Powerballers’ Eli Tuliscewski takes a handoff from his coach after blasting a home run.
By Luis Torres
Eli Tuliscewski rounded third base and got ready for the handoff from his coach, Evan Zwolenik, like a running back taking a handoff from a quarterback.
Tuliscewski had just blasted an opposite-field home run, and was about to put the finishing touches on his celebration after he got the handoff. His teammates were waiting for him at home plate, and Tuliscewski emulated his favorite player, Miami Marlins all-star infielder Jazz Chisholm, by hitting a euro step and stepping on home plate.
The two-run home run and the celebration were highlights for Tuliscewski and Powerballers as they defeated Full Count, 13-3, via run rule to open the 11U Beat The Heat play at Diamond Nation in Flemington on Friday.
Tuliscewski’s home run came in the bottom of the third inning and put the Powerballers up 11-3. He saw a curveball and didn’t miss it, knowing he got all of it as he deposited the ball over the right-field fence and channeled his favorite player’s swag.
“He’s my favorite player in the league,” Tuliscewski said of Chisholm. “I like his swag.”
Tuliscewski played with his own swag at the plate and at third base. He went 2-for-2, both of them being extra-base hits as he smacked a double to left field in the second inning. He scored three runs and had two RBI.
“He’s a great kid and he’s a great baseball player,” Zwolenik said. “As soon as he elevated that pitch on the outside (corner), I worked with him a lot this year on hitting that outside pitch, so I saw him elevate that one outside and didn’t really think it was coming back.”
The game was in hand by the time Tuliscewski cranked his home run.
Starting pitcher Nick Shenk opened the contest by getting the first three outs on just three pitches, setting the tone for how his team would perform the rest of the way. Shenk was efficient during his start, needing just 48 pitches to work through four innings, which pleased Zwolenik knowing he has a chance to come back on Sunday if the Powerballers make a run to the 11u Beat the Heat final.
“Definitely huge to start off the game with a three-pitch inning,” Zwolenik said. “That’s momentum. I told them I wanted to start out early and jump out of the gates, and that’s exactly what we did. Followed the game plan and just carried it on from there. For a kid at 11 to even go out and pound the zone like he did all game, that’s all you can ask for.”
Shenk ran into trouble as Full Count scored two runs in the top of the second but battled through the frame to keep his team ahead, 5-2. His offense picked him back up, scoring three runs in the bottom half of the frame, extending the lead to 8-2.
The swagger from Tuliscewski and the rest of the squad kept on going from there, which Zwolenik embraces.
“I think it’s Eli and the rest of our team,” Zwolenik said. “The main thing I focus on is having fun. Having fun at this age is huge and just going out with swag.”