Richard Gaskins of GBG Northeast scores on double by Cameron Brouillard.
By Sean Reilly
It was a game that had a bit of everything, except a winner.
Jersey Shore Elite matched up against Garciaparra Baseball Group Northeast from Foxboro, Massachusetts on Sunday evening at Diamond Nation at the 11U Memorial Day Blast, Powered By Victus.
Both teams entered with 2-0 records, with two games remaining in pool play. It wasn’t a sure thing, but the outcome would likely decide the winner of the pool and the accompanying berth into the Monday playoffs.
What followed were six innings of big hits, clutch pitches and important defensive plays. There were also lead changes which resulted in multiple shifts of momentum.
But the end result of it all was a 10-10 tie in Flemington, after Luke Swahn of GBG Northeast hit the tying fielder’s choice with one out in the bottom of the sixth to score Cam Brouillard, who beat a throw to the plate after drawing a one-out walk and stealing two bases.
After his RBI tied the score, Swahn stole second base, but the game ended in the tie after a strikeout and ground out to short.
The outcome then meant the pool winner would be decided by the outcomes of second games played by the two teams on Sunday night.
In those matchups, GBP Northeast lost to the Bucks County Generals 11U, 2-0, while Jersey Shore Elite beat the North Rockland Bulldogs, 13-4, to clinch the first-place pool finish.
Jersey Shore Elite had scored four runs in the top of the fifth, capped by a two-run grounds rule double by Hunter Schweikert with two out, to claim an 8-7 lead.
But after the first two GBG Northeast batters were retired in the bottom of fifth, pinch hitter Noah Murphy walked and stole second, before Tommy Lawson socked a two-run home run over the fence in left center field, putting his team up, 9-8.
It was the second career home run, and first of the season, by Lawson, the ninth batter in the order.
“It was great,” he said. “One of the best feelings that I’ve ever really had.”
There was plenty more to come in the sixth and final inning.
Jersey Shore Elite began the frame with Matt Arango drawing a walk, but GBG Northeast turned a nifty double play on a grounder to get within one out of a victory.
Joey Malfettano followed with a single and stole second. Zion Sanzone, who singled and scored the first run in the fifth inning, delivered a single to left field that scored Malfettano for a 9-9 tie. He took second on a throw to the plate, and then scored on a base hit to left field by Matt Gathman to give Jersey Shore Elite a 10-9 lead.
“I was looking for an inside pitch and I took it out there,” Gathman said.
GBG Northeast then staged its final game-tying rally in the bottom of the inning, capped by Swahn’s grounder which forced a throw to the plate that was too late to beat the speedy Brouillard, who ended 1-for-2 with two walks, two runs and four stolen bases. He also hit an RBI double in the first inning.
Among the other standouts in the game were Patrick Hennessy of Jersey Shore Elite, who went 2-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and two runs out of the leadoff spot, and Richard Gaskins, who was 2-for-4 with a run, hitting leadoff for GBG Northeast.
“They played well, and we played well,” said Lawson. “It was a great game.”