Prospects Baseball 1 has jumped to the front of the class with a pair of tournament-opening shutouts in the 18U Wood Bat Diamond Nation World Series.
Colby Craig and Joel Pena combined to shut out Complete Performance Baseball Academy, 10-0, on Tuesday morning as Prospects Baseball improved to 2-0 in tournament play, having outscored its opponents in the early going 12-0.
Spencer Dessart had pitched a complete game shutout on Monday when Prospect Baseball nipped PS2 Academy, 2-0.
Craig was terrific, stifling CP Baseball on three hits over four innings, while striking out two and, significantly, walking none. The righthander from Mendham faced just two batters over the minimum and benefitted also from a pair of double plays by his defense.
“My fastball was on and my slider was good, too,” said Craig, who is considering playing a post-grad year at Mendham High while taking classes at County College of Morris in Randolph. “My velocity was up there and I was hitting my spots away.”
Craig certainly filled the strike zone, working quickly and efficiently to shut down a Complete Performance Baseball Academy team that was coming off a big win in its opener on Monday against the Diamond Jacks Super 17U squad. Craig threw his slider for strikes and got some swings and misses with late drop.
Craig threw a tidy 57 pitches in his four shutout innings and turned it over to Joel Pena to close it out in the fifth inning. Pena took the mound after the rugged Prospects lineup struck for seven runs in the top of the fifth to take a 10-0 lead and set up a mercy rule victory. Pena pitched a scoreless fifth around Michael Gillen’s one-out single and Matthew Fernandez’s subsequent double. Pena got the next two batters to squelch the threat.
Gabe Weir spearheaded Prospect Baseball’s 12-hit attack, ripping a single, double and a triple, driving in four runs and scoring a run.
“I was sitting fastball early in the count and just trying to take a good approach at the plate,” said Weir, a rising senior at Pope John in Sparta. “I had guys in scoring position every at bat. I was just trying to stay calm, not get jumpy, and sit on the back leg.”
Weir hit a laser into left-center field to score Jack Young with the game’s first run in the second inning. He singled home Young again in a two-run fourth that put Prospects Baseball in front, 3-0. Then his two-run triple put a nice bow on a seven-run explosion in the fifth, extending the Prospects Baseball lead to 9-0.
“I’m trying to keep it simple at the plate,” said Weir, “and looking to hit the ball the other way.”
Weir had plenty of company on the offensive side as Prospects Baseball had nine batters with at least one hit and all but one of the 11 batters in its lineup reached base.
Young went 2-for-2 with 2 RBI and scored three runs. Crum drove in two with a triple in the fifth. Michael Crispino chipped in with a two-run double in the fifth and Nick Morro, Prospects Baseball’s No. 10 hitter, went 2-for-3 with a double and scored a run. Three other Prospect players had hits.
Chris Guarente (Randolph) smashed a triple to center field in the first inning and drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. Robbie Ford beat out an infield single in the third and scored a run in the fifth. Leadoff batter Jake Brazzano had an infield single and was hit by a pitch in three trips to the plate. It was Morro, in fact, who triggered the big fifth inning rally with a leadoff single to right field. His double came in his second at bat in the inning.
Gillen, a rising senior at Bergen Catholic, went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles. Joseph Delanzo doubled with one out in the bottom of the first for CP Baseball but was stranded.
Craig initiated a 1-6-3 double play in the second after Gillen’s leadoff single. And Ford started a 6-4-3 twin-killing in the fourth.
NOTES: The teams in this one are mentored by a pair of very good baseball men, as we often see here at Diamond Nation. Prospects Baseball Academy is steered by Justin Jensen, who pitched at the Double-A level with both the Red Sox and Yankees, followed by three years of Independent ball with the Somerset Patriots.
Complete Performance Baseball Academy is guided by Charlie Giachetti, who posted a 148-93 career record as a high school coach at Demarest (2011-’13) and St. Mary (Ruth.) 2003-’10.