Nowak’s potent bat guides NJ Renegades at 12U King of the Diamond

By DN WRITING STAFF | April 14, 2024

Benjamin Silverstein slides into third base for the N.J. Renegades. 

By Sean Reilly

The NJ Renegades have played in a few tournaments so far this spring, but the 12U King of the Diamond marks their first appearance of the year  at Diamond Nation. 

That in itself gave Eric Nowak reason to feel good. 

“I like to play here,” he said of competing at the Flemington complex. “It’s a really good facility and I feel comfortable.”

The NJ Renegades have had great success the past few years at ‘The Nation,’ and are now getting it done at the 12U level. 

They were paired on Saturday afternoon against the Staten Island-based NY Dynasty, another highly-successful visitor to Diamond Nation, who are appearing this weekend with a catch – they are an 11U team playing up against older competition at the tournament, and the event is also their first of 2024.

The NJ Renegades put their extra year of growth and experience to use by gaining a 13-3 victory to complete a successful day that began with an 8-7 triumph over the East Fishkill Patriots 12U.

Rob Woodhouse is safe at first for the NY Dynasty.

Nowak had one hit in the opener, before erupting with a 3-for-3 performance against the NY Dynasty. 

The game was played on Field 2 at the complex, and in his first at-bat, with one out in the first inning, he unloaded a solo home run that sailed over the batting cages beyond the fence in right field. 

He came up again with one out in the second inning, and this time clubbed a double to deep center field. 

His third and final at-bat was in the fourth inning, and he hit another long bases-empty blast, this one hitting the roof of the batting cage structure in right field.

“I saw the ball pretty well,” he said. “I was just on time for all the pitches and hit them. I was more positive with myself in the second game, and had the right approach at the plate to hit better.” 

The Renegades added another run in the opening inning after loading the bases before Ethan Perkell was hit by a pitch. 

Three more Renegades runs came in the second inning. Gavin Neigel led off and was hit by a pitch. He stole second and scored on a hit by Chris Portman. Nowak was up next, and his double put runners on second and third. 

Liano Bisceglia’s ground out to shortstop delivered a run, and Nowak scored on a wild pitch for a 5-0 lead. 

The Dynasty got a run back in the bottom of the second after Rob Woodhouse reached on a force out and scored following three wild pitches.

NJ Renegades’ Eric Nowak went 3-for-3 with two long home runs, a double, three runs and two RBI.

The Renegades increased their lead to 7-1 in the third inning. The inning began with walks to Benjamin Silverstein and Perkell. They advanced to second and third on a double steal. Silverstein scored on a wild pitch, and Perkell scored when Kyle Jones grounded out to shortstop. 

The Renegades blew the game open with a six-run fourth inning. 

Nowak’s one out home run accounted for the first run in the rally. Bisceglia followed with a triple, and he scored on a base hit by Vihaan Garg. Gabe Gonzalez hit an RBI double for a 10-1 lead. Perkell added an RBI single, Sam Broder’s ground out brought in another run, and a hit to right field by Jones produced the last run for the Renegades. 

The Dynasty scored twice in the bottom of the fourth. Joseph Barone singled with one out and Gavin Snell followed with a double. 

Barone scored on a wild pitch, and Snell stole home on a double steal after Nick Romano reached base on a walk. 

The Renegades closed out pool play against the Morris County Cubs Navy (2-0) on Sunday afternoon, with a first-place pool finish on the line. 

The Dynasty concluded their weekend against East Fishkill (0-2) on Sunday afternoon. They’ll return to Flemington to compete against 11U competition later in the spring.

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