Cameron Riccio of Southcoast Power scores on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Donovan Libby.
By Sean Reilly
The Southcoast Power traveled from Massachusetts to New Jersey to compete over the holiday weekend in the 12U Grand Slam Tournament at Diamond Nation.
The Power obviously wants to win, but they have another goal for their visit to Flemington. After an active and enjoyable 2022 season, this is their final tournament of the year, and they want to end it by having a good time.
The Power played well, and played loose, in their first game, an 8-6 victory over the Powerballers on Saturday afternoon. They would go on to drop their next game to the eventual champion Diamond Jacks Super 12U and finished the event with an 8-8 tie with a tough Centercourt Young Guns squad.
“We’re here for fun this weekend,” said Southcoast coach Tim Souza. “It’s the end of the season and our last tournament of the year. We’re looking to have a good time on and off the field.”
Starting pitcher Owen Bowcock commenced things by looking sharp on the mound for the Power. He struck out the first two batters in the opening inning, allowed a hit to Logan Tilton of the Powerballers, and then got another strikeout.
Southcoast then struck for four runs in the bottom of the inning. Nicholas Frias led off with a single to shortstop, and stole two bases. Bowcock reached on a walk and then stole second. With Benjamin Viera at the plate, a wild pitch scored Frias, and Viera hit a grounds rule double to center field for a 2-0 lead.
A wild pitch moved Viera to third, and Cameron Riccio then walked and stole second. Lucas Souza grounded out to second base, with Viera scoring for a 3-0 lead. The fourth run scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Donovan Libby.
Bowcock allowed a leadoff single in the second, but the runner was erased in a rundown following a pickoff throw. He then struck out the next two.
In the bottom of the second, Brody Robertson led off and was safe on an error. He scored on a single by Giovanni Rodriguez. Frias reached on a two-base error with two out, stole third and scored when the throw went past the base.
In keeping with the weekend philosophy of playing loose, the Power went to relief pitchers beginning in the third. The Pennsylvania-based Powerballers scored two runs that inning, with Grayson Smith hitting a sacrifice fly and Nick Russo drawing a bases loaded walk.
“We came out of the box pretty quick,” Souza said. “I don’t want to throw pitchers in October too long. A little bit here and a little bit there, so we took our No. 1 out after two. We made our plays, we got thrown out a couple of times, but we were aggressive.”
Southcoast extended its lead in the fourth. Rodriguez was hit by a pitch with one out, stole second and scored when Frias reached on a two-out error.
The Powerballers closed to 7-2 in the fifth when Nick Shenk singled, stole second and scored as Tilton was safe on an error.
Southcoast pushed its lead to 8-3 in the bottom of the fifth after Viera walked with one out, moved to second on a wild pitch and then came home on a single to right field from Souza, who ended 2-for-3.
The Powerballers made the game interesting in the top of the sixth. They began a rally with a leadoff double by Eli Tuliszewski, a walk to Stephen Vishnesky and an RBI single from Aiden Zito. Owen Walters then hit an RBI groundout to get the Powerballers within 8-5.
After a strikeout, Shenk (2-for-3) hit a run-scoring single to center. With the tying run at the plate, the next batter grounded out to second to end the game.
Southcoast lost that 12-1 decision later in the day against the Diamond Jacks Super 12U, who clinched first place in the pool with the win.