Jake Roberti of Stars Baseball was stifling on Thursday in the Super 17 Invitational.
(Photo by Caroline Ciuffreda)
Righthander Jake Roberti had it all going on the mound for Stars Baseball 17U Blue and his teammate swung some serious lumber on the way to a 9-0 victory over Team Boston on the final day of Week 1 in the Super 17 Invitational at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
Roberti limited Team Boston 17U (McConnell) to one hit over the first four innings, struck out eight and walked one to improve Stars Baseball’s tournament record to 3-0-2. Pitching was the name of the game for Stars Baseball, which permitted just 10 runs in its five games.
“This is a really good group here,” said Stars Baseball coach Carson Carroll. “This was our last hurrah. We threw some strong kids this tournament, three kids yesterday who were hitting 87-92.”
Roberti has been clocked at 84-85 and his nasty curveball was hellish on Team Boston’s batters. He did an extremely effective job of mixing and spotting both his curveball and fastball. He didn’t allow a hit until Noah Poulin ripped a liner up the middle for a single with one out in the fourth. Roberti calmly struck out the next two batters to conclude his outing with a fourth scoreless inning.
“My curveball was working well,” said Roberti. “I commanded it and it was really moving. And I was able to command my fastball on the outer half and in when I needed to. My 0-2 curveball was there.”
Roberti issued a two-out walk to Jake Walman in the top of the first inning but struck out Poulin to end the inning. Then Stars Baseball lineup went to quick work on the Team Boston pitching staff, striking for five runs in the bottom of the inning on three hits, three walks and a pair of hit-by-pitches.
Max Jenson drove home the first run with a sac fly to center field. Grant Hartman and Grant Barberich each singled in a run and Will Carr delivered an RBI double in the rally. Carr scored on an infield error. Nick Lottchea and Jackson Baird each drew a walk at the top of the lineup to trigger the uprising.
After Roberti struck out the side in the top of the second around a one-out infield error, Stars Baseball tacked on a run in the bottom of the inning. Jensen brought Nick Graham home on a fielder’s choice bouncer to the right side to extend the lead to 6-0. Stars Baseball had loaded the bases with no outs on Graham’s walk and singles by Lottchea and Baird.
Baberich’s RBI groundout steered a three-run third inning rally that gave Stars Baseball a 9-0 lead and set up the mercy rule ending in the fifth. Nathan Knowles scored on a wild pitch in the inning and Diego Barrett pulled off a straight steal of home plate. Barrett deftly dove around the tag of catcher Walman, swiping the plate with his left hand.
Ryan Cuadros closed it out in the top of the fifth for Stars Baseball by striking out the side around a one-out infield single by Ethan Keeney. Roberti and Cuados combined on a two-hit, five-inning shutout, striking out 11 and walking one.
“These guys have been playing together for a long time and they know each other playing high school ball in northern Virginia,” said Carroll. “It’s been a tough summer with COVID and the recruiting issues. We’re fortunate to get a bunch of D-1 recruits in our program but we are looking to get some more guys settled.”
NOTES: Lottchea and Baird each had a single and two walks in three trips to the plate to set the Stars Baseball table from the top two spots in the batting order. … Jensen knocked in two runs the blue collar way. He had a sac fly and fielder’s choice grounder. … Team Boston left fielder Tristan Witz had a terrific day in the field. He caught a drive over his head by Carr in the fourth inning, reaching high over his head with his back to the infield to snare the drive. The ball popped out of his glove for a moment but Witz juggled it and caught it again for the out. The lefty-hitting Carr was robbed in the second inning, too, by Witz, who raced in and caught his slicing shot on a dead run. … Witz made another fine catch in the third on a liner by Graham, then fired it to the cutoff man to hold the runner at third base.