Perlin powers Elkridge Hurricanes to 15U Home Run Classic sweep

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 2, 2024

Elkridge Hurricanes first baseman Cayden Musick handles throw from Maison Walsh for an out. 

By Sean Reilly

The game was scoreless when Zach Perlin came up to bat in the top of the sixth inning for the Elkridge Hurricanes on Saturday morning at Diamond Nation. 

Perlin, who was also pitching a one-hitter to that point, was the batter with Logan Scheeler on third base with one out.

The Hurricanes’ coach wanted Perlin to try a squeeze bunt. Perlin, who hits atop the order, convinced him to think otherwise. 

“Coach pulled me aside and said ‘Suicide squeeze,’” Perlin recalled. “I was like ‘No, let me hit.’ I got to two strikes, and I was kind of nervous, so I just tried to get the ball in play.”

With the infield playing in, Perlin hit a grounder to second. And with Scheeler racing home, there was no play at the plate, so the resulting ground out resulted in an RBI that sent the Hurricanes on to a 4-2 victory over Grit 15U at the 15U Home Run Classic, Powered By Victus, in Flemington. 

Perlin had allowed his first hit, a single by Jack Spitaleri, with one out in the fifth inning, and the Hurricanes expanded the lead to 4-0 in the seventh. 

He began to tire in the bottom of the seventh, and allowed a two-run single to Spitaleri with two out. He then exited in favor of Blake Kolarek, who got a game-ending strikeout with runners on first and second. 

The Maryland-based Hurricanes followed with a 9-0 win over ASBA Futures Red to finish the day with a 2-0 record. Perlin was 2-for-2 in that game, with a walk and three runs scored. 

In the contest against the North Jersey-based Grit, Perlin allowed his first base runner on a hit by pitch to start the fourth. That runner was erased stealing and Perlin struck out the next two. 

His pitch count began to climb in the fifth, when got a full-count ground out to shortstop to start the inning, before Spitaleri singled on a full-count liner beyond the first baseman. The runner stole second, but he got out of the inning without further damage. 

The Hurricanes began the sixth with a single to third base by Scheeler. He stole second on the first pitch to Lane Wolters, who bunted him to third. The RBI ground out from Perlin followed. 

The Hurricanes tacked onto their lead in the seventh. The inning began with singles to left field by Ben Conlon and Kolarek. Connor Brown followed with a sacrifice bunt that resulted in an overthrow to first base that scored Conlon.

Maison Walsh was the next batter, and was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Wolters walked to force home Kolarek, and Scheeler scored the final run on a passed ball. 

The Grit rally attempt in the bottom of the seventh commenced with singles by Alex Croce and Luke Porcelli. A critical out was recorded when catcher Connor Brown scrambled to catch a pop foul bunt. Perlin struck out the next batter, and a single by Wyatt Morrissey loaded the bases. Spitaleri followed with his two-run hit to left field. 

Perlin’s final line was 6.2 innings pitched, five hits, eight strikeouts and one walk. 

“I was trying to go for the radar and throw hard,” he said. “But the curve ball was working and I felt good. Once we got the run, I felt a lot more comfortable. I lost it a little bit at the end, but overall it was a pretty good outing.” 

The Grit received a solid pitching effort from Lorenzo Vaccari, who worked the first two innings, and T.J. Gloster. They allowed a total of six hits.

Ben Brown and Ben Conlon both went 2-for-3 for the Hurricanes. 

Ben Brown was also a hitting star in the second game, going 2-for-2 with a triple, home run and three RBI. 

The Hurricanes will complete pool play on Sunday morning against the 2-0 Diamond Jacks Super 14U, with a first-place finish and playoff berth at stake. 

Grit 15U ended Saturday with a 9-3 loss to the Diamond Jacks Super 14U. The Grit will complete their tournament on Sunday morning against the ASBA Futures Red (0-2).

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