Top of the order sparkles for Bridgewater at 11U Battle At The Turf

By DN WRITING STAFF | March 23, 2024

Bridgewater Panthers leadoff man Noah Komline takes off for the first of his four stolen bases. 

By Sean Reilly 

Noah Komline knows what to do as the leadoff batter for the Bridgewater Panthers 11U.

“I’m just trying to get on base any way I can,” he said. “Walk, hit or anything.”

Once that occurs, there’s more which often follows.

Komline also likes to steal bases, and thus put himself in position for the talented hitters below in the lineup to drive him home. 

Komline and the Panthers followed that strategy to perfection on Friday night at the Diamond Nation 11U Battle At The Turf in Flemington. 

Komline walked twice and was hit by a pitch in three plate appearances. He also stole four bases and scored three runs as the Panthers defeated Pioneers Baseball Red, 10-2, in the tournament opener for both. 

The No. 2 hitter in the Panthers lineup is Mikey Pikulin, and he singled home Komline in his first two at-bats, and also walked and scored in his other at-bat.

“That’s the way we like to do it,” said Pikulin, who was the only player in the game to finish with multiple hits.

The Panthers are now 5-0 on the season, having gone unbeaten at another location last week.

There was a quick carryover into their first appearance of the year at ‘The Nation,’ as Komline led off the top of the first with a walk, before stealing second and third. He scored when Pikulin singled to left field. 

Mark Schmeider then walked to put runners on first and second. The next batter was Andrew Nolfo, who hit a grounder to third that forced out Pikulin. The third baseman tried to get a double play at second base, but the throw went into the outfield, allowing Schmeider to score and Nolfo to advance to third. Brandon Brewster followed with an RBI single to center field. 

Pioneers Baseball Red, from Conshohocken, Pa., had runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the first, but Brewster struck out the next batters looking.

The Pioneers, who were playing their first game of the season, began the bottom of the second with a triple to right-center by Riley Hutchinson, which was followed by an RBI double to left-center by Frank Lester. 

Brewster again settled down, getting a strike out, fly out, and pitcher-to-first ground out to keep the lead at 3-1.

Bridgewater sent up the top of its lineup to begin the third, and once again good things happened.

Komline walked, and once again stole second and third. Pikulin followed with another RBI single, this one to center field.

Teammates await Brooks Bennett of Pioneers Baseball Red after his third-inning home run.

After a strikeout and fielder’s choice force out, which erased Pikulin, Brewster was safe on an error, and Evan Lorino hit a run-scoring single to center for a 5-1 advantage. 

The Pioneers got one of those runs back in the bottom of the third, on a one-out, bases-empty home run to straightaway center by Brooks Bennett. 

Bridgewater added to its lead in the fourth. Ryan Dobkin was hit by a pitch with one out, stole two bases, and scored on a ground out from Miles Dorsey. 

Bridgewater wrapped up its scoring with a four-run fifth inning. After loading the bases on two hit batters and a walk, Nolfo and Brewster drew RBI walks with one out. Lorino also drew a bases-loaded walk, and the final run scored on a wild pitch. 

The Panthers continue pool play on Sunday morning against FB Braves 11U Red Scout (1-0). 

Pioneers Baseball Red played a second game on Friday night, and gained a 7-5 victory over the Diamond Jacks Super 11U.

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Comments 1

  1. Good job Noah Komline. Well trained, and ambitious young man. May he continue to achieve great things and achieve his dream. May he make everyone proud, expecially his team, parents and the coach. All blessings and good luck .

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