Chase Cohen of Jersey Shore Wildcats leads off second in Super 16 World Series.
By Will Harrigan
Powerballers Baseball coach Kurt Snyder will be the first to admit coaching his 16U team can be a rollercoaster.
His team is a streaky one that gets hot and cold even within games, but on this particular Friday to close out their Super 16 World Series, a hot streak put them over the top.
A ferocious six-run fourth inning proved to be just enough for the Powerballers, who notched a 7-6 comeback victory over Jersey Shore Wildcats at Raritan Valley Community College. The Powerballers – an organization that brought two teams into the event – saw its Snyder team finish even at 2-2, while the Wildcats went 1-3 on the week.
“To be honest, this kind game kind of sums up what we do as a team,” Snyder says. “We have a bad habit of going through the motions at the beginning of games, but more often than not we’re able to flip the switch. We got lucky today.”
Outfielder Jackson Gilman got the massive rally started in the fourth by lacing a single. Tyler Bonelli – the Powerballers pitcher who went the distance – followed that with a single to put two men aboard.
Blake Kornafel and Gabe Borsuk would both draw walks, the latter forcing in a run and forcing a Wildcats pitching change, all while cutting the deficit to 5-2.
With the bases still jammed and no one out, a fielder’s choice off Cody Quagliato’s bat scored a run and, even worse for the Wildcats, did not pick up an out.
Following a strikeout, Briar Breckon and Ben Connelly – the last two batters in the Powerballers lineup – delivered two-run singles to give the winners a sudden 7-5 lead.
But the Wildcats – a club chock full of players from talent-rich Shore high school programs Manasquan and Rumson – weren’t done either.
Two batters after Jake Childs reached on an error with one out, Lucas Jakubowski made the Powerballers pay by driving in a run and cutting the deficit to 7-6.
Jack Gamba-Ellis would take a Bonelli offering off his back to load the bases with two outs, but Bonelli recovered to fan Chase Cohen to end the festivities in dramatic fashion.
Bonelli wound up tossing four innings and struck out three. Only two of the six runs charged to him were earned.
“(Andrew) is a younger guy who we’re actually developing as a pitcher,” Snyder said. “He’s only thrown a handful of innings this year, but he kept the ball low and pitched to contact. He will absolutely get better as he pitches more.”
The Bulldogs built up their lead first in the second, when they put up a two-spot. Luke Ramire and Jack Maggs hit a sacrifice fly and singled, respectively, to get the Shore boys ahead 2-0.
An inning later, Childs would walk, take two bases on an ill-timed Powerballers fielding error, and score on a wild pitch to manufacture a run and up the advantage to 3-0. Maggs added an RBI single in the fourth to make it 5-1.
Way back in the first, the Powerballers scored the game’s first run when Gilman drove in Benjamin Dayton on a sacrifice fly to left. Dayton had singled and stolen two bases to make his way to third base.