PS2 Baseball Academy’s Freddy Stansfield fouls off a pitch before singling in two runs.
By Will Harrigan
Almost the entire roster of the PS2 Baseball Academy’s 16U squad hails from winning high school programs in the Bergen and Passaic County areas.
And seeing that winning is as much of a skill as hitting and fielding is, it is no surprise that this group has won many more games than it has lost over the years.
That trend continued Wednesday at Diamond Nation.
Coming up with timely hits and an exceptional closing performance by Jake Oliver on the mound, PS2 rolled to a 10-2 victory over Baseball U PA Central at the Garden State Invitational in Flemington.
PS2 Academy is now 3-0 on the week, and will look to punch their ticket to the Super 16 Top 25 (Aug. 14-18) in their final clash vs. the .9ers Baseball Club on Thursday morning. Baseball U PA Central dropped its first game after a pair of ties to start their week.
“I think this is one of the better 16U squads in the whole area. These guys have been playing together as a group for a while and are having a lot of success,” said PS2 coach Kerwin Rivera. “Today was a good example of it. It was tight for a while, then we made the right plays to pull away.”
One such play came in the top half of the fourth, with PS2 loading the bases with two men out. PS2 was up 4-1 at that point, ready to break the game open. Leadoff batter Freddy Stansfield, coming off a terrific Passaic County title-winning season at Passaic Tech, laced a two-out single to center to extend the lead to 6-1, essentially putting the game on ice.
Stansfield finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a walk.
“I think he’s one of the better players around that no one really knows about yet,” said Rivera, who is an assistant at Bergen Catholic in the spring. “He’s always getting on base and making things happen. That’s why he’s in the leadoff spot.”
PS2’s Jake Oliver, of Bergen Catholic, pitched four innings in relief and was a presence at the plate.
The offensive explosion would not stop there, though, as Leo Spitaleri and Nick Bumbaco would each rope run-scoring doubles later on to balloon the lead.
The run support was far more than what Oliver needed on the mound. The right-hander from Bergen Catholic, consistently hitting in the high 80s with his fastball, tossed four innings of two-hit, seven strikeout ball to put Baseball U away.
“He was getting his breaking ball over, and when he does, he’s tough,” said Rivera of his Bergen Catholic standout. “Jake battled through some injuries during the high school season, but now that he’s fully healthy, he’s showing what he can do.”
The lone blemish on Oliver’s ledger came in the sixth, when Graysen White tripled into the left-center field gap and scored on a grounder a batter later.
Baseball U actually drew first blood in the second inning. Austin Harter was struck by a pitch, stole second and took third on a throw that wound up in center field.
A batter later, Landon Bietz flew out to right to score Harter and give the Pennsylvania club a 1-0 edge.