Quick learner Calabretti goes deep for PA Shockers

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 4, 2022

PA Shockers first baseman Mike Fattore handles throw to retire Jeffrey Broadnax.

By Sean Reilly

You can fool Joe Calabretti once, but it’s hard to retire the PA Shockers 2023’s slugger with the same pitch twice. 

That’s a lesson the Rochester Brewers learned on Wednesday night against the Shockers at the 17/18U Blue Chips Prospects showcase at Diamond Nation.

The Brewers starting pitcher retired Calabretti, the No. 2 batter in the order, on a harmless pop up to second base in the bottom of first inning.

But when he stepped up to the plate an inning later, the results were quite different. The rising senior from Pennridge High School launched a three-run home run over the fence in right field that propelled the Shockers to a 12-2 victory in Flemington. 

The Shockers totaled 14 hits before the game ended via the 10-run rule with nobody out in the fourth inning. Seven of those hits went for extra bases, with most of those touching the wall in addition to Calabretti’s shot that traveled beyond it.

“I’ve been pretty hot for most of the summer, but so has the team,” he said. “It’s been happening a lot. Once one guy gets it going, then everyone does.”

The Shockers are now 2-0 with an 18-5 run difference in the tournament, with single games remaining on Thursday and Friday. 

The Shockers are also unbeaten this summer at “The Nation.” The team with players mostly from eastern Pennsylvania went 5-0 at the Super 17 Invitational in early July while outscoring the opponents, 49-3. That showing earned the team a berth in the 17U Super 25 Showcase tournament later this month.

Joe Calabretti scores after launching a three-run HR to give the Shockers a 6-1 lead.

“I like playing here,” Calabretti said. “You can’t beat turf fields, especially up North. Not many fields are as nice as these.” 

The Shockers opened the scoring after two were out in the bottom of the first. Mike Fattore, out of Bridgewater-Raritan High School, just missed a home run on a ball that went for a double to left center. Jack Picozzi then hit an RBI single to left field. Cole Serfass singled to place runners on the corners. When he attempted to steal second, the Brewers made an unsuccessful bid to throw him out. That decision allowed Fattore to steal home for a 2-0 lead. 

The Brewers, now 1-1 in the tournament, got a run back in the top of the second when Michael Sardau doubled and then scored on an error. 

The Shockers retaliated with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Liam Buck led off with a walk, and he scored when Jaden Morgan followed with a double to left field. Connor Flynn singled him to third, and after a foul out, Calabretti launched his home run for a 6-1 advantage.

“In the first inning, he got me with the same pitch,” Calabretti said. “He came back with it again and this time I was ready for it. I won’t get fooled twice.”

The Brewers showed signs of a rally in the fourth. Cooper Romich led off with a walk, and Jeffrey Broadnax hit a full-count RBI double to center. Broadnax tried to stretch the hit into a triple, but was out at third on a very close play after a crisp relay from center fielder Morgan to shortstop Nathan Lapp to Calabretti at third. 

The game then ended via the mercy rule after six runs scored without an out recorded in the bottom of the fourth. 

With the top of the order up, Lapp led off with a double to right field. Calabretti then hit a hard first-pitch single to right for his fourth RBI. Fattore followed with a grounds rule double to right center. Picozzi hit a line single over shortstop to score Calabretti for an 8-2 lead. 

With runners on first and third, Serfass was safe on a fielder’s choice that loaded the bases for Ethan Warner, who hit a two-run double to left center. Buck delivered the final blow with a two-run single. 

Calabretti, Fattore and Warner all finished with two hits. Picozzi ended 3-for-3. 

“Hopefully we can go 4-0,” Calabretti said. “We hit the ball hard. That’s normally how we hit. We barrel up. Most pitchers, it doesn’t matter who is on the mound velo-wise. We’ll make adjustments and we’ll barrel it up.”

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