Cardinals’ Jason Habedank eyes a pitch in 15U World Series game at Diamond Nation.
By Joe Hofmann
One baserunner crossed home plate. Another followed. And another … and another … and another.
Would the top of the third inning ever end?
It did – 14 runs, 10 hits, seven walks, and a whole lotta high-fives later.
Those weren’t the Bugs Bunny’s Gashouse Gorillas. They were the North Jersey Cardinals and they did what they do best – crush the baseball.
The Cardinals went on to beat Futures White, 22-8, in the 15U Diamond Nation World Series on Wednesday.
Coach Frank Dasti’s team pounded out 14 hits, including four triples and three doubles.
The Cardinals have now piled up 45 runs in running their record to 3-0 in the tournament.
But they never put things together quite like they did during that third inning on Wednesdeay – and likely never will again.
“We know that we have a strong lineup,” Dasti said. “We have 11 guys who can hit. Even guys on our bench can hit.”
At the rate they were going, Dasti could have pulled parents out of the stands and they would have poked one up the alley for extra bases.
Once the team rubbed the sleep out of its eyes, the hitting was that contagious.
Incredibly enough, the Cardinals trailed 6-3 after two – and then they took it not to the next level, but the next stratosphere.
“We were overanxious early, but we settled in,” Dasti said.
Did they ever.
That third inning will forever live on in North Jersey Cardinals lore. Players will one day tell their grandkids about the incredible hitting display they were a part of – and their grandkids might not believe it.
*The first 13 Cardinals hitters reached base before a single out was recorded.
*They were one batter short of batting around twice, despite using an 11-man lineup.
*21 batters came to the plate.
*They launched three triples within a four-batter span.
*They had five extra base hits during the rally (two doubles and three triples).
*Eight of the lineup’s 11 batters had at least one RBI during the inning.
*Seven different batters drew walks.
“We passed the baton,” Dasti said. “We used the middle of the field and went gap-to-gap. We have a strong lineup and the bottom of the lineup kids battled.”
Jason Habedank and Dasti’s son, Frank, opened things up with walks. Then Alex Adornato, Harry Woodard, and Michael Ramirez hit RBI singles. Robbie Lynn launched an RBI double before Tyler Weber hit an RBI single.
Nick Filipponi walked before No. 9 hitter Dylan Gardner ripped an RBI triple for two more runs. Dominic Labisi followed with an RBI triple of his own before Chris Rodriguez walked.
That set the stage for Habedank’s two-run triple and Dasti’s RBI double. Adornato made the first out of the inning — lining out hard to center — before Woodard walked and Ramirez singled.
Remarkably, Ramirez was the only batter with two hits during the inning, although five others reached base twice apiece with a hit and walk.
“Even though some of the kids are at the bottom of the order here, they are at the top of varsity lineups during the high school season,” he said, referring to guys like Gardner and Labisi. “They can hit with power, they can hit-and-run and bunt. We have a lot of options. They are fun to coach.”
“Our lineup goes one through 10, one through 11, however many we are gonna bat,” Frank Dasti, the coach’s son, said. “We have a bunch of kids that give tough at bats on each and every pitch. We have gap hitters and clutch hitters, no matter what the moment is.”
The team has been together since they were 13 years old and the majority of them are in their third season together.
“We’ve built on as needed,” Dasti said. “This summer, we knew we’d be able to swing the bat.”