Hunter Force of the Diamond Jacks Super 16U delivered a clutch two-run single in the fourth.
By Joe Hofmann
Diamond Jack’s Super 16U pitcher Cody Sherrer has his mind made up.
He wants to be a college pitcher.
The righty doesn’t care if it is for a D-1 school or not. He just wants to toe the rubber of a college mound one day.
He spent Wednesday morning showing Jersey Boyz 17U that he is on the right path.
The junior from North Warren High pitched beautifully into the seventh inning of his team’s 8-4 victory. He allowed two hits and fanned 10 in 6 1/3 innings.
And he did all of that without walking a batter.
“He threw really well,” coach Walt Cleary said. “He controlled the zone and he competed. He pitched to contact but then he got the strikeouts when he needed them. He had command of his breaking ball.”
Sherrer was always around the plate with a fastball that sat between 80-83 MPH, all the while keeping his pitch count down (93). He fanned two in the first, third and sixth innings. He opened the seventh with a strikeout but gave up an infield hit to Jackson Gulbin before Cleary removed him.
With Sherrer now out of the way, Jersey Boyz erupted for three runs in the seventh to make the game interesting before the Diamond Jacks put the game away.
Sherrer sure had the college look throughout.
“I just want to make it to college,” the soft-spoken Sherrer said. “D1 would be great, but D2 or D3 would be fine.”
Sherrer was a first-team All-NJAC pitcher in the Colonial Division despite being just a sophomore. This summer, he set out to add on by improving the command of his breaking ball and his velocity.
“It’s mid-summer, so it is hard to get into the weight room,” he said. “I felt real good today. I felt myself getting stronger. In the last inning, I felt really good.”
He felt even better when his team erupted for six runs in the fourth inning to break the game wide open.
“It started with a grounder up the middle and then a double and then we got rolling after that,” Cleary said. “I wanted us to be more aggressive at the plate and we were.”
Mike Contiliano, who is committed to Seton Hall University, got things started with a base hit up the middle and teammate Matt Kosuda (William & Mary) followed with a double off losing pitcher Noah Kasper, setting up Thomas Piszel-Cano’s two-run single.
That was only the beginning. Nick Hernandez followed with a base hit and Nick Baillargeon reached on an infield hit, setting up Hunter Force’s two-run single to left. Force had swung through two fastballs and was down 0-2 in the count but made Kasper pay after that.
“That was nice to see,” Cleary said. “That was a nice two-strike hit.”
Cleary always searches for ways to get the kids to improve, so during batting practice he had them working on hitting breaking balls. And wouldn’t you know it? The Diamond Jacks cashed in by hitting several curveballs hard for extra bases.
“We took quite a few rounds of BP,” Cleary said. “It was nice to see them drive some curveballs. I was happy to see that. We wanted to do something different today and we were able to get that done.”
The six runs were more than enough for Sherrer, who loved watching the hits and runs pile up.
“Oh yeah, it makes pitching so much easier,” he said. “At that point, I knew that all I had to do was throw strikes because we had such a big lead.”
The Diamond Jacks defense eases another burden with guys such as Contiliano at third base and Kosuda in left. Both are D-1 athletes who gave Sherrer a lift.
“We have such a good defense because of guys like that,” Sherrer said. “I’m not afraid to throw strikes. Just let ’em hit it.”