Leo Hernandez, who had a two-run double and two runs, reaches third base for Colossal Baseball 11U.
By Sean Reilly
To a man, the members of the Colossal Baseball 11U Select know that they have a quality team.
Getting to prove that thus far in 2023 has been a lot more difficult.
“We’ve dealt with a lot of rain and haven’t had many chances to play,” said head coach Jon Gonzalez. “It’s mostly been a lot of practice.”
This weekend, the South Jersey-based team is making its 2023 Diamond Nation debut, where it is competing in the 11U Spring Classic Powered By Victus.
Its first game was an impressive one, as Colossal rolled to a three-inning, 15-0 triumph over the Ridgewood Raiders White 11U in Flemington.
It was almost a year ago when Colossal visited ‘The Nation’ and left with a championship in the Father’s Day Classic 10U tournament, which was a breakthrough performance for the team.
A year older this spring, Colossal seems destined for more good things. It just hasn’t had a chance to find a rhythm, and weather causing postponements in events at other locations has been the prime reason.
“It was good to see them come out there and build their confidence,” Gonzalez said. “I haven’t seen them this happy in a while. Today was a really good day.”
One of those positive players was catcher Angelo DiSilvestro, who walked and scored a run, while playing a solid game behind the plate.
“It was nice to play,” he said. “I’m in a slump hitting right now and our whole team has been in a slump. It’s good to find out who we really are again. We just need a chance to get going.”
That’s exactly what happened on Saturday at the friendly confines of ‘The Nation.’
Ridgewood used two walks and a hit batter to load the bases in the top of the first, but couldn’t score.
Then, in the bottom of the inning, the first six Colossal batters reached and scored.
Kaden Hirsh led off with a single that landed between the pitcher and second base. Ben Kite followed with a grounds rule double to center field. Justin Bernard was hit by a pitch to quickly load the bases.
Hirsh scored on a wild pitch with Leo Hernandez at the plate, and Hernandez supplied the first run-scoring hit, a two RBI opposite field double to left field. After a single to center field by Mason Bendig, Vinny Criniti delivered a two-run double. Tyler Burns singled in the sixth run.
The hitting continued in the second inning, as 15 batters came to the plate during a nine-run burst.
Hirsh singled and walked during the inning as part of his 2-for-2 afternoon. Kite also had a walk and single in the inning, and also finished 2-for-2. Among the other highlights of the inning were two-run hits from Logan Yackel and Leighlan Reyes.
Kite pitched the first two innings and allowed one hit, a single by Ridgewood’s Nate Kuhnel on the first pitch of the game. Yackel pitched the third inning, and struck out the side.
Gonzalez joked that his team has had too little playing time and too much of having to listen to him during practices. But that’s been okay with DiSilvestro.
“I like that,” he said. “We need to find out how to get better. And a game like this one helps.”
Colossal has its final two pool games on Sunday, against Schuykill County Breaker Boys (1-0) in the morning and Team Beast (0-1) in the afternoon. Depending on those and other results, one or two playoff games could follow.
“We just have to attack for all six innings,” DiSilvestro said. “We just have to keep doing that.”