By Sean Reilly
By reaching the final of the Diamond Nation 9U King of the Diamond tournament, the Philadelphia Area Baseball Renegades were given a second chance at defeating Breaker Boys Baseball.
In the first matchup in pool play on Saturday, the PAB Renegades couldn’t maintain a lead and lost, 10-7.
Given a second chance in the championship contest on Sunday morning, the Renegades made the most of the opportunity by gaining an 8-3 victory in Flemington.
“We made the best of what a really good team gave us,” said Renegades coach Christian Jordan. “We knew we were going to have to score some runs just to hang with them. Their record speaks for itself.”
The tone for the game was set quickly. The first four batters for PAB in the top of the first all scored, and the frame ended with the Renegades up, 4-0.
The Breaker Boys, also from Pennsylvania, loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the inning, but Renegades starter Spencer Lehr induced a pitcher-to-first ground out to retire the side.
The Renegades’ impressive start in the top of first began with a walk to Callum Mespiec and a single near first base by Lehr. Ryan Phillips was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Christian White, who followed with a bases-clearing triple. White scored when Paul Goldin grounded out to second base.
“That was huge,” Jordan said. “Any time you get to hit first, you want to drive home a statement that you are here to win, and we helped ourselves there a lot.”
The Renegades loaded the bases but could not score in the second inning, but they did score two more in the third for a 6-0 lead.
Grady Townsend reached on a fielder’s choice that also resulted in the second out of the inning, and Noah Jordan legged out a hit to first base. Townsend kept running toward third, and a wild throw allowed both Townsend and Jordan to score.
The Breaker Boys scored twice in the fourth, getting run-scoring hits from Ryken Maurer and Grant Kunkelman, to close to 6-2.
The Renegades got both runs back in the fifth inning, with Phillips hitting an RBI triple before scoring on a wild pitch.
The Breaker Boys got an RBI walk from Miles Kalyan in the bottom of the fifth before the inning ended with White, who entered in relief, getting a strikeout.
The Breaker Boys also loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth, but White got the next two batters to pop out to first base to end the game.
“Christian White is a stud,” Jordan said. “He’s our go-to guy in the lineup, he’s tough on the mound and a big reason we are here. This whole team plays hard with a lot of heart.”
John Walsh, who was 1-for-2 with a walk in the final, was named tournament MVP for the Renegades. He also was the winning pitcher in a 10-7 semifinal win over the Pioneers 9U Red. The Renegades ended the weekend with a 3-1 record and 48-25 run differential.
“We played a good game,” Walsh said. “The first inning definitely hyped us up. Being the MVP feels great; it’s actually better than great. This was a great tournament with a bunch of good players, and I can’t believe that I was given the award as the best one.”