Brodie Moye sizes up a pitch for the Nor’east Clippers.
By Rich Bevensee
There is always something valuable to glean from a baseball game, even when the hitting isn’t always there and the pitching is just good enough to keep a rally from getting out of hand.
On that point, NJ Rising Rebels 2024 coach Ray Diaz and Nor’east Clippers coach Ryan Roman can agree.
Ezra Sadowsky set the stage for a Rebels victory with his RBI single in the fourth inning, but Clippers courtesy runner Connor Hayes scored on a wild pitch in the fifth to forge a 5-5 tie in the 17/18 Wood Bat Championship, Powered by Victus, on Sunday morning at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
The Rebels finished off a 2-0-1 showcase. They defeated the Brooklyn Falcons, 6-5, and the TBT Ballers N.Y. 2024, 3-0.
The Clippers completed their weekend 1-1-1. They whipped the TBT Ballers, 14-0, and lost to the Brooklyn Falcons, 8-0.
The Rebels chose to use a pitch-by-committee system, with six players throwing one inning each – Colin Ferschman, Sadowsky, Devin Fogg, Finn O’Loughlin, Marty Edson and Joseph O’Toole.
Ferschman, O’Loughlin and O’Toole did not allow a run in their respective innings of work.
“I know a lot of kids like to get into a rhythm where they’re starting and they have multiple innings,” Diaz said, “but I think it’s a great learning tool, especially going to the next level. You don’t know as an underclassman how you’re going to be used at your school. You may be asked to spot start on a Tuesday night. You may not even start a game. You may be asked to give an inning. So you never know. And fall is all about learning and fundamentals, so getting multiple innings is not always the most important thing.”
Conversely, the Clippers, from Port Chester, N.Y., received a terrific effort from Ken Terrero, who entered in the second in relief of Brodie Moye and threw four solid innings, keeping the Rebels scoreless over the last two.
Whereas Moye was throwing mostly slower breaking pitches, Terrero, a junior at Pelham Memorial High in the Village of Pelham, N.Y., offered a drastic change for the Rebels to think about, mixing a high-70s fastball with his off-speed weapons. Terrero allowed two runs on two hits and five walks with three strikeouts. He also recorded the only extra base hit of the game with a double in the first inning.
Marty Edson crosses the plate for NJ Rising Rebels.
“I liked that KT stayed ahead in the count, so he was able to be productive and move the ball in and out,” Roman said. “Most of the time he was ahead in the count and that helped him get guys out.”
Moye threw two innings and allowed three runs on one hit and three walks with two strikeouts.
The teams traded leads twice in a game where neither team led by more than two runs.
In a game where it became difficult to manufacture an offensive flow, it appeared the Rebels gained the upper hand in the top of the fourth. Sadowsky, a senior at Ridge High in Basking Ridge, shot a single through the right side to score Aiden Dill, and the resulting outfield error allowed Louis Friedrich to score from second for a 5-4 lead.
The Clippers countered with a run in the bottom of the fifth. After loading the bases, Hayes, running for catcher Sebastian Espinal who walked, scored the tying run by racing home from third on a wild pitch.
It was the third time the Clippers came back after the Rebels took a lead.
“I like that they fought to the end,” Roman said. “They were ready to go and competed. That’s what I’m looking for.”
The Rebels were the first to strike when leadoff man Devin Fogg scored on a wild pitch in the first inning. The Clippers tied the game on Chris Brown’s RBI single in the second.
The Rebels took the lead again at 3-1 in the third thanks to the last two hitters in the 14-man batting order. Nicholas Urioste forced in a run with a bases loaded walk, and Chase Zaikov plated another run with a sacrifice fly to deep center.
The Clippers claimed their first lead at 4-3 in the bottom of the third. Emerson Bulis knocked in a run with a bases-loaded fielder’s choice. An infield error on Moye’s two-out grounder allowed two runs to score.
To their credit, both teams exhibited an ability to scratch out runs when the offense wasn’t exactly clicking and the weather was not cooperating, making things slippery for pitchers and fielders alike.
“Especially at a game like this where the weather is tough and it’s really early in the morning, you have to pounce on opportunities and get one run at a time,” Diaz said. “Especially when you don’t know if the weather is coming in even harder or the game is going to get banged. You have to have the mindset to fight through it and pounce on opportunities.”