By Joe Hofmann
Diamond Nation’s Super 16 World Series is underway, and here is one thing you won’t see: Powerballers Spin coach Jon Spinosa and his staff sitting in the bleachers, watching future opponents, and taking notes.
Scouting reports? He doesn’t believe in them here.
Some things Spinosa does believe in: Getting the little things right. No highs. No lows.
Oh, and one other thing he believes in: His team.
The Powerballers put it all together and scored a convincing 8-0, five-inning mercy rule victory over Canes NY/NJ Wednesday to improve to 2-0 in the tournament.
They got the little things right – and the big things.
“If we play our game,” extra-hitter Jacob Rivera said, “we can beat any team.”
The Powerballers played a clean game in all facets.
They showed what they are capable of almost immediately after the first pitch of the game.
Leadoff man Grimaldi Gonzalez walked on four pitches and Giancarlo Spinosa whacked a first-pitch RBI double into the left field corner. One batter later, Noah Gyauch-Quirk singled home Spinosa and, one out after that, Evan Kovalcik ripped an RBI double to left. After Tate George was hit by a pitch, Paul Erfle launched a two-run double.
That’s five runs in the first inning – more than enough to back the combined pitching of starter J.J. Cruz (5 Ks, 2 walks, 2 hits allowed in 3 innings) and Erfle (2 Ks, 1 walk, 2 hits allowed in two innings).
The Canes had a runner on in each of the five innings but couldn’t get any of the runners home.
They had two runners on in the second when Joseph O’Toole singled and Miguel Checo walked but Cruz got Tyler Lynn on a flyout to left.
In the third, Jeremy Duran singled with one out but was thrown out trying to steal second by George.
Erfle got out of jams in both of his innings. In the fourth, Byron Arias singled but Erfle picked him off. Erfle then hit Angelo Dillon with a pitch but Erfle got the next two outs.
In the fifth, Erfle got the first two outs but then gave up a Lynn basehit before walking David Sanchez. Erfle got out of it by fanning Ariel Miranda.
We’re pretty steady,” coach Spinosa said. “We try to do all of the little things and not get too high or too low. We squared up a lot of baseballs today and ran the bases well. We don’t have that one or two kids who can really run, but we have a lot of kids who can run the bases well. They can really get around the bases.”
Powerball, which is made up entirely of baseball players from Liberty High School in Bethlehem, Pa., scored at least one run in four of the five innings and threatened in all five.
In the second inning, Gonzalez walked, stole second, and scored on Rivera’s RBI hit.
In the fourth, pinch-hitter Anthony Arnone singled and moved to third on Gonzalez’s double to right center before scoring on Spinosa’s infield grounder.
In the fifth, John Galgon doubled to left, moved to third on Kovalcik’s infield grounder to the right side, and scored on George’s sac fly to right, which ended the game.
“We trust in our approach,” Rivera said. “We sit on the fastball and adjust to the offspeed. We drove the ball into the gaps, ran the bases, and our pitchers threw strikes. Do the little things like that, and you can win any game.”