By Sean Reilly
No team competing at Diamond Nation lives up to its name more than the NY Dynasty 10U.
The Staten Island crew is among the most successful visiting teams in any age group, and this weekend was no exception.
The NY Dynasty returned to Flemington for the 10U Mother’s Day Classic, and went home with the championship after defeating DTA of Toms River, 8-4, to complete an unbeaten four-game showing that included a 43-7 run differential.
The NY Dynasty has played in four tournaments so far this spring at ‘The Nation.’ They won the April Fool’s Tournament on April 2, had a championship game rained out at the Williams Harley Davidson Tournament on April 30 and won the Spring Classic on May 7.
All of that comes after a 9U campaign in 2022 in which it won the Memorial Day Blast and then the Slugfest Tournament in its 10U debut during the fall.
Needless to say, the NY Dynasty enjoys its trips to Hunterdon County.
This one was especially so for two mainstays in the lineup, Zach Althoff and Gavin Snell. While they’ve now each earned five first-place medals playing at Diamond Nation, this weekend they were named co-MVP’s for 10U the tournament, which was a first-time honor for both.
“I love playing here,” said Althoff. “I love playing on the turf and playing good teams. And now it’s so nice to get the MVP.”
Althoff was 2-for-3 with a double off the top of the fence, and also made several critical plays at shortstop in the championship game. Snell also went 2-for-3, with one RBI.
“It’s awesome that we both get to be MVP for the first time,” Snell said.
They did so in support of winning pitcher Jake Romero, who worked five innings and two batters into the sixth. He allowed three hits, with five strikeouts and three walks.
There was no scoring in the well-played title game until the NY Dynasty broke through with a four-run bottom of the fourth inning.
With a runner on first base and two out, Snell and A.J. Sipas both reached on hard-hit infield grounders. That loaded the bases for Nicky Romano, who delivered a first-pitch grounds rule double to right field.
“It was a close game with the bases loaded, and I had to put the ball in play,” he said. “It was a fastball a little bit high.”
His two-run double was followed by a two-run single from Sean Hochmeister for a 4-0 lead.
On the mound, Romero gave the team plenty of length while allowing no runs until Chase Eberle of DTA was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded with two out in the fifth. The next batter was retired on a ground out to Althoff at shortstop, who had earlier made a nice play on a grounder to retire the side with two out and runners on second and third in the third inning.
The Dynasty, which on Sunday wore their alternate uniforms that saluted the Armed Forces, broke the game open with a four-run bottom of the fifth.
With one out, leadoff man John Iacono (2-for-3) singled to center, and Althoff followed with a single to left field. Dean Scarangello reached on a two-base error that scored Iacono and sent Althoff to third. Romero (2-for-3) then hit a two-run single to center and took second on a throw to the plate. Snell then hit an RBI single with two out for an 8-1 lead.
DTA made a rally attempt in the top of the sixth. Brody Weyandt led off with a single and Rex Frazier was hit by a pitch, after which Romero exited. His reliever got the next batter to hit a fielder’s choice which forced out the lead runner at third. Louie Giancola then singled to center to load the bases.
Landon McHugh was up next, and he hit a two-run single to left field. Madden Demelia followed with an RBI single to center to get DTA within 8-4, and Liam King was hit by a pitch to reload the bases.
The next batter popped out to second base before a strikeout ended the game, giving the Dynasty the win that improved their overall spring record to 13-2 at Diamond Nation.
The team will be back in Flemington in two weeks for the Memorial Day Blast before the players, who also compete in Little League competition in Staten Island, embark on summer All-Star season.
“I really like coming here,” Romero said. “I love the turf, I love the fields, I love the people and I love my team.”