Royals Baseball goes deep to gain opening night split at Super 12

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 9, 2024

Jack Bower leads off first for the DJacks as Royals Baseball pitcher Collin Smith pays close attention. 

By Sean Reilly

Royals Baseball 12U is a team that hits the ball hard. 

More specifically, the Cinnaminson-based crew likes to hit it over the fence. 

Royals Baseball went deep three times while gaining a 7-2 decision over the Diamond Jacks Gold 12U on Friday night at the Super 12 Invitational in Flemington.

The game turned when a five-run top of the fifth inning broke a 1-1 tie. 

The frame included a one-out solo home run by Timmy Gill for the lead, a two-run double from Gavin Huber, and two-run home run courtesy of John Bean.

Caleb Vahey capped a 3-for-3, four stolen base night by hitting a leadoff home run in the sixth. It was his 15th homer of the spring for a team that now has an overall record of 14-7 in 2024. 

“We do that a lot,” he said of the home run barrage. 

The display came after the team hit two, by Collin Smith and Juanell Santiago, in its first game of the night, which was an 8-4 setback against 3Up3Down 12U.

In that contest, Royals Baseball held a 4-3 lead before being felled by its one bad inning of the two games – a five-run bottom of the fourth. 

That outcome made the team determined to rebound against the Diamond Jacks, and that’s exactly what happened. 

“This was a good bounce back for us,” Vahey said. “We were competing in the other game and just fell apart. It was pretty important because we want to advance in the tournament, but we also wanted to just play better.” 

The Diamond Jacks, who beat Baseball U Jersey, 12-6, in their Friday opener, took a 1-0 lead over Royals Baseball when Jake Petrillo led off the bottom of the first with a single to center field and scored when Jack Suarez hit a one-out single to center. 

Royals Baseball tied it in the third. Vinny Haskell led off by reaching on an outfield error and he scored on a one-out double to left field by Luca Stumm. 

The game then turned when Royals Baseball came to bat in the fifth. 

After the first batter flew out on a well-struck ball to center, Gill took a strike before sending the next pitch over the fence in center for the lead. 

The next batter also flew out to center, and Aashray Shah kept the inning alive after he was hit by a pitch. Stumm followed with a full-count walk. 

Huber, who ended 2-for-3, hit his two-run double to right center, and he ended the play at third base after a throw to the plate. Following a pitching change, Bean homered just beyond the fence in right field. 

The Diamond Jacks got an RBI single from Braiden Kelly with two out in the bottom of the fifth before Vahey’s leadoff home run to left field completed the scoring for Royals Baseball in the sixth. 

Petrillo finished 2-for-3 for the Diamond Jacks. 

Smith, Shah and Vahey pitched two innings apiece for Royals Baseball. They combined to allow five hits, strike out seven, walk two and hit two batters.

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