The West Chester Dragons look very much like your everyday 11U baseball team. They are fine looking young athletes learning the game as fast as they can absorb it.
They also just happened to rake.
The Dragons unleashed their fire on a very good Delco Blues club, striking for four runs on eight hits in the bottom of the first inning on the way to a 13-4 victory and the 11U Memorial Day Blast championship game.
West Chester (5-1) had to survive a 3-1 grinder against the Diamond Jacks Super 11U (4-1) in the semifinals before catching its breath in the form of a 16-hit barrage in the final at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
Matty Pitz, who guided West Chester in the three-day event, both at the plate and on the mound, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“We just squeaked into the playoffs,” said West Chester coach Bill Roberts, “and it was truly a team effort to get in, reach the final and win it.”
Pitz had a double and a pair of singles in three championship game at bats, drove in a run and scored three times. But that was just the icing on a tournament long cakewalk at the plate for Pitz. He went 10-for-15 (.667), ripped four doubles and drove in eight runs. He also started and won a game in pool play and picked up a save in another.
“Matty hit well right through the tournament,” said Roberts. “He pitched well, too, and just stepped up for us in every way.” But Pitz was just one important piece in a deep and relentless Dragons lineup that would produce 64 runs in the tournament.
West Chester would jump out to an 11-0 lead on Delco Blues through the top of the fourth inning on the strength of 15 hits and righthander Derek Rozzi’s efficiency on the mound. Rozzi did not allow a hit through three innings while he issued one walk and hit a batter. Rozzi’s breaking ball proved troublesome for the Delco batters and his three quick innings allowed the hungry Dragons batters to jump back into the batter’s box and continue their torrid hitting pace.
Dylan Liu, Casen Rozich, Evan DeBellis and Kellan Gallagher provided RBI singles in the first around Pitz’s double. Liu tripled home a run in the second and Pitz and Rozich each singled in a run during the rally to boost the West Chester lead to 7-0. Gavin Yeager’s two-out single to center field in the third scored Tyler Homick to extend the lead to 8-0.
Matt Gannon was slotted at the bottom of the West Chester order at No. 12, nonetheless he drew a pair of walks, scored two runs and delivered two insurance runs with a double in the fifth. Such is the depth of the Dragons lineup. Gannon started the Dragons three-run rally in the fourth with his leadoff walk. He would score on Liu’s fielder’s choice grounder. Rozzi, who walked and stole second and scored later on a wild pitch. Pitz singled and later scored on Rozich’s infield single, boosting the lead to 11-0.
Faced with a possible mercy rule defeat, Delco Blues responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to extend the game. Julian Thornton drew a leadoff walk but was forced at second by Grady Forsberg’s grounder to shortstop. Michael Schaffer, however, followed with a double to right center that broke up the no-hitter and chased Forsberg to third base. Roberts took a stroll to the mound and pulled Rozzi for Yeager.
“Derek did a great job stepping up in a big spot for us,” said Roberts. “He really hasn’t had experience in a spot like that but he pitched great and was calm throughout.” Rozzi would permit just the one hit over 3.1 innings, striking out none and walking two. He also hit a batter.
The shutout went by the board when Gavin Bell greeted Yeager with a two-run double into left-center field. Bell would score on Michael Holloway’s double to shave the deficit to 11-3.
The Dragons were unaffected by Delco’s resurgence and tacked on two runs on Gannon’s double in the fifth inning to extend the lead to 13-3.
Jaul Gioffre led off the fifth for Delco with a booming triple to right-center field. He scored on Nolan Dulski’s fielder’s choice grounder to round out the score at 13-4. Yeager closed it out from there, enabling West Chester to cut the game an inning short via the 8-run mercy rule.
Rozich had two singles, a double and drove in three runs for West Chester, which outscored its opponents 64-24. Delco Blues (5-1) swung the bat well all tournament as well, holding a 66-37 runs advantage on its opponents.
MEMORIAL DAY BLAST RECAPS
Trumbull Travel defeated the Mid Atlantic Warriors, 10-5, in the 9U Memorial Day Blast championship game. Jake Feighery of Trumbull was named the 9U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Trumbull Travel (4-0) outscored its opponents 46-20. Mid Atlantic Warriors (3-2) held a 59-50 runs advantage on their opponents.
FB BRAVES ELITE
FB Braves Elite defeated Dream Chasers Academy 10U, 9-6, in the 10U Memorial Day Blast championship game. Jordan Hill of FB Braves Elite was named the 10U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. FB Braves Elite (5-1) outscored their opponents 71-22. Dream Chasers Academy (5-1) held a 77-34 runs advantage on their opponents.
WEST CHESTER DRAGONS
West Chester Dragons defeated Delco Blues, 13-4, in the 11U Memorial Day Blast championship game. Matty Pitz of West Chester was named the 11U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. West Chester (5-1) outscored its opponents 65-24. Delco Blues (5-1) held a 66-37 runs advantage on their opponents.
MA SHOW NATIONAL
MA Show National defeated the Diamond Jacks Super 12U, 14-2, in the 12U Memorial Day Blast championship game. Anthony Caruso of MA Show National was named the 12U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. MA Show (5-0-1) outscored its opponents 85-18. The Diamond Jacks (5-1) held a 59-34 runs advantage on their opponents.
DIAMOND JACKS GOLD 13U
The Diamond Jacks Gold 13U defeated the NJ Marlins, 6-3, in the 13U Memorial Day Blast championship game. John Rossman and JoJo Fava of the Diamond Jacks were named co-MVPs of the 13U tournament. The Diamond Jacks (5-1) outscored their opponents 61-27. The Marlins (4-1) held a 56-12 runs advantage on their opponents.
LEHIGH VALLEY REVOLUTION
Lehigh Valley Revolution defeated the Diamond Jacks Gold 14U, 9-1, in the 14U Memorial Day Blast. Ethan Johnson of Lehigh Valley Revolution was named the 14U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Lehigh Valley (5-0) outscored their opponents 51-12. The Gold 14U (4-1) outscored their opponents 29-13.
Trumbull Travel defeated the Locked In Expos, 7-0, in the 15U Memorial Day Blast championship game. Jeffrey Kraus of Trumbull was named the 15U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Trumbull (3-0-1) outscored its opponents 40-14. Locked In Expos (2-2) were outscored by their opponents 20-19.