Morris County Cubs Navy adapts to gain 16U Garden State win

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 15, 2023

Morris County Cubs first baseman Dylan Jordan lines up throw from pitcher Nick DeSena for an out.

By Sean Reilly 

For the Morris County Cubs Navy, its game on Friday morning against Langan Baseball was all about being able to adapt.

The Cubs had to make do without several key players, who were unavailable for the matchup at the Diamond Nation 16U Garden State Invitational.

As far as individual players go, starting pitcher Nick DeSena had to adapt as well, since one of his main pitches was not working to his liking. Things still clicked for the Cubs, who won their third straight game at the tournament by posting a 5-1 victory in Flemington.

Ben Nugent, a rising senior at Mount Olive, tripled and doubled in four at-bats and scored the first run for the Cubs.

DeSena, a rising junior at Seton Hall Prep, pitched into the fifth inning in the steamy conditions. He allowed four hits and one unearned run. The right-hander struck out five and walked two.

“My slider was on, but I couldn’t really locate my fastball much,” DeSena said. “I threw the slider more often and had a good defense behind me.”

The Cubs wasted no time in taking a lead. Nugent tripled to the gap in right-center field with one out in the top of the first, and next-batter Brodie Freker hit an RBI groundout to shortstop.

The Cubs added three more runs in the second for a 4-0 lead. The inning began with walks to Nick Struble and Michael Ferry. Joey Ronchetta followed with a double to left field that scored Struble.

After a strikeout, Andrew Garcia was hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases for Carter Seely. He was safe on a fielder’s choice error, which resulted in one RBI and two runs.

Carter Seely makes contact on RBI fielder’s choice for Morris County Cubs Navy. 

Langan Baseball, based in Monmouth County, scored its run in the bottom of the fourth. After the first two batters flew out to right field, Nick Diadema ended a string of six-straight retired batters by reaching on an error. John Lubin followed with a run-scoring double.

The Cubs scored their final run in the fifth. Dylan Jordan led off and was safe on an error. Struble had an infield hit, and Jordan followed with a steal of third. Ronchetta then supplied an RBI ground out to shortstop.

Ronchetta also relieved DeSena with two men on in the fifth inning. With runners on the corners, he picked off the lead runner at third. He walked his first batter, but picked him off at first. A strikeout looking ended the inning. In the sixth and final inning, the lone Langan baserunner reached on an error.

“This has been a good week,” DeSena said. “We’ve beaten teams, put up runs and pitched well. We were missing guys today, but we jumped on them. I just had to throw strikes.”

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