Toms River players make Whitecaps 15U dangerous

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 19, 2023

Aidan Lynch steals third after RBI grounds rule double in the fourth gave Whitecaps a 4-1 lead.

By Rich Bevensee

They may be a town travel team, but they don’t care much for the label.

The Whitecaps 15U baseball team, a collection of ballplayers from Toms River North and South high schools, are confident enough in their team that they’re not concerned about being overmatched by club teams which draw from multiple towns, multiple counties and even multiple states. 

“I really don’t care that we all come from the same town,” said Whitecaps pitcher Alex Fisher. “We have a good group of guys, we all like each other and we have fun, so when we go out in the field we play well together.”

Fisher and his teammates did a pretty good job Sunday morning making a statement about facing down club teams. Fisher, Evan Schmidt and Nick Daniele combined for a three-hitter, Ben McEwan ripped a two-run home run, and the Whitecaps won their first 15U pool play game, 8-1, over Team Crush Baseball in the Father’s Day Classic at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

“All we can ask is that they play as hard as they can, and compete and compete and compete,” Whitecaps coach Todd Kazanowsky said. 

Earlier this weekend the Whitecaps bowed to PA Shockers 2026s, 10-2. They were to conclude pool play against Out Of The Park Prospects 15U after their game against Crush.

Fisher, a rising sophomore lefty from Toms River South, pitched 3⅔ innings and used only his fastball and curveball to allow one run on one hit and three walks with four strikeouts. Schmidt, also from South, threw two shutout innings and permitted just two walks. Daniele, from North, threw 1⅓ scoreless innings and allowed one hit and one walk and struck out two.

“We’re trying to get some of our pitchers some work because they didn’t pitch much during the school year,” Kazanowsky said. “Alex pitched on his freshman team and Evan and Nick didn’t pitch at all. They were throwing strike one and working ahead for most of the game and that really helped.”

McEwan, a lefty hitter, hit his first career home run in the bottom of the fifth inning, a 305-foot, two-run shot which hugged the right field line and gave the Whitecaps a 6-1 lead. He also added an infield RBI single in the sixth when he tapped the ball with the end of his bat.

Ryan Randall (22) greets Ben McEwan at home after McEwan’s two-run home run in the fifth for the Whitecaps.

“Hopefully we all have high expectations,” McEwan said. “I think we’re gonna be good. We have pitching, a good lineup, and we hit well. It’s a good contact team. We’re not really worried that all of us come from one town. We have a good bunch of kids, we have a lot of talent and we’re all friends.”

The Whitecaps kick-started the offense by stringing together four consecutive hits in the first inning. Ian St. Luce drove in the first run with a single up the middle and later came around to score on a balk, and Daniele added another RBI single for a 3-0 Whitecaps lead. 

Crush struck back with a single run in the third when Diego Gonzalez notched his team’s first hit, a double to the right-center gap which scored Tyler Moroni. 

In the fourth, Aidan Lynch hit a grounds rule double which scored Daniele for a 4-1 Whitecaps lead, and McEwan made it 6-1 with his fifth inning homer. 

Whitecaps leadoff hitter Ryan Randall (2-for-3) and McEwan added back-to-back RBI singles in the sixth for the final margin.

Will Brachitta and Chase Palumbo were the only other Crush players besides Gonzalez to notch hits against Whitecaps pitching. Crush fell to 0-2 with the loss and was to play PA Shockers 2026s later on Sunday.

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