Monaco pitches in to lead Untamed Exposure to Super 17 sweep

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 29, 2023

Untamed catcher Noah Falcon waits to tag runner after throw from right fielder Jordan Jones.

By Sean Reilly 

Jake Monaco was supposed to pitch for Untamed Exposure in a showcase tournament over the coming weekend, but he considered the chance to boost his team on Friday morning at Diamond Nation to be more important.

Untamed Exposure, with players from mostly Union and Middlesex counties, was facing the Shore-based Spartan Baseball 2024 in an 8 a.m. matchup.

The game was a makeup of a Tuesday afternoon rainout, and both teams entered with 3-0 records. That meant the winner would likely be one of the five squads in the 53 team field to qualify for the Super 17 Top 25 the week of Aug. 14-18 at ‘The Nation.’

For Monaco, who is a rising senior and starting pitcher for New Providence High School, and primarily an infielder for Untamed Exposure, the chance to deliver for his team in a high-stakes game was too much to resist. 

“We knew that the winner of this game would probably get the spot,” he said. “We had played good baseball all week. I have played a lot of shortstop, and I pitch when I have to, and today we didn’t have any other guys.”

Monaco wound up throwing a complete-game four-hitter, with five strikeouts and one walk, as Untamed Exposure gained a 2-1 victory to earn one of the invites to next month’s event.

“He’s a starter for his high school team, but for us he’s more of a position player,” said Untamed Exposure coach Ralph Yezza. “Not that he couldn’t pitch, but we have other guys as well. The rain out really messed up our whole pitching rotation. He gave up his slot for a showcase this weekend because we were 3-0 and the kids wanted to win. We knew we could blow him out today. He did a nice job. He was very effective. I would have been happy with one or two runs over four innings, but he was throwing so well that I couldn’t take him out.”

The score was tied, 1-1, until Untamed Exposure went ahead in the top of the fourth.

Jordan Jones hit a one-out single to center, and then stole second. Quintin Niemsyk (2-for-3) followed with a single to center, and Jones was going to hold at third base, but the ball was mishandled in the outfield, and he continued home with the go-ahead run.

That play contrasted with a play that Jones was involved in during the bottom of the second.

Spartan Baseball got on the board first in that frame, after Nate Clayton drew a one-out walk before scoring on a triple to right-center by Joel German.

Untamed Exposure pitcher Jake Monaco allowed one run on four hits over seven innings. 

Untamed Exposure had its infield playing in, but the next batter hit a ball to Jones, who was positioned relatively shallow in right field. Jones made the catch, and with the runner tagging up, he threw a seed to catcher Noah Falcon, who made the tag for a double play.

Untamed Exposure tied it in the top of the third. Falcon led off with a single to center, and advanced to third on an error and wild pitch while the next two batters were retired. Leadoff man Vincent Mariniello (2-for-3) then stroked a RBI single to center.

Monaco, meanwhile, allowed one baserunner in the third, fourth and fifth innings, and then pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, with each out coming on a ground ball.

He opened the seventh by getting a strikeout and ground ball out to third, before Clayton singled to center. The next batter grounded into a game-ending force out.

“That last inning, I threw one fastball, and it was on the last pitch,” Monaco said. “I started the game off with heavy fastballs, but then I was controlling the zone with the off speed, and they were in front of everything. Toward the end, I was throwing fastballs when I needed to because I was attacking the zone with all of my other pitches.

Untamed Exposure began its week with a 3-2 win over LVBA Prospects on Monday in which it scored three times in the top of the seventh to overcome a two-run deficit.

It then won twice on Thursday –  8-0 over the FBA Jays and 6-4 over Jersey Boyz Baseball.

“This was a very good week,” Monaco said. “The first game was really crazy and set a tone, and then we played well in the other two before this one.”

Share With A Friend:

Leave a Reply

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