Real Ballers unload the lumber in 18U World Series

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 20, 2022

Eric Cha of Real Ballers rips a two-run double. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI 

By Sean Reilly

Eric Cha is one of the youngest players on the Real Ballers 2023 National Team roster. He’s also one of its biggest. 

Cha is a 6-4, 230-pounder from Old Tappan who played third base and hit third in the lineup when his team met Show New England 17U American on Tuesday morning at the Diamond Nation 18U World Series in Flemington. 

In this game, Cha, playing in front of some of the many college coaches who are watching play this week at “The Nation,” was also one of his team’s best.

He went 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI and three runs as the Real Ballers rolled to a 15-1, three-inning victory. The Real Ballers are now 2-0 in the event after opening with a 5-2 triumph over Locked In Baseball 16U Black on Monday. 

“I’m aware that they’re here, but I’m not focusing on the coaches,” he said. “It’s just a game of baseball, and I’m just focusing on my game.”

Gaby Tirado reaches home plate after hitting two-run home run for Real Ballers 2023 National. 

“He’s playing a year up, hitting in the middle of the order, and for his size and weight to play third base and be able to move like he does is pretty special,” Real Ballers coach Jason Ferber said. “Not many kids his size can play the infield.”

The Real Ballers scored three times in the first inning and six times in both the second and third frames to support winning pitcher Will Harrigan, who worked all three innings. He allowed three hits, with six strikeouts and no walks.

Cha and Nico Rodriguez each had an RBI single when the Real Ballers took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. 

The real damage came in the second inning. Cha doubled off the fence in left center to deliver the first two runs, and he scored on Gaby Tirado’s two-run home run to left center. Tirado is the only other rising junior on the roster.

Chad Falcon made it back-to-back homers by hitting the ball over the fence near the same spot. Rodriguez followed that with a ground rule double, and he scored on a single from Zaine Toneske. 

Cha delivered an RBI double to spark a six-run third inning, which featured a three-run triple from Toneske, who ended 2-for-3 with four RBI. Toneske scored on a Braydon Hubbard sacrifice fly for a 15-0 lead. 

Show New England, now 0-2, scored in the third when Cameron Jankowski led off with a double to right field, advanced to third on a balk and scored on a wild pitch. 

Eight players had at least one hit for the Real Ballers, including Brayden Davis, who went 3-for-4. 

“We hit a lot better today,” Ferber said. “That’s the name of the game.” 

“We all came here to play today,” Cha said. “As soon as one kid gets on base, the next kid wants to do the same, and before you know it, you’re up big in the first inning. It’s a lot of fun.” 

Being a younger player on a team full of rising seniors doesn’t affect Cha.

“I’ve been playing up my whole life,” he said. “It’s really nothing different. I love playing with these guys.”

Will Harrigan permitted one run on three hits over three innings in Real Ballers’ mercy rule victory.

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