Sandlot Baseball rolls to 9U Battle At The Turf title

By Bob Behre | March 30, 2021

Nolan Franchella picked up a win on the mound and drove in 11 runs to spearhead Sandlot Baseball Academy’s impressive run to the 9U Battle At The Turf championship this past weekend at Diamond Nation.

Franchella got the victory in Sandlot Baseball’s 22-2 game one triumph over Baseball U. Anthracite and had three singles, four triples, a home run and stole five bases en route to being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

While Franchella’s performance indeed stood out, Sandlot Baseball had plenty of contributors to the team’s 4-0 tournament record and 48-7 runs advantage on its opponents.

“We made it happen as a team,” said Sandlot Baseball coach Richard Samanas. “Pitchers threw strikes, our defense made plays and our batters hit dingers.” 

Donny Stark pitched two shutout innings in the championship game, striking out three, as Sandlot Baseball edged the Newtown Blue Dawgs, 1-0. The game was stopped in the top of the third inning due to rain. J.P. McKeown drove in the lone run.

Sandlot Baseball, based in Luzerne County, Pa., had defeated Newtown (Pa.), 14-0, in its second game of the tournament on Saturday as Stark (2.1 IP, 6 Ks) and Ben Nulton combined on a no-hitter. The Sandlot Baseball bats were equally efficient in the victory over Newtown. Franchella drove in five runs with a homer and a triple. McKeown and Samanas (double and triple) drove in three runs apiece. Braedon Hollingshead and Ronnie Faatz each had an RBI. Chase Stitzer also doubled in the game.

Franchella, JP McKeown, Samanas, Hollingshead, Donny Stark and Will McKeown each batted 1.000 in the game.

Franchella (triple) and Carter Samanas (double) each drove in four runs in Sandlot Baseball’s tournament-opening victory over Baseball U. Anthracite.

Sandlot Baseball opened play on Sunday morning with a tightly played contest against Royals Elite. Hollingshead would get the win while his teammates put six runs on the board. Franchella (3-for-3, 2 triples, 2 RBI) picked up the decisive run in the bottom of the fifth inning when he stole home to extend Sandlot Baseball’s lead to 6-4.

Samanas, who doubled, and JP McKeown each drove in an important run.

Nolan Franchilla drove in 11 runs and recorded a victory on the mound on the way to being named the 9U tournament’s MVP.

FB Braves Elite & Rockland Elite Red

The FB Braves and Rockland Elite Red were named co-champions of the 10U Battle At The Turf tournament when the tournament was halted due to rain after each team had reached the final.

The Braves’ big win came on Saturday when it defeated the Diamond Jacks Super 10U (2-1), 8-0, to improve to 2-0 heading into Sunday. It then knocked off Taino Prospect (1-2), 10-4 to reach the championship game. Rockland Elite Red defeated 5 Star Mid-Atlantic Delaware, 11-2, on Saturday to improve to 2-0 and set itself up for a final round berth.

 FB Braves Elite (3-0-1) outscored its opponents 28-6. Rockland Elite Red (2-1-1) held a 39-20 runs advantage on its opponents.

Delco Futures dominated in its three-game run to the top of the 11U Battle At The Turf standings. It was a performance that saw Delco outscore its opponents 30-1 and gain the top playoff seed and an automatic berth in the championship game. Mid-State Mavericks and 11U PRD Ghost had each won its first two games to set up a playoff game that would decide the other finalist. But rain washed out any hope of squaring things on the field.

Taconic Rangers have been quite an efficient machine through their first three weeks of the spring at Diamond Nation. The Rangers were 3-0, having outscored their opponents 45-7, and earned the top playoff seed in the 12U Battle At The Turf and the accompanying automatic championship game berth. The Delmarva Aces 12U East and Grind Baseball Carolina were set to square off in a semifinal for the right to take on Taconic in the final. Then the rains came.

The Rangers had captured the 12U Spring Fling championship on March 13-14 and reached the final in the Spring Invitational the final week. Taconic had scored 72 runs in its 4-1 performance last week. The Westchester County, N.Y.-based squad is 11-1 to date and has stunningly outscored its opponents 184-23.

Diamond Jacks Super 13U had raced out to the No. 1 seed in the 13U Battle At The Turf and a berth in the semifinals before the rains came. Super 13U (3-0) had outscored its opponents a gaudy 48-2 and were to oppose fourth-seeded MA Show Nicolosi (3-0, 31-20) in one of the semifinals. The other semifinal pitted the third-seeded NJ Renegades (3-0, 27-8) and second-seeded Grind Baseball Carolina (3-0, 19-5).

The semifinal games offered the possibility of rematch in the final between the NJ Renegades and the Diamond Jacks. The Renegades had defeated the Diamond Jacks, 11-7, in the Spring Invitational final a week prior.

Diamond Jacks Super 14U won its first two games and outscored its opponents 22-0 in its bid for back-to-back season-opening championships. The Super 14U had won the Spring Invitational 14U title on March 21. Right behind the Super 14U in the standings, though, was the Hammonton Stars (2-0), which had outscored their opponents 23-5.

But this age bracket was far from decided since teams were still in need of another pool play game to decide playoff positions.

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Comments 2

  1. correction needed: Taconic Rangers are not Long Island based…they are based in Westchester County, NY

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