MVP Day and company lead Allstars Academy to 12U crown

By DN WRITING STAFF | April 9, 2024

By Sean Reilly

Connor Day came to the plate for Allstars Academy in the midst of a big second inning for his team on Sunday afternoon at Diamond Nation. 

After loading the bases with one out, a total of seven straight batters reached base on either a single, walk or hit by pitch to keep the bases juiced as runs accumulated on the scoreboard. 

Day, the eighth hitter in that streak, capped it the best way possible. 

Even though he’s one of the smallest guys on his team, he unloaded a grand slam home run that just missed hitting off the scoreboard beyond the fence in left-center field on Field 6.

It was the capper to a 12-run inning that sent Allstars Academy to a 15-2, four-inning triumph over Grit 12U Orange for the championship of the 12U April Fools tournament in Flemington.

The win completed a 5-0 weekend with a 57-17 run differential for Allstars Academy, which hails from the Albany area in New York.

Day, who singled in a run earlier in the inning, earned tournament MVP honors after his five RBI performance.

“It’s really fun playing here,” he said. “I like the turf fields. I don’t really like dirt. I like the fields where they actually have fences.” 

On Sunday, he also liked hitting the ball over them. He went deep during his team’s 9-1 semifinal victory over Sandlot Baseball. 

“This was really, really fun,” Day said. “I was able to help my team out with my hitting and a little bit with my catching.”

Connor Day of Allstars Baseball Academy was named the 12U April Fool’s MVP.

Winning the tournament was no easy feat, since the field consisted of four four-team pools. Grit 12U Orange, from the Hudson Valley Region of New York, finished first in its pool with a 2-1 record, and advanced to the finals with an eye-opening 14-3 win over the powerful Diamond Jacks Super 12U in the semifinals. 

Allstars Academy starting pitcher Grayson Galusha was perfect through six batters to lead into the massive bottom of the second uprising. 

The frame began with walks to Diego Scotland and Jack McCloskey. Day then hit a ball to right field that the fielder had trouble locating in the sun. It went for an RBI hit.

After the next batter struck out, Joe Lichten walked on a full count to load the bases. That set up the sequence of bases-loaded at-bats which blew the game open. 

Luca Kelly singled in a run for a 2-0 lead. Gavin West singled in another. Galusha and Jude Miller followed with walks. Parker Newlove singled in the sixth run. Scotland was hit by a pitch and McCloskey walked for the seventh and eighth runs.

Up came Day for his second at-bat of the inning, and launched the home run.

“It was coming in fast and I had to time it up right,” he said. 

After an Allstars Academy pitching change, Grit 12U Orange scored twice with two out in the third. 

Dylan Amaro singled and stole second, and Mikey Garcia’s single advanced him to third. Garcia took second on a wild pitch, and both scored on Chris Oliva’s single to center field. 

Allstars Academy added three more runs in the third. Kelly led off with a first-pitch single to left field. West was hit by a pitch. A walk to Galusha loaded the bases. Miller was hit by a pitch to score a run, Newlove followed with an RBI single to left field and, after a ground ball force out at the plate, McCloskey was safe on a fielder’s choice to score the final run. 

West, Newlove and Kelly joined Day with two hits each for Allstars Academy.

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