Five Titus Baseball 13U players are involved in a flawless rundown play between third and home.
By Sean Reilly
It took one not-so complicated inning on Sunday morning for Titus Baseball Academy to show why it was headed toward a first-place pool finish at the Diamond Nation 13U Spring Classic.
Speedy leadoff man Emmett Robinson began the game for the Delaware team against the Schuylkill County Breaker Boys (Pa.) by hitting a triple to center field, and he promptly scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Carter Schurman as part of a two-run inning.
In the bottom of the frame, Titus Baseball Academy turned a nifty 6-4-3 double play to keep the Breaker Boys off the board, and it was on its way to a 9-6 victory in Flemington that resulted in a unbeaten three-game showing in its pool.
Titus Baseball was sharp with its gloves throughout. The Breaker Boys started their half of the second inning with two walks, but they were kept off the board in large part due to a perfectly-executed rundown play that erased a runner between third and home.
And with the Titus lead reduced to three runs with runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the sixth, it pulled off another twin-killing that was triggered by first baseman Ryan Messick, who fielded a grounder, stepped on the base and threw to shortstop Zach Bines, who tagged the runner arriving at second for a game-ending double play.
“We had guys step and make plays,” Titus Baseball Academy coach Shawn Hoffman said. “When they got into tough situations, we had guys make great plays. Our pitchers didn’t have their best stuff, but they battled, they tried to let their guys hit the ball and let our defense help them out.”
The offensive key for Titus Baseball Academy was the production it received from the top of its order. Robinson was 2-for-2 with two walks, three runs and one RBI. Schurman followed his sac fly by going 1-for-2 with an RBI double, walk and run scored. Third batter Hacim Martin was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, two runs and one RBI, while cleanup man Kevin McConaghy was 2-for-3 with one RBI.
The catalyst was Robinson, whose bat and speed are a lethal combo.
“Emmett is a special player,” Hoffman said. “We go the way Emmett goes. He can change the game with one swing of the bat.”
After helping his team to the 2-0 lead in the first inning, he drew a two-out walk in the third, stole second, and then scored on a double by Schurman for a 3-0 advantage.
Robinson was then intentionally walked to load the bases with one out in the fifth, and came around to score as part of a five-run inning that pushed the lead to 8-3.
In the sixth inning, he added a two-out, opposite field RBI single to make it a 9-3 game.
“I just let the ball come to me and always attack,” Robinson said. “I try to attack fastballs because I know as a leadoff hitter, that’s my job. As a three or four hitter, you’re mostly going to see curveballs, so I know my job as a leadoff hitter is if I see a fastball, attack the fastball and try to get on base.”
That’s exactly what he did on his opening at-bat of the game.
“I saw what was coming, a fastball,” he said. “And that was my goal, to get on base.”
The Breaker Boys scored three-runs apiece in the fourth and sixth innings. Walker McGinley had a run-scoring hit with two out and Keegan Brown followed with a two-run single for a 3-3 tie in the fourth. Nolan Plesnarski singled in a run in the sixth and Brown, who went 2-for-3, added another two-run hit before Titus Baseball turned its game-ending double play.
“At the plate, we hit the baseball, fielded the ball when we had to and made the pitches we needed to,” Hoffman said. “If you do that, you’re going to be in every game.”