Offensive outburst and power pitching lead Sport Zone 14U

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 13, 2023

Nick Meluni of Sports Zone 14U went 3-for-3 with three RBI and scored three runs.

By Luis Torres

Even Nick Meluni was stunned when the ball he hit just kept on going.

Meluni barreled up a ball in the top of the third inning, hitting it sky-high to right field. The ball just kept carrying and carrying, and by the time the ball eventually got past the right fielder, Meluni was already rounding first base. 

The ball almost got to the right-field wall, and by the time the ball was back to the infield, Meluni was standing on third after a two-run triple, extending his team’s lead.

Meluni’s triple was the big hit as part of an eight-run third inning as Sport Zone 14U UA cruised to a 13-3 win in four innings over Game On Fury Elite in 14U Diamond Nation World Series play on Wednesday at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

Meluni finished the day 3-for-3 with three RBI, three runs scored and a walk, with his triple being his biggest hit of the day.

“I was surprised off the bat,” Meluni said. “I saw it going and I was just (running) hard out of the box. I was trying to get on three, maybe come home. But a triple is a triple. I’ll take it any day.”

The eight-run third inning punctuated an offensive outburst by Sport Zone 14U. A total of 13 hitters had an at-bat in the frame, which started when Luis Garcia ripped a leadoff double.

By the time the inning ended, Sport Zone 14U held a 12-2 advantage.

“(On Tuesday), I don’t know what it was, but when we got runners on second and third and less than one out, we couldn’t get them in,” said Sport Zone 14U coach Dave Meluni, Nick’s father. “And today, in the first inning, we did the same thing and scored a couple. Baseball is a funny game. As soon as we did that, that one inning became contagious, and it was hit after hit after hit.”

Aiden Nori limited Game On Fury to three runs on five hits over four innings.

That run support was more than enough for starting pitcher Aiden Nori, who used a combination of an overpowering fastball with a solid breaking ball.

Nori’s fastball was up to 78 miles per hour, according to the on-field radar gun at Diamond Nation. He scattered five hits in four innings while striking out three. He limited Game On Fury Elite to three runs after it had scored 28 runs during its first games of the tournament.

“He did a really good job,” Dave Meluni said. “He’s been working the breaking ball. He’s been up to 76-78, and you have a team like (Game On Fury Elite), who did a really good job in the first inning and got two to three hits. From then on, he did a really good job of commanding the off-speed.”

Tyler Venturini went 1-for-2 with two RBI for Game on Fury Elite.

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