By Rich Bevensee
After banging the baseball all around Diamond Nation for the entire weekend – and that includes through wind and rain and chilly temps on a miserable Saturday afternoon – there was no reason to believe why the championship game under sunny skies would offer a different outcome for the Out Of The Park Cyclones Prospects 12U squad.
Parker Dipollina led six players with two hits each and the Green Brook, N.J.-based Cyclones batted around in consecutive innings to storm to the Battle At The Turf title with a emphatic 19-5 victory over the New Hampshire Crush on Sunday at the Nation.
The Cyclones sent 12 batters to the plate in the first inning and scored nine runs on eight hits. In the second inning, they batted 13 and added nine more runs on six hits and four walks.
In the RBI department, Cody Alicea singled, doubled and drove in three runs to pace the Cyclones, while Dylan Pudlak, James Esposito, Townes O’Connor and Gianni Cenicola each knocked in two runs and Tim Hansen drove in one run.
Nick Yacykewych blasted a triple for the Cyclones while Alicea, Pudlak, Esposito, O’Connor and Cenicola each rocked a double.
Dipollina, Alicea, O’Connor, Pudlak, Lucas Bolton and Vincent Donofrio each had two hits in the final for OOTP, which outscored the competition 51-10 in four games.
“We’ve been practicing for three months, three days a week, so they’ve been playing a lot of baseball prior to this weekend,” Cyclones coach Mike Pudlak said. “They showed me what I thought they might be – pretty deep pitching, putting the bat on the ball, running the bases aggressively. It was a pretty good showing for the second weekend of the year.”
Dipollina went 2-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored in the championship game, and he finished with nine RBI for the tournament to pace the Cyclones and earn Most Valuable Player honors.
“We played really well and played good team ball,” said Dipollina, who threw a no-hitter on Friday against the Harrison Bombers. “This (MVP) really surprises me because I never expected to be in this spot right now.”
In his no-hit effort against Harrison, Dipollina allowed one walk and struck out eight in four innings. For the tournament, Dipollina went 5-for-8 at the plate with a triple, a double, three walks, five RBI, three runs scored and four stolen bases.
“Parker is a gamer,” Pudlak said. “You watch him and he doesn’t necessarily look like he does everything great, but he does everything well.
He’s really coachable, he always puts the bat on the ball, never misses a sign, executes on every pitch and he drove the ball all weekend.”
The Cyclones may have gotten attention mostly for flexing their offensive muscles, but the pitching staff held the opposition to 10 runs over four games. Following Dipollina’s lead, Esposito pitched a no-hitter against the Maine Lightning in Sunday’s 12-0 semifinal victory.
Esposito allowed one walk and a hit batsman and struck out nine in his four innings of work against Maine.
“In the car, I had no idea what would happen today, but I felt good and I knew I had a good catcher behind the plate,” Esposito said. “I think this tournament shows how hard we worked over the winter.”
Bolton provided a big bat at the top of the lineup for the Cyclones all weekend. In the final he went 2-for-2 and scored twice.
“I think this tournament proves that we trained hard the entire offseason and we really put in the work with all of our mechanics, hitting, etc.,” Bolton said. “We had a tournament last weekend and went 1-2. This week we had two practices and we came into the tournament with a great mindset.”
Yacykewych pitched one inning and allowed three runs on four hits and no walks with one strikeout. Cole Webster pitched the final two scoreless innings and allowed one hit with no walks and two strikeouts.
For New Hampshire, Mason Townsend had an RBI single and Carter Glines had an RBI groundout.