TCS Blackhawks 15U win third straight in DN World Series

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 4, 2024

Navio Delgado beats out an infield single for the TCS Blackhawks.

By Rich Bevensee

After years of conducting training sessions at Top Corner Sports in Bridgewater, baseball lifer Dan Leary got the itch to try running a club baseball program.

Three tournament weekends into his club debut season, Leary is happy to report that the players are not only jelling as a group, the results of that camaraderie are bearing fruit on the field.

The TCS Blackhawks 15U team won its third straight game this weekend when Dominick Summonte drove in three runs, Dylan Shah accounted for two RBI, and five other players knocked in a run in a 16-2, three-inning victory over The Sports Yard of Syracuse in the 15U Diamond Nation World Series on Wednesday in Flemington.

The Blackhawks got base hits from their top eight hitters in an offensive attack which also featured six runs scored on errors. 

“It took a little while to get moving, but taking advantage of things based on what the other team does is what we do,” Leary said. “We don’t have any superstars or high level guys so we like to run a lot and play good defense.”

The Blackhawks (3-0) round out pool play against the Powerballers on Thursday at 10 a.m. The Sports Yard fell to 0-4. 

TCS sent 13 batters to the plate in a nine-run second inning, then rallied for seven runs in the third to bring about the mercy rule. Summonte and Shah had RBIs in both rallies. 

Watching the players react to each other’s accomplishments seemed proof enough that these first-year teammates are enjoying the experience.

“It’s much easier to hit when you’re playing loose,” said Shah, a rising junior at Franklin High. “Environment is very important, because in a bad environment you can succumb to bad energy. We have good chemistry. The energy is always there with us. I really enjoy the environment, so it’s easy for us to string together hits.”

With a win against the Powerballers on Wednesday, the Blackhawks will clinch a playoff berth, which would be their third in as many Diamond Nation appearances this spring/summer.

TCS reached the semifinals of the Memorial Day Blast but the playoffs were rained out. The following week TCS reached the championship game of the 15U White Home Run Classic and lost to 3Up3Down.

“Playing for a new team has been really nice,” said Zac Davis, a rising North Hunterdon sophomore who pitched all three innings for the Blackhawks. “We’re really close like a family. A lot of great kids, a lot of great parents. It’s been easy to connect with them and I know they have my back.”

TCS Blackhawks leadoff hitter Thomas Kester supplied an RBI triple.

Davis, primarily using a fastball, allowed two runs on two hits, walked four and struck out three. He threw changeups and curveballs sparingly.

“I was trying mainly to locate my fastball and then mix in some offspeed a little bit,” Davis said. “They were behind on the fastball so I stuck with it and tried to lower my pitch count, and let the boys do their work.”

Davis allowed a walk to Ben Carroll and a hit to Lathan Milliman in the first inning, and with Carroll on third and Milliman on first, they pulled off a double steal for the game’s first run.

In the second, The Sports Yard took a 2-0 lead when Davis gave up a leadoff walk to Corey Kolbas and a single to Cole Granoski. Two batters later Brandon Slater drove in Kolbas with a groundout. That was all the trouble Davis faced.

“Once he got into a groove and started hitting his spots, he threw the ball hard,” Leary said. “It’s about getting him to settle in and trust his stuff. He’s a competitor.”

Shah gave the Blackhawks a solid outing in their previous game, a 9-5 victory over the North Jersey Diamondbacks. He surrendered one earned run over six innings and struck out five.

“The past few games have been a little shaky but in that one I had one bad inning and then I really figured it out, got into a rhythm and started rolling,” Shah said.

Offensively for the Blackhawks, Summonte was 2-for\-3 with a double and three RBI. Shah singled and drove in two runs. Thomas Kester had an RBI triple, and Joe Duffy and Brandon Leonard both singled in a run. Joseph Wernicki drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

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