Drew Waters hit a three-run home run in the first inning to give Beast Black a 3-0 lead.
By Rich Bevensee
If the Beast Black 12U baseball team could bottle resilience, they would be a very wealthy ballclub.
Not many 12-year old squads could post a three-run lead only to lose it, then build a four-run lead, almost lose that, too, and stick around long enough to win.
That’s just the kind of day Beast Black was having when it defeated East Coast Clutch 7-6 in pool play at the Super 12 Invitational on Sunday morning at Diamond nation in Flemington.
The victory salvaged a difficult weekend for Beast Black, which lost its first two games of the weekend while also losing one of its best players to injury.
“Yesterday (Saturday) wasn’t our day,” Beast coach Anthony D’Andrea said. “We just didn’t show up, and emotionally it was a rough day because one of our kids got injured – it deflated the team. We had a team meeting last night and some of them spoke up and said tomorrow is a new day and this is a very good ballclub.
“There was a lot to be proud of today.”
They could be proud of Drew Waters, who sent a first-inning rocket over the center field fence for a three-run home run and a 3-0 Beast lead. It was his eighth home run of the season.
“I don’t think we were nervous,” said Waters, who went 2-for-3. “I think we were too hyped up when we started giving the game away. The other team came back and we decided to play harder.”
Clutch chipped away at its deficit and tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the third on consecutive RBI singles by Mason Santoro and Sam Strawhecker.
The score remained that way until the bottom of the fifth, when Patrick Dalien took his turn responding to pressure. Beast’s No. 2 hitter sent a tiebreaking, two-run double into the left field corner for a 5-3 lead. Ryan Ortiz and Dalien later scored on consecutive wild pitches for a 7-3 cushion.
“I was excited to help my team,” Dalien said. “I wasn’t really nervous because I’m batting like .800 against righties so I was looking forward to getting my team in front again.”
“Patrick is one of the top players on Long Island,” D’Andrea said. “He’s been doing that all season, and he’s the type of kid we want up in those situations.”
Then there was Armando Muniz, who entered in relief of Tyler D’Amico with one out in the top of the sixth and Beast leading 7-3. Muniz got Beast within an out of victory after a strikeout, but then allowed an RBI single by Mason Letts and a two-run double by Mason Santoro.
And just like that, Clutch had clawed its way back into the game, trailing 7-6 with the tying run on second base and two out.
Muniz responded like his teammates – he came through, getting the last batter to swing at a high fastball for strike three.
“I was really nervous, just trying to get pitches into the strike zone,” Muniz said. “I was a little frustrated but I tried to keep my mental approach together, to keep myself straight. It was such a relief to get the last out, I was so excited that I started screaming.”
“He went out and battled against them and didn’t let hits shake him,” Waters said of Muniz.
For Beast, Matt McGlynn had two hits and D’Amico pitched 5⅓ strong innings.
For Clutch, which finished 1-1-1 on the weekend, Mason Santoro finished 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI. Jacob Chrosniak belted two doubles and knocked in a run, and Dylan Baum doubled and scored.