Team Crush 2021 jumped out to a big early lead and received a strong five innings from righthander Kevin Peters on its was to a 9-7 victory over the NJ Marlins 2021 in the 16U Mid-Summer Classic White Bracket championship game last night at Diamond Nation.
Team Crush struck for five runs in the first inning and four more runs in the second to take a 9-1 lead. Peters contained the Marlins to the tune of two runs on four hits over the first five innings before the Marlins finally got to him in the sixth.
The Marlins struck for five runs in the top of the sixth to draw within 9-7 and still had the bases loaded before reliever Justin Pescoe induced a bouncer to second base to extricate his team from further trouble and secure the championship.
“Kevin did a good job but did run out of gas there in the last inning,” said Marlins coach Anthony Piccolini. “Justin came in and got that big out.” Peters worked 5.2 innings and Pescoe got the last out as the game ended there via the time limit.
Team Crush (5-0) was presented an early opportunity as the Marlins’ starting pitcher issued walks to the first three batters of the game. Then two runs came home on a wild pitch and a bad throw back to the plate. After Jack Callahan reached on an error, J.J. Jacquette delivered two more runs on a double to the right field fence. Jacquette scored the fifth run of the rally on Steph Grammatica’s fielder’s choice grounder.
The Marlins manufactured a run in the top of the second when Jason Taylor drew a one-out walk, stole second, reached third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
But the Tuckahoe, N.Y.-based Team Crush put a four-spot on the board in the bottom of the second to put the Marlins in a 9-1 hole. That rally began at the very bottom of the Team Crush lineup when Frank Mondrone, the No. 11 hitter, reached on an infield single and Pescoe, the No. 12 hitter, followed with a single to right field. Ryan Hunter then ripped a double down the left field line to score Pescoe before Danny Infante followed with a double to the left-center field gap that scored both runners for an 8-1 lead. Infante scored the final run of the inning on a fielder’s choice.
Peters did not allow a hit until the Marlins’ Jacob Vezcko ended the no-hit bid decisively with a one-out triple to straightaway center field in the fourth. Nate Pallotta brought Vezcko home with what was recorded as a sac fly, but was also the defensive play of the game. Pallotta hit a shot into the left-center field gap that looked like a sure extra-base hit. But center fielder Jacquette raced over, dived flat out and made what would be a remarkable catch at any level of ball. Considering Jack Urbano followed with a single before Peters got a strikeout to end the inning, Jacquette’s catch prevented a big inning by the Marlins.
Devin Foderraro and Eric Kaletcher each singled with two outs in the fifth, but Peters again got a strikeout to end the inning and avoid further trouble.
A.J. Estrella led off the sixth for the Marlins with a triple and scored when Andrew Weber bounced out to shortstop, cutting the deficit to 9-3. It didn’t appear at that point that Team Crush had any concerns, especially with the clock ticking quickly toward the end of the time limit, meaning this would be the Marlins last at bat. But Peters suddenly lost the plate, walking the bases loaded around a strikeout for the second out.
Piccolini tried to squeeze one more out from Peters, but his righthander walked another batter and plunked a batter with a pitch to force home two runs and shave the lead to 9-5. Pescoe entered and, initially, had his own trouble closing out the victory. He walked Dylan Millman and Foderraro as the Marlins inched closer to 9-7. Finally, on a 2-2 pitch, Pescoe got the next batter to hit a bouncer to Infante at second, who tossed the ball to his shortstop, Hunter, to end it.
Alex Del Brocco, Team Crush’s left fielder, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The choice for the honor wasn’t an easy one as Infante, Jacquette and Callahan each had a big tournament as well.
“Alex had an outstanding tournament,” said Piccolini. “He’s our heart and soul. Our catcher. He’ll do anything, make any sacrifice for the team.”
Team Crush also received excellent pitching throughout the tournament. Mondrone tossed a complete game in Team Crush’s 9-3 victory over Hit And Run Outlaws 2022 in the semifinals. Joe Capano pitched a complete game shutout in his team’s 7-0 victory over Baseball U. Connecticut 16U Orange in the third game of pool play.
“Yes, our pitching was great,” said Piccolini. “We had three complete games and almost a fourth in the final.”
Team Crush outscored its opponents 41-13 while the NJ Marlins (4-1) held a 39-15 runs advantage on their opponents.
Garden State Invitational 17/18U Wood Bat
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Mid-Summer Classic 16U
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Beat The Heat
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RCBC Nationals 7, Minutemen 3: RCBC Nationals defeated the Minutemen, 7-3, in the 11U Beat The Heat championship game. RCBC Nationals (4-0-1) outscored their opponents 49-19. The Minutemen (3-1) held a 48-14 runs advantage on their opponents.
Prospect U. Baseball Braves 6, Riverbank Baseball 3: Prospect U. Baseball Braves defeated Riverbank Baseball, 6-3, in the 12U Beat The Heat championship game. J.P. Zayle of Prospect U. was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Prospect U. Baseball (3-1) outscored its opponents 35-18. Riverbank Baseball (3-1) held a 34-17 runs advantage on its opponents.