Seventh inning rally sends Taconic Rangers  16U to victory

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 9, 2024

Brody Mantz of Triple Crown slides in with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

By Rich Bevensee

Triple Crown Baseball’s Kyle Morsell was virtually unhittable for six innings. 

Then came the seventh inning when Max Selinger and Anthony Ardis of the 16U Taconic Rangers ignored Morsell’s prior success over them and took matters into their own hands. 

Their back-to-back, up-the-middle RBI singles drove in the tying and winning runs in the top of the seventh to propel the Rangers to a 4-2 victory in the Super 16 Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Diamond Nation in Flemington. 

“The pitcher was great, he was locating all game,” Selinger said. “It came down to (batting) the third time around and the whole team made adjustments. Picking up tendencies is really important. We made our own atmosphere, we stuck with the flow of the game and a rally came.”

The Rangers (1-0), based in Fishkill, N.Y., were slated to face Morris County Cubs White on Saturday evening and Beast 2026 National on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Triple Crown (0-1), a Sussex County, New Jersey-based ballclub, will close out the showcase event with a Sunday doubleheader, facing Clubhouse 2027 DeMarini at 10 a.m. and Northeast Pride 26 National at 2:15 p.m.

Neither starting pitcher budged for four innings and the score was tied at 1-1 through five. Morsell, a rising senior at High Point in Sussex, N.J., allowed three hits and two walks and struck out six through six innings. The Rangers’ Tino Riviello pitched four innings of two-hit ball, he walked two and struck out three.

Dan Twomey came on in relief of Riviello in the fifth and gave up a ringing double to Triple Crown shortstop Brody Mantz, a rising junior at North Warren. Mantz broke early for third trying to steal and appeared to be picked off but a throwing error allowed him to score the go-ahead run. Triple Crown was three outs away from the win.

“In the seventh we told the team about being more aggressive early in the count,” Rangers coach Greg Delmonico said. “We were trying to get them to swing at earlier fastballs and we were falling behind in the count. He (Morsell) did a good job throwing strikes, so we turned on the aggressiveness a little bit.”

Nicholas Procaccino reached on an error to open the top of the seventh, and after Morsell got a strikeout, Kaden Anderson pushed Procaccino to third with a double to the left field corner. 

Selinger, trying not to think about the situation, nonetheless came to the plate with a wealth of experience with hitting in the clutch. And he lined a single up the middle to drive in Procaccino with the tying run.

“I was trying to act like there’s no one on and just hit,” said Selinger, a rising sophomore at Kennedy Catholic in Somers, N.Y. “Right before the at bat, coach tells me, ‘Hit it up the middle,’ and that’s what I did.

“I’ve been playing baseball for a long time so those kinds of at bats are bound to happen,” Selinger said. “But it’s sweet every time.”

Brody Mantz celebrates the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth for Triple Crown.

“Max is a really good contact guy,” Delmonico said. “I want him up in any situation with guys on.”

Arden followed his teammate’s lead and mirrored Selinger’s hit with a shot of his own up the middle to score Anderson from third and give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. 

Taconic added an insurance run when Ardis took off for second and was caught in a rundown. Carefully waiting for the right time, Selinger scored from third on the double steal.

With Twomey still on the hill in the bottom of the seventh, Triple Crown got the tying run to the plate after Leo Falce was hit on the elbow to lead off the inning. But Twomey induced Morsell to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, and he got a final groundout to end the game. 

“Dan hadn’t pitched very much in high school but was able to throw a lot of strikes today,” Delmonico said. 

Twomey went three innings and yielded one run on two hits, no walks and a hit batsman, and he struck out one.

Morsell’s final line was four runs allowed (three earned) in seven innings on six hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.

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