Jason Salera scores after one of his two home runs in 12U Beat The Heat pool play.
By Luis Torres
The term “Light-tower power” probably isn’t thrown around much at the 12U level of baseball.
But Jason Salera did his best impression of the term on Friday. Salera crushed two home runs, including a mammoth second one that almost hit near the top of one of the light posts at Diamond Nation Field No. 6, helping the NY Gothams come from behind to defeat the Diamond Jacks Gold 12U, 14-6 in five innings to open up 12U Beat the Heat play.
Salera’s two blasts seemed to be a catalyst for NY Gothams, which held a 1-0 lead after the first inning before falling behind 6-1. The Diamond Jacks 12U put up a six spot in the top of the second, which included a grand slam.
Salera led off the bottom of the second, and took a 3-2 pitch and cranked it over the left-field fence to trim the deficit to four, 6-2. Two innings later, Salera, a right-handed hitter who was the designated hitter, led off the fourth frame by blasting his second solo home run on another 3-2 pitch to cut the deficit to 6-4. The majestic home run was part of a five-inning frame, giving NY Gothams an advantage it kept for the rest of the game.
“The first one, I just squared it up, and I didn’t think it was going out. The second one, I knew it off the bat. The second one topped it. That was probably my farthest shot,” Salera said. “I was feeling good, especially being down a lot to put us back into the game. It just shows how much of a team we are and how we come together and fight back.”
“These kids work hard. Every swing counts and they know the count and know how to work the count. They don’t swing at bad pitches and they force the pitcher to make a good pitch and they make the pitcher pay for it,” NY Gothams coach Jason Rodriguez added.
Salera finished the contest by going 2-for-3 at the plate with his two home runs. Cash Millson drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the fourth inning. In total, NY Gothams sent 10 hitters to the plate, generating six hits, keeping the line moving as the team kept going from station to station via singles and walks.
NY Gothams tacked on six more runs in the bottom of the fifth to reach the run-rule limit and secure a win that could be a springboard for the rest of the tournament.
“We’ve been down a couple of times and were able to fight back,” Rodriguez said. “We know that we’re a hitting team, and as long as we get back on our defense and pitchers hold it down, we’re going to score some runs. It’s great to know that you can go down five or six runs, and we’re going to put some runs together, whether it’s walks or somebody is going to be hit by a pitch.
“They’re not selfish hitters. If one gets on, we’re going to leave it for the other. If they get out, we protect each other.”