By Sean Reilly
The Long Island Body Armor Titans blew through their first five games at the Diamond Nation Super 13 World Series by flaunting the team’s arms, gloves and bats.
In Friday afternoon’s championship contest against Diamond Jacks Super 13U, they added another component to their arsenal – bunts.
The Titans successfully bunted three straight times in the bottom of the second inning, including both a squeeze and a push bunt that scored the first two runs in a nine-run explosion that led to a 10-2 victory in Flemington.
“We don’t bunt much,” Titans coach Brian Anderson said. “But their catcher was ridiculous, so it takes away a lot of what we can do, stealing and stuff like that. We have the ability to win in different ways, so when it’s there, we’ve got to do it.”
The Titans entered the game having outscored their five tournament opponents, 64-0, including an 8-0 win over the CK Cardinals immediately preceding in the semifinals.
In the final, they were facing a DJacks team which was also unbeaten, having gone 5-0 with a 47-10 run difference. The DJacks Super 13U reached the final by defeating their Diamond Jacks 13U Gold brothers, 9-1, in the semifinals.
The Body Armor Titans weren’t focusing on earning another shutout in the final. They were content on simply winning the game, just like they did on July 11, when they defeated the DJacks Super 13U, 10-4, in the final of the 13U Youth World Series at Diamond Nation. The Titans ended that tournament 6-0 with a 64-11 run difference. This Titans team is legit.
Derek Yormack, the tournament Most Valuable Player, allowed five hits in Friday’s five-inning game. He struck out five and walked five.
“They’re a really good team,” said Anderson, in praise of the DJacks. “They’re really well coached, and you’ve got to play well to beat them.”
The Titans took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first and made a collective mental note in the process. Jaiden Zoller led off with a full-count walk, and Ryan Yormack was hit by a pitch. After a fly out, Zoller was thrown out trying to steal third by DJacks catcher Mike Basile. That would be the last time they’d test his arm in the game.
Ryan Yormack did take second on the back end of that play, which came with Derek, his brother at the plate. Derek followed with his 18th hit of the week, a single on a dribbler down the third base line. A throwing error to first base scored Ryan.
The Titans finally conceded a run in the top of the second.
Wyatt Morrissey reached on an error with one for the DJacks, and stole second. He scored on Sandro Salomone’s two-out double down the left field line.
Then came the Titans’ best offensive inning of a week full of outstanding outbursts. It included five hits and three runs scoring before a ball was hit out of the infield.
Charlie Shapiro got it started by legging out a single on a ground ball hit to deep third base. Brian Brower followed with a well-placed single between first and second base.
The first bunt was a sacrifice by Jaxson Torres that advanced the runners into scoring position. Shane Meehan then dropped a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt which scored Shapiro for a 2-1 lead. Chase Lordi then pushed a bunt single past the pitcher and away from the first baseman for another single, this one scoring Brower for a 3-1 score.
Zoller was up next, and tried bunting during his at-bat, but instead settled for a full-count infield hit between pitcher, third and shortstop to load the bases.
Ryan Yormack was hit by a pitch to force in a run, before a ball finally reached the outfield when Bobby Wescott ripped a one-run single to right field for a 5-1 lead. Derek Yormack was hit by a pitch to bring in another run, and Luke Coats drew a four-pitch walk to score the next run.
Shapiro then produced his second hit of the inning, a two-run double that eluded the left fielder. Following a pitching change, Brower’s sacrifice fly to center field scored the ninth run of the inning for a 10-1 lead.
After that, Derek Yormack’s pitching job became a whole lot easier. Anderson saved his arm for the final, but had others in line just in case. But nobody else was needed.
“We executed very well and hit very well,” Yormack said. “My changeup was working. They are a team that kills fastballs, so keeping them off-speed makes the game that much easier. In the inning with all the runs, the bunting isn’t something we normally do. An inning like that calms me down and allows me to pitch more freely.”
“We had a couple of guys behind him,” Anderson said. “But he did what he had to do.”
The Diamond Jacks scored their other run in third, when Justin Labrador delivered an RBI double. He finished the game 3-for-3.
But the week was one that belonged to the Body Armor Titans.
“We played well,” Anderson said. “When you throw strikes and catch the baseball, you usually win games. In more ways than one, we found a way to win.”