NY Gothams walk it off to take 15U School’s Out title

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 26, 2023

By Will Harrigan

Given how late the 15U Gold Division final of the School’s Out tournament ended on Sunday night, it’s probably a good thing that NY Gothams and HV Select Merritt players don’t need to worry about any final exams or textbooks this week.

In a classic pitcher’s duel that started at 10:14 PM and ended nearly two hours later, Joaquin Del Pino’s walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh gave NY Gothams a 1-0 victory over HV Select at Diamond Nation. Del Pino’s double may have been aided by fog that rolled in about five minutes earlier.

The Gothams capped off a perfect 3-0 record over the weekend and only surrendered two runs along the way. HV select – one of the Hudson Valley’s more prominent travel clubs – finished up at 2-1.

Gothams ace Yandel Ernesto, who came all the way from the Dominican Republic just to play with the squad this summer, garnered well-deserved MVP honors after tossing six innings of one-hit ball to lead his team to victory.

“That was a crazy game, and I honestly think we might still be playing if that fog didn’t come in. I think that’s a routine flyball in normal conditions,” said Gothams coach Felix Roche.

In that decisive inning, Kerick Tejada reached base on a fielding error by HV Select. Tejada would steal second shortly thereafter, and, two batters later, Del Pino hit a high but winding fly ball to left field.

Yandel Ernesto of NY Gothams was named 15U School’s Out Most Valuable Player.

The fog was so dense, Tejada made a bad read on the hit and started retreating to second before realizing it had dropped, ultimately leading to a relatively close play at the plate to end it.

The one run was all the support Ernesto needed, as he shut down the Gothams inning-after-inning, including retiring the last 10 batters he faced.

Ernesto only ran into serious trouble in the fourth, when a leadoff single by Mason Flanagan-Ditte was followed by a walk issued to Ayden Vitale. A sacrifice fly would advance both runners into scoring position, and, following another walk, the bases were loaded with two outs.

But Ernesto was able to wriggle out of it, inducing a liner to second base off the bat of Antonio Vinciguerra to escape further damage.

Anton Mosley pitched just the first inning for the Gothams.

“We wanted to let Anton get another inning of work after pitching a little bit in our first game,” said Roche, “then the plan was to turn it to Yandel,”

Meanwhile, HV Select pitcher Dylan DeMaro was also terrific, pitching five innings of two hit ball himself to keep the Gothams at bay.

The best opportunity the Gothams had in the earlier innings came in the third, when they put runners on the corners with one out. DeMaro would recover though, striking out consecutive batters to escape trouble and keep things scoreless.

Del Pino – who also singled with two outs in the first inning – was the only player with a multi-hit effort.

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