Resilient Bluerock Baseball closes Garden State with two wins

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 15, 2022

Bluerock Baseball catcher Tyler Szilli fires to second in bid to erase Sports Yard base stealer. 

By Sean Reilly 

The first two days of Bluerock Baseball’s stay at Diamond Nation couldn’t have been any more different. 

The Pennsylvania team opened play at the 16U Garden State Invitational with a 12-1 no-hit victory over Powerarm Baseball 116 on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, the Bluerock Baseball bats were no-hit in a 8-0 defeat against Powerballers Baseball 1. 

Therefore, the final two games of its visit to Flemington on Thursday were bound to be quite telling.

Sure enough, the day turned out to be a good one. Bluerock Baseball came from behind to beat The Sports Yard, 8-6, in the morning. And immediately after, it held off Gap2Gap 16U, 7-6, to head back home with a satisfying 3-1 showing at “The Nation.”

The win over The Sports Yard, which is based out of the Syracuse, N.Y., area, was pleasing on several fronts. 

First of all, after going hitless in its prior game, it totaled only two singles through the first four innings while falling behind, 4-0. But the team didn’t give up, and found its offensive footing by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth and five more times in the sixth to pull ahead. 

The other encouraging sign was that even though the team didn’t exactly play its best, it did enough good things at the right times to prevail, which according to coach Danny Louviaux, was a great lesson for his players. 

“It was ugly, but a win is a win,” he said. “They showed resilience. Knowing how to win is something the team has kind of struggled with. They’re transitioning from a team that wasn’t very good, to one that has gotten pretty good, but still doesn’t know how good they are yet. I think maybe they started to turn the corner on that with this one.” 

The Sports Yard, which had lost its first three games of the tournament, took a 4-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Anthony Giuffrida singled in a run, another scored on an error, while Patrick Hoffman and Sebastian Branshaw drew bases-loaded walks. Another run scored on a wild pitch in the fifth for a 5-0 lead. 

Bluerock Baseball began to rally in the bottom of the fifth. Luke Giering led off by striking out, but was safe at first on a wild pitch. Drew Fidler was safe on an error, and a bunt single by Tyler Szilli loaded the bases with nobody out. Roman Cieless then reached on an error which scored the first two runs. The boys from the Reading area added one more run in the inning, on a pitcher-to-first groundout by Jaden Smith.

Bluerock Baseball third baseman Roman Cieless fires to first base to retire Sports Yard baserunner.

The Sports Yard got what seemed to be an important insurance run in the top of the sixth when Tyler Dean delivered a run-scoring single, but an opportunistic Bluerock Baseball went ahead with a five-run bottom of the frame.

The comeback started with Brandon Unger reaching on an error. The next two batters, Colin Wilson and Paul Colombo, were hit by first-pitch offerings to load the bases with nobody out. Giering then walked, and Fidler singled to left field to get his team within a run and keep the bases loaded. With the infield playing in, Szilli dumped a single that landed beyond second base which scored courtesy runner Hunter Quigley for a 6-6 tie. 

The next batter fouled out, but Smith followed with a grounder to short. Szilli was forced out at second, but a hustling Smith beat out a double-play attempt at first. By doing so, both Giering and Fidler scored for the two-run lead. 

Wilson took the mound in the seventh, and he retired the side in order, capped off by a strikeout, to close out the victory.

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