NY Grays strike early and often in 15U World Series

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 7, 2023

Patrick Diaz of the NY Grays tags out Luca Offa of 9ers Baseball Club.

By Joe Hofmann

One by one, the N.Y. Grays grabbed a bat, reached base, and came around to score.

Would the first inning ever end?

It did – but only after the Grays scored 10 runs. A short time later, the Grays finished up an 11-1 Mercy Rule victory over the .9ers Baseball Club in the 15U Diamond Nation World Series on Thursday morning.

The Grays came in having lost three games in a row and had a giant-sized chip on their shoulders.

They went out and took their frustration out on the .9ers.

The Grays sent 14 batters to the plate in the first inning. Nine different players scored at least one run. They saw their first seven men reach base. They accumulated eight hits and four walks on the way to a 10-0 bulge after one inning.

“We really strung it together from top to bottom,” winning coach Steve Hudec said. “I’m confident in what they can do. They made me look good.”

We also found out something else about the Grays: Don’t ever make them mad.

The team showcased its potential in a 15U Perfect Game tournament in Long Island, when they knocked off Team Francisco of Long Island, which came in ranked 39th in the country.

But then they lost their next game in Long Island and then lost their first two games at Diamond Nation earlier this week.

No wonder the Grays came into the game against the .9ers seeing red.

“We lost three and it was time to step up,” said Mekhi Ellison, whose two-run double up the left field line got things going for the Grays. “We knew we were better than what we had shown and showed what we could do if we played as a team.

“We wanted to step up and get some hits and some runs early.”

Mission accomplished. The Grays were relentless in the first inning and were far enough ahead that Hudec was able to get starting pitcher Max Schoenfeld out of the game after pitching a 1-2-3 first inning with two strikeouts.

“No need to waste our pitching,” Ellison said.

“Max doesn’t light up the radar gun, but he can throw four pitches for strikes at any time in the count,” Hudec said. “I can now use him in our next game (against Hamilton A’s Nation at McKnight Field Thursday afternoon). He has a rubber arm.”

Adrian Camilo, who’d go on to pitch effectively in relief for two innings, led off the bottom of the first with a walk and moved to second on Daniel Walker’s walk.

Patrick Diaz (2-for-2, 2 RBIs, 1 run scored) lined an RBI single to left for one run before Ellison laced his double to make it 3-0 off losing pitcher Joe Mawo. After Rafael Valle singled to make it first and third, he and Ellison embarked on a double steal. .9ers catcher A.J. Magistrelli’s throw to second was late and Ellison took off for home, scoring easily to make it 4-0.

It didn’t end there. Anthony Fermin singled, Chris Paredes hit a sacrifice fly (making it 5-0), Nathan Bisceglie (2-for-2, RBI) singled and No. 10 hitter Brendan DuBois hit a two-run single up the left field line.

One out later, Walker (two runs scored in the first inning) and Diaz delivered RBI singles.

“The first inning was exciting,” said Fermin (2-for-2, 2 runs scored), who’s been in the U.S. just one year after arriving from the Dominican Republic, through his interpreter, Camilo. “We got after their pitcher. We wanted this game really bad. We didn’t want to lose four in a row.”

They made certain of that immediately.

“The top 7-8 kids really hit the ball,” Hudec said. “The role players did their job. They get into deep counts and put the bat on the ball,” said Camilo.

The only thing wrong with the Grays victory was Diaz injuring his leg sliding into second.

“He’ll be fine,” Hudec said.

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