NJ Glory Stars exploded for eight runs in the first inning then fended off a relentless Rising Stars Gold club on the way to a 10-8 victory in the 13U April Blast championship game last night at Diamond Nation in Flemington, N.J.
Righthander Kyle Rogers earned the victory in the final for NJ Glory and was named the April Blast Most Valuable Player.
“Kyle had a bunch of extra-base hits for us in the tournament, too, and came up big on the mound in the final,” said NJ Glory coach Steve Teel.
It was the Rising Stars who struck first, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning on Cole Serfass’ one-out two-run triple and an RBI fielder’s choice grounder by Dylan Carfara. Zack Wendell and Sean Grady had ignited the rally with back-to-back one-out singles.
The Rising Stars, however, would find themselves on their heels in short order.
NJ Glory turned three hits, four walks and a pair of Rising Stars errors into an eight-run outburst in the bottom of the first. Payne Teel, who would later close out the victory for Rogers, drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home his team’s first run. Aiden Almeyda followed with a two-run single left field to tie the game at 3-3.
Aiden Choi then brought a run home on a grounder to the left side as Teel beat the throw to the plate. Mike Carcich hit a grounder to the right side that the Rising Stars pitcher fielded and raced to get the out himself at an unoccupied first base. Not only did Almeyda score from third on the play but Choi alertly raced home from second as well to boost the NJ Glory lead to 7-0.
Danny McClonnan’s single to left brought home the eighth run in the rally.
“We played well as a team,” said coach Teel. “Our guys picked each other up throughout the tournament.”
NJ Glory tacked on a run in the second inning on Justin Hernandez’s two-out single to left field. Gabe Kushner had triggered the rally with a leadoff single over third base. He moved to second on a passed ball. That run would actually prove decisive as the Rising Stars rallied in the fourth inning.
Chris Olah led off and reached on an infield error that seemed to open the gates to the big inning for the Stars. Jacoby Sauer then singled through the left side before Ray Schiavo reached on a pop fly to shallow right-center field that somehow fell.
“We had a bad inning there,” said coach Teel.
The Rising Stars would pounce on NJ Glory’s miscues. Evan Kovalcik brought the first run home on a fielder’s choice grounder, then Logan Higgins followed with a two-run single to center field. Serfass (2-for-4, 4 RBI) capped the uprising with a two-run single through the left side, drawing the Rising Stars within a run at 9-8.
“That team hit the ball very well,” said coach Teel.
But Payne Teel, who had entered the game after Higgins’ big hit, gained control from there. The righty would allow just one run on three hits over the final 2.2 innings, striking out one and walking one. He retired the last four batters, the top four hitters in the Rising Stars lineup, in order.
NJ Glory tacked on an important insurance run in the bottom of the fourth on three singles, the last by Robbie Carcich drove home Mike Carcich from third for a 10-8 lead. Mike Carcich and Aiden Heyward kicked off the rally with singles to center field.
“Payne came in and threw strikes,” said coach Teel. “He had those two lockdown innings and closed it with three straight pop ups.” NJ Glory received some big tournament at bats from Robbie Carcich and steady, strong defense from its shortstop, Hernandez.
NJ Glory Stars (4-0) outscored their tournament opponents 37-11 while Rising Stars Gold (3-2) held a 33-21 runs advantage on its opponents.
Here’s the rest of the recap from a busy weekend at Diamond Nation.
Baserats Baseball 13, Diamond Jacks 10U 6
Baserats Baseball defeated the Diamond Jacks 10U, 13-6, in the 10U April Blast championship game. Vincent Petruzzelli of the Baserats was named the 10U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Baserats (4-0) outscored their opponents 43-16 while the Diamond Jacks (3-1) held a 35-21 runs advantage on their opponents.
Hit Brigade 5, Delmarva Aces 11U East 2
Hit Brigade defeated Delmarva Aces 11U East, 5-2, in the 11U April Blast championship game. Cameron Rice of Hit Brigade was named the 11U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Hit Brigade (4-0) outscored its opponents 30-8. Delmarva Aces (4-1) held a 37-25 runs advantage on its opponents.
Diamond Jacks Super 12U 6, Morris County Cubs 3
Diamond Jacks Super 12U edged the Morris County Cubs, 6-3, in the 12U April Blast championship game. Dylan Wayne and Brevin Bezick of Super 12U shared the 12U tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. The Diamond Jacks (4-0) outscored their opponents 43-6. The Cubs (4-1) held a 41-21 runs advantage on their opponents.
Diamond Jacks Super 14U 5, AD Titans Select 2
The Diamond Jacks Super 14U defeated AD Titans Select, 5-2, in the April Blast championship game. Jimmy Mulvaney and Mark Gialluisi of the Diamond Jacks were named the co-MVPs of the 14U tournament. The Diamond Jacks (5-0) outscored their opponents 43-7. AD Titans Select (4-1) held a 43-10 runs advantage on its opponents.