s brother Austin Mitchell walked with one out and came around to score when Massimino Mondi tripled up the right field line. Mondi wound up scoring when Will Ryan delivered a single to center.
“Those extra-base hits were huge,” Pena said. “Massimino has been training really hard and he’s been putting together some nice at bats.
“Marco has become a leader among his peers. He put together a nice at bat when he doubled. He fouled off a couple of pitches and then got his pitch to hit. I’m very impressed with him.”
Aiden Mitchell, meanwhile, kept inducing outs. He pitched 1-2-3 innings in the first and fifth. In the second, he hit Dylan Hammer with one out but then struck out the next two batters with fastballs.
He also showed guile with runners on base by picking off a pair of runners.
In the third, he surrendered a leadoff double to Michael Burns up the right field line. But Marco Bonfiglio made a beautiful pickoff throw from behind the plate to second and Burns was tagged out.
Beast batter Nicholas Columbano followed by walking — only to have Mitchell pick him off at first.
Then in the fourth, Mitchell picked off his second runner. He hit Tyler Barrero but then picked him off first a short time later.
Columbano got a measure of revenge in the sixth, when he looped a hit to right near the line that he hustled into an inside-the-park homer. Right fielder Austin Mitchell dove in an effort to catch the ball but the ball got past him and rolled all the way into the right field corner. Columbano, meanwhile, sped around the bases and scored.
Turns out, it was Aiden’s Mitchell’s lone blemish of the morning in what was just his second start of the summer. He closes games for High Point as well.
This past spring, his lone start resulted in him no-hitting Hopatcong in a Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament game with 12 strikeouts.
Mitchell also plays a terrific center field and batted .420 with six home runs for High Point. He’d like to continue his career after graduating High Point. Drew University has shown interest and he has been in contact with Iona and Wagner.
“I’d like to play two ways in college,” he said.
Knowing what we know about Aiden Mitchell, he’ll go — and excel — wherever that team needs him.