Ethan Paluszek scores game-ending run for Team Elite Liberty on single by Jacob Saladis.
By Sean Reilly
Ethan Paluszek has a simple approach when he’s in the batter’s box for Team Elite Liberty 15U.
“I’m just trying to take consistent swings at the plate,” said Paluszek, who recently completed his sophomore season at Poly Prep in Brooklyn. “If I do that, I’ll be happy at the end of the day.”
Paluszek, the cleanup batter for Team Elite Liberty, had reason to be pleased on Tuesday afternoon at Diamond Nation. He went 3-for-4 with three separate RBI hits as his team defeated NY Prospects 16U Belson, 10-2, in a 16U Blue Chip Prospects contest in Flemington.
“We play well together,” Paluszek said. “We all trust each other out on the field. If there’s a double to lead off an inning, we find a way to get him over to third and the next guy can do his job and get him in.”
Team Elite Liberty took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. After the first two batters flew out, Owen ten Oever drew a base on balls. Paluszek then delivered an RBI double to center field.
NY Prospects Belson tied the game in the second after Vincent Aiello led off with a walk and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Richie Bronzo.
Team Elite Liberty regained the lead in solid fashion in the bottom of the inning. Catcher Jacob Saladis walked with two out and was replaced by courtesy runner Owen Wallace. A double by Matei Vasiliu put runners on second and third for leadoff man Jack Roventini, who dropped down a perfect bunt single to score Wallace.
Team Elite Liberty, with a roster made up mostly of prep school players from New York, broke the game open when it sent 10 to the plate and scored six times for an 8-1 lead in the fourth.
Cillian Morrissey led off with a single and Saladis walked, before Vasiliu singled to center to deliver one run, while a misplay in the outfield scored another and sent Vasiliu to second. John Calbrese, ten Oever and Paluszek followed with RBI singles for a 7-1 lead. Mateo Noto hit a two-out double to right field for the sixth run of the inning.
NY Prospects Belson got an RBI single from Stephen Doty with two out in the top of the sixth before Team Elite Liberty ended the game via the mercy rule in the bottom of the inning.
Paluszek’s third hit was a one-out single to right field that delivered Calabrese, who began the inning with a double. Walks to Noto and Morrissey loaded the bases with two out for Saladis, who singled home Paluszek with the game-ending run.
Dan Desmond went the distance for the victory. He allowed two runs on five hits, with five strikeouts.
Notes: Team Elite Liberty is now 1-1 at the event, bouncing back nicely from an 11-0 loss to Baseball U Philly on Monday. It next plays Diamond Jacks 15U Gold on Wednesday. NY Prospects Belson, with a roster full of Staten Island players, is also 1-1. It beat Full Count Baseball, 6-0, on Monday and meets TKR Reds on Wednesday.
The NY Prospects Belson coaching staff includes one of Staten Island’s all-time greats, Jason Marquis. A first-round draft choice by the Atlanta Braves out of Tottenville High School in 1996, he had a 124-118 pitching record over a 15-year career in the majors. He is also one of the few players in history to pitch in both the Little League World Series and the MLB World Series (with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006). His son, Andrew, plays for the NY Prospects Belson.