Shockers Slamm Titans in 16U Blue Chip opener

By Bob Behre | August 10, 2020

P.A. Shockers’ Will Slamm, batting, peeks down to first base where Mike Sharadin is diving back in a pickoff attempt.

Will Slamm may just have the most appropriate last name given his approach at the plate, which is to attack pitches, often slamming them to all parts of the field, or over it.

Slamm went 3-for-4 with a walk, ripped a home run and a pair of singles while driving in two runs and scoring twice to guide the P.A. Shockers 2023 to a 10-3 victory over the Long Island Titans (Houghton) in a 16U Blue Chip Prospects pool play opener on Monday at Diamond Nation.

The Titans simply could not get Slamm, the Shockers’ No. 2 hitter, out. The lefty-hitting Slamm drew a walk and scored in his first of two at bats in a nine-run first inning for the Shockers. He then capped the rally with a two-run home run over the fence in right field. Slamm also singled to left field in the third inning, beat out a roller to the right side in the fourth for an infield hit and reached in sixth when his high infield pop was misplayed.

“I’ve been having a pretty good summer,” said Slamm, who agreed he’s seeing the ball well.

The Shockers came out swinging in the bottom half of the first as Ian Ferrero, the No. 3 hitter, delivered a two-run double, Max Slaymaker ripped an RBI single to center field and Joe Santoro doubled to right to score another run before Slamm’s blast. The Shockers drew two walks and also reached base on two errors to contribute to the big inning.

“It was good to get up on them early,” said Shockers coach Danny Long, who was a senior shortstop at Monmouth University this past spring. “We did a lot of things right. It was a well-played game.”

The Shockers would push their lead to 10-0 in the second on Slaymaker’s RBI groundout that scored Vinny Pellegrini. Pellegrini drew a walk leading off the inning, moved to second on Matt Lawhead’s hit by pitch and to third when Matt Campione’s walk loaded the bases. But reliever Garrett Grathwohl got out of further trouble from there.

Shockers’ Kevin Flynn pitches to Titans batter Aidan Kuefner in sixth inning.

The Titans, in fact, would keep the Shockers at bay long enough to at least prevent a loss via the mercy rule, no easy chore when you are down nine runs after an inning. It helped, too, that the Long Island club pecked away with a pair of runs in the third inning and one run in the fifth.

John Tardino started the rally in the third with a leadoff walk and he raced to third base on Logan Robertson’s grounds rule double to left field. Tardino scored on a wild pitch and Garrett Grathwohl singled in Robertson to trim the deficit to 10-2. Grathwohl picked up another RBI in the fifth when his fielder’s choice bouncer to the left side scored Michael Steinberg from third. 

The Titans had loaded the bases with one out when Steinberg reached on an error, Tardino drew a walk and Robertson singled to left. The inning could have been much bigger for the Titans if Slaymaker, the Shockers’ left fielder, hadn’t chased down Evan Hughes’ long drive toward the wall for the first out. Slaymaker had a great read on the ball, raced toward the wall and made a nice over-the-shoulder grab. The Shockers lefty starter Conor Flynn further squelched the rally when he got the last out via a strikeout-looking on the outside corner.

Shockers’ Vinny Pellegrini showed good plate presence in drawing two walks against the Long Island Titans.

Flynn’s performance was obscured a bit by the Shockers’ big first inning in which the team sent 11 batters to the plate. But Flynn was mostly efficient despite having to battle a bit in the third and fifth innings. Just two of the three runs he allowed were earned on three hits over six innings. He struck out one and walked two.

“Conor was pounding the zone with strikes and getting outs,” said Long. “He pitched a really good game.”

The Shockers’ defense also helped Flynn by turning three double plays, all started by shortstop Ian Ferraro. Ferraro started a pair of 6-4-3 double plays and also ended the third inning when he snared a liner and fired to first base to get the runner leaning a bit too far.

The Long Island Titans square off next with the Staten Island Orioles Prospects at 8 a.m. on Wednesday on Field 5. The Shockers will also play the Orioles on Wednesday, at 10 a.m. on Field 1, in their second pool play game.

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