MVP Beast’s Ayden DesLauriers brings it during 16U Blue Chip Prospects tournament.
By Joe Hofmann
Need a bunt? Jeremy Reyes can drop one down.
Home run? Yup, Reyes can deliver that, too.
He did both in the span of two days for the MVP Beast Underclass 16U team.
Reyes’ bunt hit set the stage for a late rally and helped give his team a 5-3 come-from-behind victory over the Long Island Titans in a 16U Blue Chip Prospects tournament game held at Diamond Nation Wednesday.
The win lifted Beast to a 2-0-1 record and within range of a probable playoff spot.
Reyes is making a habit of getting into the thick of things. The West Virginia-bound junior-to-be at McClancey High in the Bronx hit a game-tying home run in a game that ended up tied against Hustle Baseball Academy, 3-3, on Tuesday.
So, take Reyes out of the equation, and Beast might be going home empty handed, not with a possible playoff berth.
“He’s a good player,” coach Pete Kritikos said. “That bunt got us going. He hit one out and that got us going when we were down.”
It’s extremely rare that a hitter can perform both tasks but that is what makes Reyes special.
No wonder West Virginia wanted him so badly.
“I like the school and the coaches,” he said. “The coaches can help me get to where I want to go.”
And where is that?
“MLB,” he said.
Beast trailed the Titans in the bottom of the fourth, 3-0. The lefty-swinging Reyes dropped down a bunt up the third base line and legged it out for a hit.
“I practice bunting a lot,” he said. “It always works in games.”
From that point on, a floodgate of offense opened up for Beast.
Alex Apicella followed with an RBI triple to right to get his team on the scoreboard. One out later, Beast drew closer when Dom Coniglio singled to center, knocking in Apicella.
Pete Bounougias walked and Ben Salomon singled to tie it. One out later, Tommy Ford worked a 3-2 count on losing pitcher Mike Heymon and drew a walk to load the bases.
That set the stage for winning pitcher Ayden Deslauriers, who singled to right on a 3-2 pitch, knocking in two more runs for a 5-3 bulge.
“We battle,” Kritikos said. “We could hit a little. Hitting is contagious. Once we got one or two, things went our way.”
Beast reliever Tommy Ford came on in relief of Deslauriers in the fifth and worked out of trouble. With one out, he allowed a pop-up double to Mike Reagan and a C.J. Cubano single but then got No. 3 hitter Paul McNally on a 1-6-3 double play to end the threat.
“All the little things add up,” Kritikos said, “getting the out, saving a base, taking an extra base. All of the little things matter.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Beast had the bases loaded with only one out and Salomon at the plate but time expired, ending the game.
Deslauriers, meanwhile, limited the damage when he ran into trouble.
He got off to a rough start in the very first inning when he hit Reagan, gave up a single to right to Cubano, and then an RBI single to left to McNally. He allowed an infield RBI grounder to cleanup hitter Kevin Brown and then got out of the inning without allowing another run.
Then in the third, Deslauriers hit No. 10 hitter Harry Baliber — another batter leading off an inning — before walking Reagan. Deslauriers then threw wide to first on a Cubano sac bunt, loading the bases before allowing a 6-4, RBI groundout. He hit Giuseppe Buffolino — Deslauriers third hit batter in three innings — but then got Ruairi Rago looking at a curve to escape further damage.
“He has a live arm,” Reyes said. “He throws strikes and has a lot of energy. He helped us win.”