The only way to accurately describe the Diamond Jacks Super 14U’s performance this past weekend in the All-Star Tailgate tournament at Diamond Nation is thorough.
The team’s pitching was dominant, its hitting electric and defensively the Diamond Jacks committed just two errors in four games on the way to the All-Star Tailgate’s 14U championship.
“We played exceptional, elite level baseball,” said Super 14U coach Walter Cleary. “We pitched all eight guys and each pitched well. We hit from top-to-bottom in the lineup, especially our bottom half, and we played great defense.” The Diamond Jacks outscored its All-Star Tailgate opponents 43-1 in the four games.
Tyler DelVecchio and Robbie Carvelli of the Diamond Jacks Super 14U were named the tournament’s co-Most Valuable Players.
Griffin Mills pitched a tidy 51-pitch, four-inning stint of shutout ball against a tough Monmouth Nationals team to nail down an 8-0 victory in the All-Star Tailgate championship game. Mills struck out seven and walked none before Jimmy Mulvaney came in to close out the fifth and a mercy rule victory.
“We were able to get all of our pitchers a taste, which is really important with what lies ahead on our schedule,” said Cleary. The Super 14U is off this weekend before it heads to Woodbridge for a Perfect Game event that opens on June 21. An important trip to Alabama is next the week of June 27 to July 5 where Super 14U will compete in another high profile Perfect Game tournament.
The Diamond Jacks opened the All-Star Tailgate with a 12-1 victory over Full Count Baseball. The Super 14U allowed that run in the first inning of the opener and its pitchers would not permit another run in the tournament. Kolbie Stellpflug stifled Full Count in a five-inning three-hitter, striking out four in the opener.
“We stole a lot of bases, we picked up runners in scoring position, got some sac flies and were able to move runners over in spots, too,” said Cleary. “We really played well.”
Super 14U then defeated South Jersey Elite, 8-0, in a win that avenged a tie to the South Jersey squad in the Mother’s Day Classic on May 10. Noah Baird shut out South Jersey Elite on two hits over the first four innings. He struck out eight and threw 75 pitches. Luke Stevenson shed his catching gear to provide one inning of shutdown relief to close out the win.
The Diamond Jacks then knocked off the Morris County Cubs, 15-0, behind Justin Christensen’s sterling performance on the mound. Christensen limited the Cubs to three hits over five innings, struck out six and walked none. He threw just 57 pitches. Marco Maselli closed out a scoreless sixth inning and the mercy rule victory. The Cubs had defeated Super 14U, 6-3, in the Memorial Day Blast opener on May 24.
The Diamond Jacks pitchers amassed 30 strikeouts while walking just eight batters in their four tournament games. DelVecchio, Mulvaney, Carvelli and Rory Finn formed that potent bottom half of the Super 14U lineup that made it so difficult for opposing pitchers to navigate.