Northeast Pride Scout dominates 14U Red Summer Finale

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 22, 2023

By Joe Hofmann

The Northeast Pride 14U Scout team might have been the most aptly named team at Diamond Nation this weekend.

The team takes pride in its hitting, field and pitching. They take pride in their offseason work.

And they even took pride in their on-field celebration after winning the 14U Summer Finale tournament.

“We are very humble with everything we do,” catcher and tournament MVP Jacoby Harnen said. “We are not gonna brag in front of our opponent’s faces. Let our baseball speak for itself.”

“Nothing over the top,” shortstop Leo Nockley added. “It’s pride, it’s what we do. We base ourselves on class and we take pride in winning baseball.”

They certainly should. They went 4-0 and outscored their opposition, 37-3, in winning the 14U Red Bracket.

The team hit in the clutch, fielded, and had dominant pitching throughout the weekend.

“Our pitching was very good,” Harnen said. “Relief pitchers and starting pitchers were dominant all around. We really don’t have any wild pitchers. They are all very consistent in the zone.

“Our hitting was very dominant. It was a big, big weekend for us.”

It was Pride’s second title of the summer. They won the Happy Valley Invitational near Penn State in the middle of the summer.

They also took second in three other tournaments at Big Show (Leesport, Pa.), and two times at PBR (Courtland, N.Y.).

“We have a great group of kids,” coach Ryan Callahan said. “The team as a whole, we have been very consistent. Guys have found their groove on the mound and at the plate.”

Some of the numbers the team has put up are staggering, such as:

A whopping 225 runs scored.

Only 95 runs allowed.

A staff ERA of 2.04 ERA.

They were every bit as overpowering at Diamond Nation over the weekend, batting .329 as a team with 27 hits, eight doubles, three triples, and 27 RBI.

The pitchers fanned 20 batters and allowed just eight hits in 20 innings.

The capper was a 3-0 victory over the Hudson Valley Bulldogs Sunday night.

Winning pitcher Michael Jamba was a little wild early but figured it out and combined with Jordan Serra and Dom Rynard to post the shutout.

“Michael got us through the lineup twice, allowed three hits, fanned one and forced them to put the ball in play and we made the plays,” Callahan said. “I’d rather a guy do that than go deep into pitch counts. After the fifth, I gave the ball to Jordan, a lefty. I wanted him to face their top-of-the-order guys, who swung the bats well. I wanted him to throw them off balance. He is a crafty lefty and is tough to square up with good movement. I trust him.

“He got us through the meat of the order, they had some lefties, and he got us through that.”

Rynard had pitched two 1-2-3 innings in getting the win over the N.Y. Grays on Saturday night before Callahan pulled him in order to save him if he needed him in the final.

Lo and behold, the coach then summoned Rynard to close things out and he retired all three hitters he faced to end the game.

Harnen was 1-for-2 with a double that hit the left-field fence on a fly in the finale. Harnen was 6-for-11 with three doubles and seven RBI on the weekend. He also threw out two would-be base stealers in three attempts.

“He is a great catcher,” Callahan said. “He has grown and taken pride in getting himself into better shape and better baseball shape. He had a great weekend. Him and Ozzie Vogel-Moore are amazing catchers. No matter who is behind the plate, I have all the confidence in the world in either one of them.”

Rynard was 1-for-2 and Nockley was 1-for-2 with an RBI and scored a run in the championship game.

Jacoby Harnen of Northeast Pride Scout was named MVP of the 14U Red Summer Finale.

The celebration was very matter-of-fact.

“Our guys, they celebrate a little bit, but this is what I love … their mentality is, ‘We come in to win,’” Callahan said. “They don’t celebrate too, too much. They put it on themselves. They had a job to do. They have expectations. They motivate themselves.”

The tournament began with Evan Harchar tossing a no-hitter in a 12-2 victory over 9ers Baseball on Friday night.

Harchar pitched five innings, fanned seven and walked two in the gem.

“He’s a great kid, kind of quiet,” Callahan said. “He absolutely goes out to work and is a great ballplayer with a lot of potential. His pitching has taken off compared to last year. He has put a lot of time into it and has reaped the rewards.”

In six appearances this summer, Harchar has a 0.88 ERA. He comes in and throws strikes and attacks the zone. He struck out 19 and walked nine while allowing just seven runs this summer.

The hitters did the job against the 9ers with 11 hits in just four innings.

Harnen was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Jamba was 1-for-2 with two RBIs, Rynard was 1-for-3 with a triple and an RBI, Vogel-Moore was 1-for-3 with two RBIs, and Kaden Zimorowicz was 1-for-2 with two RBIs.

Harchar was one of the hitting stars in a 13-1 victory over the N.Y. Grays Saturday night. He blasted a two-run triple to key a nine-run first-inning uprising to back the stellar pitching of Rynard and Cal Albright, who each pitched two effective innings.

Albright was 1-for-3, Harnen was 1-for-3 with an RBI, Nockley was 1-for-3 with two runs scored, Serra had a hit and an RBI, and Zomorowicz had a hit and two RBI.

Earlier on Saturday, Pride beat the East Coast Lumberjacks, 9-0, behind Serra, who pitched 3⅓ innings and fanned two.

Harnen went 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI. Alex Vacula was 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI. Jamba was 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Chris McCauley was 1-for-3.

“We 10-runned in the first three games,” Nockley said. “The hitting and pitching was great. Our pitchers kept their runs low and helped us advance to the championship game.”

Pride is not content with resting on its laurels. The team will move up to 15U in the fall and play in a Labor Day tournament at Diamond Nation before participating in Perfect Game tournaments in Palmyra (Pennsylvania), Staten Island, and Jupiter/West Palm Beach, Fla.

“They love their baseball,” Callahan said.

“We move to 15U next tournament and it’s gonna be great,” Nockley said. “We’ll be seeing better competition. It’s just another tournament for us. That’s what we do, go out and perform.”

It doesn’t stop in the winter, when many of the players train for baseball.

“In mid-October, we have the offseason and the weight room and get our guys better for next year,” Callahan said.

Nockley and some of his teammates attend Apex Sports Performance in Mountain Top, Pa., where they receive coaching from Sal Biasi, a former Kansas City Royals farmhand.

“It is individualized,” Nockley said. “I go all the time. They are really helpful. He helps me. I take pride in the offseason program, definitely.”

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