If this was the first tournament of the fall for the Powerballers, what happens when they get hot?
Unleashing a torrent of hits and six home runs over four games, the Powerballers rolled to the 12U Fall Classic championship last weekend, capping it with a 12-6 victory over the Diamond Jacks Super 12U in the final.
Bobby Grzenda, Brayden Kashner and Ethan Strawn each went 3-for-3 in the championship game for Powerballers, which struck for six runs in the top of the first inning to put the Diamond Jacks on their heels. Grzenda (RBI, 3 runs) and Kashner (3 RBI, run) ripped home runs in the game and Strawn drove home two and scored a run.
“I still struggle to separate someone as our tournament MVP,” said Powerballers coach Bob Grzenda, who smartly bestowed the honor upon his entire team. “Every kid contributed in one way or another.”
Jesse Neupauer and Carson Steingall combined to fend off the potent Diamond Jacks lineup, which did rally for three runs in the third and fourth innings to draw within two runs at 8-6. But the Powerballers tacked on three runs in the fifth and two more runs in the top of the sixth to forge the 12-6 final. Steingall closed it out in tidy fashion with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.
The Powerballers opened the tournament with an eye-popping 21-4 victory over the Beachwood Buccaneers, flexing their muscles immediately. But the most dramatic moment of the weekend for the Powerballers would be reserved for a tight contest with Jersey Storm in the second game of pool play.
Jersey Storm (2-1) and the Powerballers were tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning when cleanup hitter Brogan Perreault stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Perreault had an opportunity to win the game in walk-off fashion. All Perreault needed was a single or even a walk to play hero. But Perreault chose a much more dramatic ending when he launched a home run over the fence in right field for a grand slam and a very sudden 7-3 victory.
The Powerballers had trailed Jersey Storm, 2-0, before rallying to tie the game at 2-2. Jersey Storm walked the two batters ahead of Perreault intentionally to set up a force at every base.
The Powerballers then outslugged the Diamond Jacks Gold 12U, 14-10, to set up their berth opposite the Super 12U in the championship game. Will Bacolo hit two home runs against the Diamond Jacks Gold 12U and Perreault and Timmy Dally each hit one four-bagger. In all, five different Powerballers hammered a total of six home runs in the tournament.
And the Powerballers pitching held up, as well, in the highly competitive tournament.
“Overall I was very happy with our pitchers,” said Grzenda. “We played high caliber teams, so our performance was very good for the first tournament of the fall.”
The Powerballers (4-0) outscored their tournament opponents 54-23, averaging nearly 14 runs a game. “We knew we would generate runs,” said Grzenda. “For me it’s all about getting every kid an opportunity to pitch in different circumstances, make plays defensively and get at bats in big spots.”
The Diamond Jacks Super 12U (3-1) outscored its opponents 34-25.
FALL CLASSIC RECAPS
Brooklyn Bonnie Rangers
Brooklyn Bonnie Rangers defeated Loudon Aces-Meyer, 10-5, in the 10U Fall Classic championship game. Aiden Ellison of Brooklyn Bonnie Rangers was named the 10U tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Brooklyn Bonnie Rangers (3-1) outscored their opponents 44-22. Loudon Aces (3-1) held a 45-17 runs advantage on their opponents.
Powerballers defeated the Diamond Jacks Super 12U, 12-6, in the 12U Fall Classic championship game. The entire Powerballers team was named the MVP of the 12U tournament. The Powerballers (4-0) outscored their opponents 54-23. The Diamond Jacks (3-1) held a 34-25 runs advantage on their opponents.
17/18U Wood Bat Championship
(Top 8 Advance to Columbus Day Showdown)
Northeast Pride 4 (3-0, 18-1)
Baseball U. North Jersey 2022 (3-0, 17-1)
East Coast Lumberjacks 2023 (3-0, 22-3)
Heavy Hitters 4 18U (3-0, 14-3)
Northeast Pride 1 (3-0, 25-4)
Baseball U. Pa-Guy (3-0, 26-5)
NY Dynasty (3-0, 11-6)
East Coast Sandhogs-McGloin (3-0, 19-8)