Clubhouse pitchers (from left) Hunter Hoxie, Jasper Nadel, Declan Wywoda and Brian Goglia struck out a combined 18 batters against the NJ Saints.
By Rich Bevensee
The ultimate purpose of the Super 17 Invitational Powered by Victus is to help uncommitted high school-age ballplayers get noticed by college recruiters.
Clubhouse 2024 DeMarini, a Fairfield, Connecticut-based program whose roster is dotted with Division 1 commits, played with the unintended purpose of showing college hopefuls what it takes to be invited to compete at the next level.
Hunter Hoxie, a Rutgers commit, teamed with George Washington commits Jasper Nadel and Declan Wywoda and uncommitted righty Brian Goglia to shut down the New Jersey Saints 17U squad, 8-1, as the Super 17 Invitational continued on Thursday afternoon at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
The four Clubhouse pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts, or all but three outs in the seven-inning contest closed out by Goglia.
Hoxie, a 5-10, 190-pound lefty, struck out five in two innings and allowed only one walk while his fastball hovered in the mid-80s and his curveball frustrated Saints hitters. The Milford, Connecticut, native said even though his college future has been settled, his mission for the summer is anything but resting on his laurels before he moves to Piscataway this fall.
“I’m trying to better my craft, working on improving my pitches, my offspeed, getting more velo and strength and being able to go deep in games without getting into trouble,” Hoxie said. “And maybe get a few pro looks, too.”
Hoxie said making his commitment to Rutgers in February of 2022 made his school and summer seasons more enjoyable, but pressure still existed because of the increased outside expectations.
“After I committed there was a little more pressure because you’re expected to do well and if you dont they say you’re overrated,” Hoxie said.
It seems he handled it well. This past spring Hoxie, a rising senior at Jonathan Law in Milford, Conn., earned All-State honors after striking out 58 batters in 35 innings with a 70 percent first ball strike rate and a 34 percent strikeout rate.
Hoxie was followed by a pair of George Washington commits. Jasper Nadel, a rising senior at the Salisbury School, struck out six in two innings and allowed only one hit. Declan Wywoda, Hoxie’s teammate at Jonathan Law, allowed one run in two innings with three hits and five strikeouts.
As the uncommitted pitcher of Clubhouse’s foursome, the 6-2, 175-pound Goglia reached 86 mph on the radar and pitched a scoreless seventh with two strikeouts.
“There are a couple schools who are interested right now but I’m taking it day by day,” said Goglia, another rising senior at Jonathan Law. “This summer I’m working on throwing mostly strikes, developing my curveball – definitely trying to make it my best pitch.”
Offensively it was Tim Domizio who led Clubhouse. Domizio, who recently graduated from Fairfield Prep, went 3-for-3 in the No. 9 hole after what he called a so-so week at the plate. He had an RBI single in the first inning, he tripled to center and scored in the sixth inning, and added another RBI single in the seventh.
Clubhouse was playing on Field 3, which is directly under the view of Diamond Nation’s scout tower, so Domizio’s performance was seen by several scouts hanging over the observation railing.
“Started off a little soft in this tournament hitting-wise – a couple of hard outs, wasn’t really finding the hole,” Domizio said. “But it’s good to go out on a high note, especially in front of these guys. It’s great to look up there and see 10 to 20 schools. I like to channel that and use it toward my game.”
Domizio, a 5-11, 180-pound middle infielder, is taking a less traveled approach to the college game. He will attend Avon Old Farms, a boarding school in Avon, Conn., to spend a post-graduate year building his game.
“It was a big decision for me,” Domizio said. “I’m younger for my year and playing baseball is definitely something I want to do at the next level. I can’t really see me not doing that – it’s hard to let go of the game.
“Also, when the college decision process came up when I was a senior – separating big schools and small schools, and adding the fact that I want to play – it’s another year of development and getting ready toward that D-1 goal.”
While Hoxie and Co. were chalking up strikeouts, Clubhouse used a five-run, first-inning burst to take control of the game. Leadoff man Ben Williams scored on a throwing error after a dropped third strike. Pepperdine commit Cole Silvia scored on an Ian Nilsen fielder’s choice when the throw home was over the catcher’s head. Patrick McKenzie scored on a Samuel Gettinger fielder’s choice to make it 3-0.
Robert Perlman and Domizio stroked RBI singles for a 5-0 advantage.
Gettinger made it 6-0 in the third inning on an RBI single, and Nicholas Porzio, batting in the No. 10 hole, drove in Domizio on a groundout in the fourth.
The Saints enjoyed a burst of offense of their own in the fifth with three straight hits off Clubhouse’s Wywoda. Josh LaTourette singled, Garrett Herndon cranked a double to right center, and Dylan Pyle drove in LaTourette with an opposite-field single to left.
Domizio capped Clubhouse’s scoring with a two-out RBI single in the sixth.
Clubhouse concluded their week at Diamond Nation at 3-1. They defeated Time To Sign Scout, 8-1, and East Coast Lumberjacks 2025s, 1-0. Clubhouse’s only setback was a 3-2 verdict against DMV Prospects 2024.
The Saints, with most players hailing from Somerset County, N.J., finished 0-4 this week. They lost 12-3 to DMV Prospects, 10-3 to CT Grind Carolina, and 5-4 to Diamond Jacks 17U Gold.
One of the Saints’ bright spots in the game was second baseman Teddy Garcia, who played impeccable defense and turned in the web gem of the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Garcia, a rising senior at South Brunswick, scrambled to his left to track down a twisting pop fly off the bat of Christian Nilsen. He snagged the ball inches from the ground with a sliding catch on his knees in foul ground.