C.J. Tamalavage drove this pitch on a line to center field but was robbed of a hit.
Frank Sanchez limited Interstate 21 Scout to three hits over six innings and Walker Zampella went 4-for-4 as Baseball Warehouse prevailed, 5-3, in an entertaining 18U Diamond Nation World Series contest on Thursday morning in Flemington.
Baseball Warehouse (3-1) did not put this one away, though, until reliever Colin Leyner came on to get the last out and strand the bases-loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The right-handed Sanchez stifled Interstate 21 Scout through six innings, striking out seven, walking one and hitting a batter, but he had reached his pitch limit after retiring the cleanup hitter on a fly ball to right field to end the sixth.
“My fastball, for sure, was on and my slider was a go-to for me today,” said Sanchez, a South Brunswick High grad headed to Southern New Hampshire. “And I got a little more feel for my changeup later in the game.”
Zampella certainly did his job setting the table from Baseball Warehouse’s leadoff spot, singling twice and ripping a pair of grounds rule doubles in his four trips to the plate. He also drove in two runs with a single in the fourth inning and scored a run.
“I’ve been staying middle-away and letting the ball travel,” said Zampella on his approach at the plate. The Edison High grad is bound for East Stroudsburg. “I was just sitting on the fastball early in the count and adjusting to breaking pitches later in the count.”
The noisiest blast of the game belonged to Baseball Warehouse’s cleanup hitter C.J. Tomalavage, who unloaded a long, no-doubt-about-it shot to left field in the third inning that easily cleared the fence for a two-run home run. The bomb by the Union Catholic grad capped a three-run inning that staked Baseball Warehouse to a 3-0 lead.
Interstate 21 Scout answered with two runs in the bottom of the third off Sanchez to draw back within a run. Kyle DeGroat singled to center field with one out before Sanchez plunked leadoff batter Brady Karp with a pitch. Bryce DeGroat then ripped a double to right-center field that chased Kyle DeGoat home and sent Brady Karp to third. Frankie DeMare followed with a sac fly to right.
“I gave up a couple hits that inning down in the count,” said Sanchez, who was dominant in his other five innings. “I was having trouble locating that inning and had to go to the fastball in counts favorable to the batters. I left a couple up.”
Sanchez would retire nine straight and 11 out of 12 batters after Bryce DeGroat’s double in the third. His most impressive inning was the fifth when he struck out the side in order. He leaned on a fastball in the frame that reached 88 miles per hour twice against the final batter of the inning.
Things did get a bit dicey for Baseball Warehouse when it went to its bullpen in the bottom of the seventh. Zampella entered from his spot at shortstop but couldn’t get three outs, partly because the first batter of the inning, Pat Purcell, reached on an infield error.
Zampella got the next two batters to get within an out of closing out the victory, but surrendered a single to Jayden Amador and an RBI single to Kyle DeGroat (2-for-3, RBI, run). That shaved the deficit to 5-3 and Zampella was pulled for Leyner. Karp, however, singled sharply to right to load the bases. That moved the potential tying run to second base.
Leyner, however, induced a pop-up, appropriately, to Sanchez at shortstop who put it away for the win.
Baseball Warehouse concluded its 18U DN World Series experience at 3-1 having outscored its opponents 30-10. Interstate 21 Scout went 2-2 and held a 23-14 runs advantage on its opponents.
Baseball Warehouse had its share of quality pitching. It opened the tournament with a 9-0 victory over Comets Baseball and a 10-0 win against East Coast Sandhogs. The opener featured Rutgers commit Zach Kostantinovsky of North Brunswick showcasing his talent to the tune of a five-inning perfect game.
So efficient was Kostantinovsky that he threw just 45 pitches in the five-inning gem and only nine of those pitches were balls. He struck out four batters. The only close play was a grounder to first base with one out in the third inning that was bobbled but recovered for the out.
NOTES: Tomalavage was robbed of a second hit when the Interstate 21 Scout center fielder charged in after his liner in the fifth inning, dove and came up with it for the second out. … Aiden Hicks entered in the fifth inning and pitched three scoreless innings to keep Interstate 21 Scout in the game. Hicks allowed one hit, struck out one and walked three.
… Interstate starter John Gerfen was pulled after Tomalavage’s home run in the third but had a memorable first inning. Zampella led off the game with a grounds rule double to left, then Jason Gilman drew a walk. Zampella took third on a wild pitch and Gilman later stole second, still with none out. But the lefty Gerfen, a rising senior from Brewster, N.Y., struck out the next three batters in order to extricate himself from the threat.
… Sanchez ripped a two-out single just ahead of Tomalavage’s home run in the third. … Sanchez and DeMare of Interstate 21 Scout will be roommates at Southern New Hampshire. DeMare went 1-for-2 with a sac fly and an RBI against his college teammate. DeMare entered as a reliever and pitched 1.1 innings but missed Sanchez’s turn in the order.