OOTP Cyclones continue magical spring with 13U Spring Classic title

By DN WRITING STAFF | May 6, 2024

By Sean Reilly

Doing little things right has produced incredible results for the Out Of The Park Cyclones 13U Prospects. 

Then again, it’s hard to find a single thing that the Green Brook-based team hasn’t done well since moving to the big 60-90 playing field last fall. 

The OOTP Cyclones visited Diamond Nation for the third time in 2024 over the weekend for the Spring Classic, Powered By Victus. 

For the third time, they rolled to a championship. The clincher was an 11-0, four-inning victory over the Diamond Jacks 13U Gold, behind a no-hitter from Dylan Boehm.

This weekend, the Cyclones went 5-0, with two of the other wins also no-hitters that were thrown by Vincent Donofrio (with help from Cole Webster) and Cody Alicea.

Andrew Schmeider, who had four hits and eight RBI along the way, was selected tournament MVP. 

Schmeider, who played in left field throughout the weekend, has no intention of resting on the early-season success, and neither do his teammates. 

“We want to keep doing what we do best,” he said. “Which is winning, and doing all of the little things right.” 

It has also created a situation where players want to match the success of those around them.

 A case in point was the pitching effort of Boehm in the final. He struck out two and walked three, while not allowing a runner past second. 

After watching his teammates throw no-hitters, he was determined to give his all as well. 

“My fastball was working really well,” he said. “I also trust my infield and my outfield. I knew I could put the ball over the plate and that they could make plays. Watching the other guys pitch well also made me want to do the same thing. We also push each in practice. It’s awesome. We feel on top of the world and that no one can beat us.” 

The results so far this year, and dating back to last September, certainly back him up.

Andrew Schmeider, who had four hits and eight RBI, was selected tournament MVP. 

The Cyclones, who previously won the Easter Extravaganza and April Fools tournaments this spring at ‘The Nation,’ have an overall record of 19-0 in 2024, with a run differential of 212-34, and eight wins by shutout. 

In the three Diamond Nation tournaments, the Cyclones are 14-0 with a 150-12 run difference. 

“It’s great playing here,” Schmeider said of competing at Diamond Nation. “It’s a really nice complex, with a lot of competition and good players overall.” 

The Cyclones also went 17-2 last fall after making the move to the bigger field. Eight of those wins were by shutout. 

Prior to that, the Cyclones were one of the best small-field teams to play at Diamond Nation while aging up to their current level. 

To win the Spring Classic, the Cyclones had to defeat a Diamond Jacks 13U Gold team which entered 4-0 on the weekend, with a 28-9 run difference. 

The Cyclones jumped up a 5-0 first-inning lead that showcased some of the little things which Schmeider emphasized. 

Leadoff man Lucas Bolton worked the count to 3-2 and then walked. Dylan Pudlak also walked, and Alicea sacrificed them into scoring position. 

Lucas Funk singled in front of the pitcher, scoring an alert Bolton and sending Pudlak to third. Funk also stole second. 

Schmeider then had an odd at-bat which emphasized the team’s commitment to hustle. A strike-three pitch bounced on the turf. Schmeider hustled down the first base line, resulting in a throw into right field. Not only did Pudlak come home, Funk raced in from second. Schmeider also advanced to second. 

James Esposito followed with an RBI single to center, and wound up at second base after a throw. 

Esposito went to third on a wild pitch, and scored the fifth run as Webster was credited with an RBI while reaching on a throwing error on his grounder to third.

The other runs came in the third inning, which began with Alicea’s standup triple on a ball that rolled to the fence in left-center. He scored when Funk followed with a first-pitch opposite field single to right field. 

The inning also included an opposite field RBI double to right field by Esposito on a 0-2 pitch, an RBI single by Ethan Mecchi and RBI triple to right field from Donofrio. 

Even an out during the frame worked out well, as Schmeider was retired after a prolonged rundown between third and home that allowed two runners to reach second and third before they eventually scored. 

The Cyclones added a defensive exclamation point in the clinching top of the fourth by turning a 6-4-3 (Pudlak to Gianni Cenicola to Donofrio) doubleplay after Tucker Gallagher drew a leadoff walk for the Diamond Jacks. 

Funk and Esposito went 2-for-2 for the Cyclones. 

Aside from receiving a commemorative Victus bat as the MVP, Schmeider is also feeling more comfortable now that he’s found a bat size to his liking. 

“Weighting-wise, I had to adjust my swing,” he said. “It worked out really well this weekend. This has been a great experience. We had some really high expectations for this season, knowing we had a really good squad, but nothing is taken for granted.”

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