Adrian Cavan of Rampage leads off first base in the 13U Labor Day Blast.
By Joe Hofmann
HBQVB Rampage came out a winner Sunday afternoon – against two opponents, not just one.
The 13U team out of Queens, New York took advantage of FB Braves White pitcher’s wildness and piled up 16 runs in a 16-9 victory in a Labor Day Blast tournament game at Diamond Nation.
Rampage drew six walks and scored five runs in the top of the first inning without getting a single hit and stayed ahead for good.
Perhaps more importantly, coach Angel Caban’s team is growing used to the 60-90 field.
The team had grown accustomed to the 50-75 field, so the regulation field has seemed gigantic at times, but Caban’s team made some adjustments after going 0-2 on Saturday.
The victory over FB Braves clinched a playoff spot in the four-team field.
“I’m proud of the way our kids battled,” Caban said. “They came on the field and it felt like it was two times the size.”
The increase in the field’s size impacted every single aspect of the game. To wit:
Winning pitcher Matthew Ramnarine worked his way through four innings to get the win but finding the plate was a struggle at times. He walked seven and hit a batter but was gutsy enough to have finished the game.
“The field is a lot bigger,” Ramnarine said. “It was hard to adjust to, but it was fine. It was just something to get used to.”
“It was quite an adjustment pitching from the 60-foot mound,” Caban said, “but I liked his approach in trying to stay ahead.”
Rampage baserunners felt the difference in running out a simple infield grounder, going from first to third or second to home on a base hit, or legging out an extra-base hit.
And going three bases seemed positively marathon-like.
In the second inning, Rampage’s Chase Janme (two hits, three runs scored) was on first when Ramnarine launched a double that rolled past the Braves outfielders in left center. Janme made his way all the way around the bases and scored but was clearly laboring due to the extra distance while circling the bases.
“There was a lot of running, a lot of ground to cover,” Caban said.
Caban noticed that his own hitters had trouble waiting in the batter’s box for a pitch. They had nine hits but some batters were way out in front of Braves pitching at times.
“On the 50-75 field, it was … 1-2-3, swing,” Caban said. “But now, it’s 1-2-3 … and the ball took a little longer to get to the plate. That was a big difference. So their timing was off.”
Defensively, the Rampage fielders had to move their feet more than they were accustomed in order to reach batted balls.
“We were trying to get used to the big field but we still made too many errors,” he said.
“It’s something to get used to,” Ramnarine added. “It’ll get easier. I’m getting used to it.”
Caban entered the Diamond Nation tournament not expecting much. He just wanted to expose his team to a weekend’s worth of playing on the big diamond so they’ll be better prepared for next spring.
“I wanted to get the big-field anxiety out of the way,” he said.
“I didn’t have big expectations. Let’s just throw them out there and see what they’re made of. We were 0-2 (Saturday). We were a lot better today.”