By Will Harrigan
For three days straight, the West Chester Dragons NL 16U squad mashed the baseball at Diamond Nation.
If that’s a harbinger of how the team’s all-important 16U season is going to play out over the next year, the team will win plenty of championships and get a bevy of players to play at the next level.
Getting contributions from the top of the lineup on down and putting up three crooked numbers, the Dragons notched an 11-3 mercy-rule victory over FS Prime to win the Labor Day Blast tournament on Monday evening.
The offense got stronger as the tournament went on for the Dragons, who racked up 36 runs in their final three games to cap off a 6-0 weekend. FS Prime, a club featuring players largely from Cape May County, wrapped up its week with a 4-2 mark.
Dylan Lynch, who played a role in pitching in relief in a few close games earlier in the tournament, was named MVP for the Dragons.
“I really like the way we played this weekend. The result is nice, but the way we attacked pitching, put the ball in play, and put pressure on defenses. It is what we teach,” said Dragons coach Joe Mollettiere. “Everyone in the lineup hit the ball. We’re tough when that happens.”
After falling behind 1-0 after half an inning, the Dragons offense went right to work.
Nicholas Chiti and Cole Ruhland immediately set the table by singling to start the inning, and, following a double steal, Angus Warlick drove him in on a grounder to short.
“Chiti does everything for us. It always seems like he’s on base and scoring runs,” said Mollettiere.
Two batters later, Luke David went on a personal rampage, belting a double to score Ruhland, stealing third, and then scoring on a wild pitch to put the Dragons up 3-1 after one.
Lynch tripled to ignite a rally in the second, which included RBI singles from eight-batter Colin Albert and 10th batter Kellan Hoffman to help the Dragons put up another three spot. Sandwiched between those hits was a sacrifice fly off Cooper Callahan’s bat.
FS Prime would claw back into the game in the third, when leadoff batter Anthony Nodado and two-hitter Colton Donahue each got aboard with one out.
Dylan Lynch of the WC Dragons was named 16U Labor Day Blast MVP.
Kam Street would single home Nodado and move Donahue to third, where he’d score on a wild pitch a batter later, cutting the gap to 6-3.
Alex Gannon, Dovidio, and Julian Taraschi each walked to start the bottom of the fourth, putting FS Prime in an immediate hole.
Lynch would make them pay, singling in a pair of runs to extend the lead to 9-3, and the margin became seven a few moments later courtesy of back to back Prime fielding errors.
Ruhland reached base after drawing a free pass in the fifth, and came around to score on a wild pitch to end the game via the mercy rule.
Street, who went 3-for-3 for FS Prime, singled in a run in the first to open the scoring.
“16’s are a big age,” said Mollettiere. “We have a few guys who could sign this fall, a few more by next spring. I think every player on this team can be a college player.”