Clark Chase of Stars Baseball jumps toward home plate after hitting a long three-run home run.
By Sean Reilly
As Clark Chase trotted around the bases after hitting a home run on Sunday morning, he completed the trip with a jump and stomp onto home plate.
It was authoritative, just like the swing which launched his critical blast far beyond the right field fence and toward the batting cages past Field 2 at Diamond Nation.
All in all, not bad for the 12th hitter in a 12-man Stars Baseball Huller lineup.
“It was the best feeling I’ve had off the bat in a while,” said Chase, who is not necessarily known for his power.
His home run, with one out in the top of third inning, was the blow his Virginia team needed to come alive for what became an 8-5 victory over NY Prospects at the 12U Fall Classic in Flemington.
Stars Baseball had started the tournament with two impressive wins which clinched a first-place finish in its pool. But with three pools comprising the 12-team field, having the top overall record and run differential was still important, because best of the three pool winners would earn a bye into the final.
As it turned out, the Stars third victory earned the No. 1 seed, and the team captured the championship later on Sunday. The final score against NY Prospects was also critical, since the Stars had a 39-10 run difference in pool play, while the No. 2 seed Diamond Jacks Super 12U had a 35-10 differential in theirs.
Stars Baseball had no trouble putting the ball in play over the first two innings against NY Prospects, but the contact wasn’t very hard.
That began to change in the third. Brian Park led off with a single to center field, and stole second. After an out, Connor MacBean hit a grounds rule double to center. Garrett Brown reached on an error, resulting in runners on first and third for Chase.
He then delivered his no-doubt blast for a 4-0 lead.
“I haven’t hit many like that,” he said. “I was looking for a fastball, and I got one. It felt good.”
The Prospects (0-3) got an RBI single from Mike Cavallo with two out in the bottom of the inning, but the Stars scored four more runs in the fourth for an 8-1 lead.
That inning began with a leadoff home run by Colton Smith. Jack Faessen then singled, stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw. Christian Colina hit a sacrifice fly. Ryan Dempsey had a RBI single later in the inning, and scored on an error.
The Prospects, who got the third out in the inning with the bases loaded to stave off a potential mercy rule ending, showed grit by scoring three times in the bottom of the frame to instead close within 8-4.
Charlie Risano drew a bases loaded walk, Vito Larignani was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Gavin Loscalzo hit into a fielder’s choice that resulted in Risano scoring on an error.
Geo Molinare had an RBI groundout for the Prospects in the fifth inning.
Preston Willis finished 2-for-3 with two doubles for the Stars.