By Will Harrigan
While it happens from time to time, it is not a common occurrence for the Diamond Jacks program to have each of its teams meet in a championship game.
By the time the 10-team Spring Classic field in the 14U tournament was whittled down to two, the Supers and Gold squads were left standing.
But in the end, it was the Super 14U that parlayed great pitching and took advantage of errors to take home the title.
The Diamond Jacks Super 14s rode the stellar pitching of Alex Famolari – five innings of one hit ball – to notch a 5-3 victory over a very game DJacks Gold squad in the title game at Diamond Nation on Sunday.
The Super 14U ran roughshod through their competition, battering their opponents by a 55-12 margin on their way to a 5-0 tournament.
The semifinals proved to be sweet revenge for the champions, who dispatched Bulldogs Baseball Academy by a 9-4 count. Two weeks ago in the Williams Harley Davidson final, the Super 14s were mercy-ruled by an 8-0 score in the finals by the Bulldogs.
“I’m really glad with the way this tournament went. Our guys remembered what happened two weeks ago against the Bulldogs and wanted to make a statement,” said Diamond Jacks Super 14U coach Mike Buckelew. “Then once you get into the finals and you see the other Jacks team here, obviously that game has a whole new meaning.”
The Super 14s took advantage of a few fielding mishaps by the Gold side, including in the first inning to take the lead.
Danny Contiliano drew a one out walk and quickly stole second base. In the ensuing at bat, a fielding error by the Gold squad on a Keith Mann grounder cost them two bases and a run, as Contiliano came around to score and make it 1-0.
Two more errors proved costly for the DJacks Gold in the third.
Lorenzo Maselli reached base and stole second base, but a fielding error and a pick-off attempt from home plate wound up in left field, gifting the Super 14U another run.
Pitching with a lead proved to be lethal with Famolari dealing, as the righthander struck out four batters while only surrendering a triple to Sean Loggie in the fifth.
“Everything was really working for me today, especially my slider,” said Famolari, who was named tournament co-MVP along with Konnor Ware. “Between getting the Bulldogs in the semis and obviously playing our DJacks in the finals, this was a tournament we really wanted to win.”
Loggie would come around to score on a wild pitch to draw the Gold within 5-1.
An RBI groundout by Matthew Baker and a passed ball to score Luke Borgmann extended the lead to 4-0 in the fourth, while another fielding error plated Maselli in the fifth to make it 5-0.
None of the five runs surrendered by the DJacks Gold 14U were earned. Gold’s starting left-hander Artie Conover pitched well for the runners-up, tossing four innings of three hit ball in a hard luck loss.
An RBI grounder by Nick Yaccarino in the sixth drew the Gold to within 5-2. They attempted to mount a late rally in the seventh, but Joshua Figueirido scoring on an error was all they could muster, thus falling two runs short.