Valley Dogs’ Shea the hero in wild win over .9ers

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 5, 2023

.9ers Baseball’s Mike Santise drove in four runs against the Valley Dogs.

By Will Harrigan

Valley Dogs 16U Red’s Ryan Shea ran just about the full gamut of the baseball experience in the span of one inning.

After working out of a big jam an inning earlier, Shea – with the misfortune of a crucial error mixed in – wound up surrendering four runs in the bottom of the sixth that tied up the game.

But in the ensuing top of the seventh, Shea would respond by blasting a triple into the right field corner, and would come around shortly after to score the winning run.

When all of that was said and done, the Valley Dogs – a club featuring players from upper Bergen County – notched a 7-6 victory over .9ers Baseball Club 16U in Super 16 World Series action at Diamond Nation. The game was the first of four each club will play this week.

“That’s baseball. There’s really no other way to say it,” said Valley Dogs coach Rob Tandy. “You can go from goat to hero or the other way around in literally five minutes.”

Before that dramatic sequence transpired, the Valley Dogs used three key two-out hits to build a run in the first few innings.

The first came off the bat of nine-batter Shane Stecz, who came through by hustling out an infield hit to score a run in a first-and-third situation that got the Valley Dogs on the board.

Following a walk to leadoff man Jayden Amodeo that loaded the bases, Joey Klein would come through with an opposite field single to score two and boost the lead to 3-0.

A batter later, Kai Ross belted a shot into the right-center field gap to score two more runs and give the Valley Dogs a 5-0 lead. Center fielder Shane Walsh of the .9ers nearly corralled the shot in an impressive over-the-shoulder effort.

For a while, it looked like that would be all the run support Pascack Valley’s Luke Good would need. Aside from a hit batsmen that led to an RBI grounder by Mike Santise, Good cruised through four innings of work unscathed.

Valley Dogs starter Luke Good goes to work against .9ers Baseball.

Good would get through one out in the fifth before being relieved by Shea. Santise – who drove in four runs out of the 10-hole for the .9ers – would single in an inherited run charged to Good’s ledger.

“Luke threw the ball very well for us. He picked up where he left off in his high school season, and I’m definitely pleased with how it went,” said Tandy.

Ryder Simpson drove in the first run of the big rally for the .9ers in the sixth, cutting the deficit to 6-3.

After a two-out error prolonged the inning, it was Santise who struck again, lacing an opposite field single to tie the game back up at 6-6. Santise, who plays his high school ball at Freehold Township, finished 2-for-3 to go with his four RBI.

Following his heroics with the bat, Shea would pitch a scoreless seventh inning to put a wild game on ice.

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