Luke Rennells had one of two RBI singles for the Dirty Dozen in the 14U Labor Day Blast.
By Rich Bevensee
After a summer chock-full of late rallies, Carlos Beltre knew his New York Gothams team was not in serious danger while trailing by a run and the game time limit quickly approaching.
That confidence was borne from multiple Perfect Game playoff appearances, a tournament championship and a summer which accounted for a .700 winning percentage.
The Gothams performed their magic once more on Saturday morning at Diamond Nation in Flemington, splurging for six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and sending the Dirty Dozen of Collegeville, Pa., to a 9-5 defeat in the 14U Labor Day Blast.
“I went up to them and said it’s time to hit – he’s throwing fastballs, make the adjustment,” Beltre said. “They made the adjustment and did what they had to do. I know the type of hitting team we are and they always come back and do what they have to do.”
Noe Mercedes, a rising freshman at All Hallows High School in the Bronx, lived up to his surname’s reputation by zooming around the bases for a two-run, inside-the-park home run to highlight the Gothams’ six-run fourth.
“Noe’s one of my top hitters,” Beltre said. “I was sending him all the way. As soon as I saw the cutoff get the ball, I knew he was going, going, going.”
Mercedes belted a one-out, high fly over the center fielder’s head and the ball bounced to the fence, 365 feet away.
“I wouldn’t say I was looking for a home run but if you know the ball is there and in the perfect spot, just swing away,” said Mercedes, who logged his sixth homer of the summer and his second inside the fences. “When I saw the ball past the center fielder I just said to myself, Run! To be honest it doesn’t matter if you’re tired, you just gotta score.”
The Gothams sent 10 batters to the plate in the fateful fourth and scored six times (five earned) on five hits, one walk and one hit batsman.
Hudson Reed scored from second on an outfield error following Edmun Daucher’s opposite field single to tie the game at 4-4. Maverick Stanick then laced a single through the hole at short to give the Gothams their first lead of the game.
“I was looking for a quality at bat, either get on base or get an RBI, anything to help the team,” Stanick said. “I know I don’t have to hit the ball over the fence. I know I have hitters behind me, in front of me. I don’t need to go crazy.”
Stanick, an upcoming eighth grader from Manhattan, pointed out that Saturday’s six-run rally was small potatoes for this Gothams group which charted a 37-16 record coming into this weekend. Just last week at Diamond Nation the Gothams scored 17 runs in three innings in a 17-0 verdict over Raiders Baseball in the 13U Summer Finale.
“We know we’re a very good team from playing in multiple competitive tournaments,” Stanick said. “We weren’t locked in as much at the beginning but once we are, we’re a very good team. We can string together hits because 1 through 10 or 11, we are very good hitters.”
It took a while for the Gothams to wake up all those bats.
The Dirty Dozen jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first without the benefit of a base hit, as Tyler Tindall scored on a balk and Gio Carbo drove in a run with a fielder’s choice groundout.
The Gothams tied the ball game at 2-2 in the bottom half of the first when P.J. Abramson stole third and advanced home on a throwing error, and Jordan DeJesus scored on a wild pitch.
The Dirty Dozen took the lead once more, 3-2, in the second when Luke Rennells poked an RBI opposite-field single through the right side. The damage may have been much worse if not for a web gem by Gothams pitcher Jake Rapoport. With the bases loaded and one out, he scooped up a Gio Carbo tapper and shoveled it to his catcher, Daucher, at home for the force out. Rapoport then got a strikeout to escape the jam, having yielded just one run.
The Dirty Dozen padded its lead in the third when Breylan Kupp scored on a Rapoport balk for a 4-2 lead.
The Gothams trimmed their deficit in half in the bottom half of the inning with a DeJesus fielder’s choice RBI. The Gothams suffered a brief setback when, with runners on second and third, Derek Soroa slapped one through the right side for what should have been a two-out, two-run single. But Soroa slipped on the turf running up the line and Dirty Dozen right fielder Jayden Trego threw Soroa out at first.
The Gothams waited just one more inning to unleash their offense. Reed reached on a walk, Daucher singled and Reed eventually scored on a throwing error. Stanick knocked in Daucher to give the Gothams a 5-4 lead.
Julian Toro was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on a passed ball, and Mercedes roared around the bases for a two-run homer and an 8-4 Gothams lead. DeJesus added an RBI double to cap the rally.
After picking up a run thanks to a Chase Carpenter opposite field single to make it 9-5, the Dirty Dozen loaded the bases and sent the tying run to the plate. Toro, the Gothams’ third pitcher of the day, got a strikeout to cease any further damage.
Rapoport surrendered four runs on three hits, five walks and a hit batsman with five strikeouts in three innings. Hudson Reed pitched an inning and allowed one run on one walk and one strikeout. Toro may have loaded the bases in the final inning but all three of his putouts were strikeouts.
Dirty Dozen starter Caden Coleman pitched well enough to hold the Gothams to a single hit through his three innings of work. He allowed three runs (two earned) on that one hit and three walks and he struck out five.
Tindall pitched ⅔ of an inning and allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits and a walk with one strikeout. Kupp got the final out in the bottom of the fourth.
The Gothams were to face the Hunterdon Black Hawks on Saturday and then face 5-Star Northeast (Vilk) on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and ASBA Warminster 14U Blue on Monday at 9 a.m.
The Dirty Dozen suffered a doubleheader sweep on Saturday, having lost to Monmouth Liberty Baseball Club 5-1 before they faced the Gothams. The Dozen will take on Pride of the Diamond on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and FS Prime on Monday at 9 a.m.