Tanner Bush tosses no-hitter for Morris County Cubs 13U

By DN WRITING STAFF | April 14, 2024

Tyler Castillo doubled twice and drove in two runs for Morris County Cubs Grey 13u.

By Rich Bevensee

One of the most sacred of all baseball traditions was nearly sabotaged midway through a masterful performance, yet Tanner Bush remained impossibly calm and composed.

Bush, on the bump for 13U Morris County Cubs Grey, was in the midst of constructing a no-hitter at the King Of The Diamond tournament on Saturday evening at Diamond Nation in Flemington. 

After the bottom half of the third inning, Bush returned to the Cubs dugout and a teammate, perhaps not understanding baseball voodoo or maybe too excited to observe it, asked Bush if he knew about the no-no.

“I got a little nervous when he said that,” Bush said. “I was like, ‘Really? Wait! Don’t jinx it! Don’t jinx it!’“

Maybe a gag order was installed in the dugout after that faux pax, but we know for sure that Bush maintained his composure long enough to complete his masterpiece. 

With a runner on third, Bush struck out the final two batters to preserve the no-hitter, shutout and lead the Cubs to a 16-0, five-inning decision over the Manalapan Militia in King Of The Diamond pool play. 

“That last inning I got really nervous, especially the last couple pitches I started to shake a little, but I got the no-hitter,” Bush said. “It’s my first no-hitter. I’m really happy, especially because I usually don’t pitch a lot. This year I’m pitching more and I’m doing pretty well.”

Tanner Bush notched his first career no-hitter in a 16-0 victory over Manalapan.

Bush stranded three Militia base runners at third and pitched to just two batters over the minimum.  He gave up one walk and hit one batter, and he fanned five.

“Tanner commands the strike zone really well,” Cubs manager Rich Ronchetta said. “First pitch strikes are important in baseball and he pitched to contact, the defense played well behind him and you see how it turned out on the scoreboard.”

Based on Bush’s shutdown show, Ronchetta was asked if Bush was the Cubs’ ace, and if so, why he was pitching in the team’s first pool game.

“We have a lot of really good pitchers on the team, and in tournaments like this it’s tough to go 3-0 and win your pool,” Ronchetta said. “I have to worry about getting out of the pool and not what we have after it.”

Bush was the recipient of a bountiful offense which provided 16 runs on 14 hits. The Cubs’ nine-run fifth inning – which saw 13 Cubs come to the plate to earn five hits and five walks – was the final salvo against the Militia.

“Scoring all those runs relieves me, especially because I know when we get to 10 runs there’s a mercy rule and I only have to get three outs to get the no hitter,” Bush said.

All 10 Cubs batters in the lineup scored at least once, seven had a base hit and seven drove in at least one run. The Nos. 1 and 2 hitters, Cole Shapiro and Tyler Cerutti, went a combined 7-for-8 with four RBI and four runs scored. Tyler Castillo doubled twice and Ruben Rodriguez tripled. 

“Batting 10th on this team is not an insult,” Ronchetta said. “It’s a compliment to the rest of the team on how well we hit.”

Bush is far from being accustomed to receiving this kind of attention for his pitching.

He explained he had not pitched all that often last season because his former team employed him as its starting shortstop. But since he’s joined the Morris County Cubs, the King Of The Diamond event was the third straight tournament in which he was selected as the Cubs’ opening game pitcher.

“That makes me feel good,” Bush said. “This year I’ve proved myself as a pitcher.”

Breaking down the Cubs offense, Cerutti was 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Shapiro was 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs.

Ruben Rodriguez tripled and singled in the Cubs’ nine-run fifth inning.

Castillo doubled twice, drove in two runs and scored once. Rodriguez tripled and singled in the Cubs’ nine-run fifth inning, he also walked twice and scored three times. 

Bush, Alex Ablaschai, Rocco Gallo and James Bortnick each drove in a run.

Later on Saturday night, the Cubs bowed 6-4 to Richmond County Baseball Club Ghost American.

For Manalapan, the Militia bounced back from its mercy-rule defeat to knock off the Braves 6-4.

The 13U semifinals are Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and the championship game is slated for 6:30 p.m.

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