By Rich Bevensee
Sam Greer is developing a reputation, at least around the Diamond Nation complex in Flemington, for opening and closing his own games.
And no, that doesn’t mean he throws the first pitch, takes a snack break, and then re-enters to throw the last.
The last time Diamond Nation chronicled Greer in early June, the powerful right-hander with the PA Shockers pitched the first inning and struck out two, then slugged a three-run home run in the fourth inning to end the game thanks to the mercy rule.
Three months later, Greer struck again.
Pitching against Jersey Boyz Baseball in the 17/18U Wood Bat Championship on Sunday at “The Nation,” Greer struck out eight in the first three innings, then walloped his second straight run-scoring double in the fourth inning to end the game via the mercy rule in an 11-1 Shockers victory.
Eight of the nine outs Greer recorded came via strikeout. He pitched three innings and allowed one run on one hit and walked six.
“If you asked him he would say he didn’t have his best stuff,” Shockers coach Dan Long said. “He usually commands the zone a lot better than that, but he was out there competing and getting outs.”
Greer’s fastball lingered in the low 80s and topped out at 86, and he used his curveball and changeup enough to keep the Jersey Boyz off balance through 63 pitches.
“In the first inning my arm felt really good, threw strikes, had a few strikeouts and went from there,” said the 6-0, 200-pound Greer. “The fastball was pretty good, not my best stuff but pretty good. My changeup was good and the curveball was pretty decent as well.”
Greer slugged an RBI, grounds-rule double to fuel the Shockers’ seven-run third inning when they took an 8-1 lead, and he finished off the Jersey Boyz with a run-scoring double to straight away center field to cap his team’s three-run fourth.
Greer was asked if he thinks his focus is better at the plate when he’s locked in on the mound.
“You could say pitching helps me stay focused in my at bats,” said Greer, a junior at Central Bucks West in Doylestown, Pa. “To be honest, when I’m on the mound I’m focused on that so I don’t think as much at the plate. But I came out with two doubles today so that was good, but normally I’m focused on pitching.”
The Shockers went 2-0 this weekend, having beaten Time To Sign Prime, 2-0, on Saturday. Their Sunday game against the NJ Rising Rebels was canceled due to inclement weather. After a sunny and warm Saturday, rain was the theme on Sunday at ‘The Nation.’
“We had a really good summer and improved off of that this fall,” Long said. “It’s the same group of guys now so it’s nice to have the same chemistry because we know the lineup works. We hit 12, 13 guys who are making the most of their at bats, and we broke it open in the middle of the game.”
The game began as a promising pitcher’s duel, as Greer and Jersey Boyz starter Noah Kasper gave up single runs through the first two innings.
Ryan Bevensee, a junior at Union Catholic, accounted for the Jersey Boyz’ only run when he earned a two-out, bases-loaded walk to drive in Tyler DeRocco in the top of the second inning.
The Shockers tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the frame when Matt Fattore (Bridgewater-Raritan) tripled and later scored one batter later on Dustin McGuinness’ one-out, sacrifice fly to left.
The Shockers broke the game open in the bottom of the third. Greer began the carnage with a grounds-rule, RBI double to left, and leadoff man Matt Atchley knocked Kasper out of the box when he stroked a two-run double to left for a 4-1 Shockers lead.
Danny Schwalm and Cooper Natisin added back-to-back RBI sacrifice flies off reliever Sean Ferrone. Zach Wendel drove in a run with a single to left, he later stole second, and when he stole third, he took home on a throwing error for an 8-1 lead.
The Shockers padded their lead in the fourth when Jeremy Fallon curled a two-run double down the left field line, and Greer ended the contest with his second RBI double of the game.
Aiden Myers relieved Greer and pitched a scoreless fourth inning with one walk.
For the Jersey Boyz, Kasper surrendered six runs in two innings on three hits and four walks with four strikeouts. Ferrone pitched an inning of relief and gave up five runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks.
The Jersey Boyz bowed, 5-2, to NJ Rising Rebels 2024 on Saturday. After the Shockers game, the Jersey Boyz suffered a 19-1 setback against Northeast Pride 23 Scout.