Uncommon 2024 Black ace Jack Scholz fires to the plate in 16U Mid-Summer Classic pool play.
By Will Harrigan
Saturday afternoon’s 16U clash between Uncommon 2024 Black and the Locked In Expos Blue squads was a dream for old school baseball buffs.
Aside from being played at a Raritan Valley Community College field that serves as a time machine to earlier times of the sport, the contest featured runs coming at a premium, terrific pitching, and timely hitting in a big spot.
Heck, the Expos only had nine players, leaving an empty cavern for a dugout when they were out on the field.
In the end, it was Uncommon that came through with the dagger, scoring in the bottom of the sixth to notch a 2-1 victory over the Expos in the Mid-Summer Classic. The go-ahead run, in the form of Justin Spiegler, came around to score on a fielding error after Chase Olszyk’s single.
“It was a tight game, and we made our share of plays to keep it close,” said Uncommon coach John Love. “Our guys did a good job at putting the ball in play, and eventually we were rewarded for it.”
Back in the first, Uncommon Baseball took the lead playing small ball.
Spiegler – who wound up scoring both runs for the winners – drew a leadoff walk, and true to the threatening old baseball adage, came around to score. He’d take second on a wild pitch and then move to third on an infield single off Olszyk’s bat.
Then, a well-executed double steal allowed Spiegler to cross home plate without even a slide, giving Uncommon a 1-0 edge.
That was the only earned run Zach Goyal would surrender in a terrific performance for the Expos. Goyal – a rising junior already in Montclair Kimberley’s rotation, and figures to be a staple on the mound for the Cougars in his upperclassmen years, surrendered just five hits while commanding the ball low in the zone and pitching to contact.
On the flip side, Jack Scholz was equally as impressive on the hill for the Uncommon side based out of Conshohocken, PA. In six innings of work, Scholz struck out seven Expos batters while only surrendering three hits.
“Jack’s a tough kid and whenever he pitches, we usually count on a quality start from him,” said Love. “He’s got a good mentality of going after batters and he doesn’t waste pitches. He did a great job for us today.”
The lone Expos run came in the top of the third. Leadoff batter Grant Nikolsky reached on a single and quickly stole second. Three batters later, and now with two outs, New Providence product Vince Graziano grounded a ball that was misplayed by Uncommon, allowing Nikolski to score and level things at 1-1.
Ben Andrade, Morristown High’s third baseman, reached scoring position four different times in a 2-for-3 day, but never came around to score.
Dylan Gallagher, Uncommon’s shortstop, also had a huge day at the plate, registering a 2-for-3 day with a double and a triple on his ledger.
Uncommon is now 2-0 in the event despite scoring only four total runs, while the Expos fell to 0-2 following the hard luck loss.