Dylan Keith of Baseball U Pocono looks comfortable in the box during a 15U Super 25 Showcase game.
By Will Harrigan
The end of a long season can be a tough time for any baseball team to keep its focus.
South Jersey Young Guns 15U coach Andrew Young is an astute baseball man who knows it, and he decided his team would end its campaign the way baseball is supposed to be played, in a fun way.
Young allowed his crew to make their own lineups and set their own positions in the field. And when all was said and done on a picture-perfect Tuesday, it worked out well.
Recovering from an early deficit, the Young Guns went out in style, notching an 8-4 victory over Baseball U PA Pocono in the Super 25 tournament at Diamond Nation.
“The guys have worked hard all summer, and I wanted them to have fun and just play loose in their last game. I’m glad it worked,” Young said.
The Young Guns left ‘The Nation’ with their first victory in four tries in the highly competitive Super 25, having lost their first two before notching a tie. Baseball U Pocono finished the tournament with a 1-3 mark as well.
After falling behind 2-0 early, the winners responded by putting up a five-spot to wrest control of the game.
Austin Buchanan’s leadoff single started things off and the Young Guns would score a pair of runs on back-to-back Baseball U fielding mishaps.
To make matters worse for the Pennsylvanians, Gavin Dillard – who got to third base as a result of the errors – stole home on the front end of a double steal to give his side the lead.
Hudson Rue added an RBI grounder to third to cap the scoring in the first.
Dillard and Christian Meitzler each singled to lead off the second, but Baseball U starter Anthony Knight recovered to get the next two men out. But a dropped fly ball with two outs by Baseball U scored Dillard and moved Meitzler to third, setting up an RBI single by Anthony Gogolski.
Knight did not give up an earned run in four innings despite surrendering seven runs.
“We were definitely given opportunities, that’s for sure. But when you get them, that’s not just it. You have to cash in and we did a good job of that,” said Young.
Buchanan single-handedly created his team’s final run in the fifth, as he tripled to lead off the inning then scored on a wild pitch.
Baseball U Pocono took a short-lived lead in the top of the first, scoring a pair of runs. Dylan Keith and Camryn Sopko each doubled, getting the first tally on the board after the latter’s shot. Nolan Koza would follow that by singling in Sopko to extend the lead to 2-0.
Jake Iacavazzi and Joey Napoli each singled in a pair of runs for Baseball U in the fourth. They would go on to load the bases later in the inning, but a runner picked off and caught in a rundown promptly extinguished that comeback attempt.