Jersey Shore Whitecaps pitcher Evan Schmidt releases a pitch on Saturday against the Cubs.
By Will Harrigan
When you look at the Jersey Shore Whitecaps 14U team, they don’t appear to be the most intimidating bunch that comes to Diamond Nation.
But the way they play is a very different story, and that’s what they showed on Saturday morning.
Stellar pitching by Evan Schmidt and relentless hitting propelled the Whitecaps to a dominating, 8-0, mercy rule victory over Morris County Cubs White in Pool C action of the 14U Boys of Summer. The win levels the Whitecaps record at 1-1 in the event, while the Cubs fell to 1-1 after winning a game earlier in the morning.
“To us, approach is simplistic. It’s just getting up there and putting the ball in play,” said Whitecaps coach Todd Kazanowsky. “Everyone in the lineup hit the ball well today, and once we get guys on, we play old-school small ball. We steal bases, call hit-and-run plays and pressure your defense.”
Jersey Shore scored in four of five innings but the back-breaking rally came in the bottom of the fourth, when a four-spot turned a tight game into a 7-0 advantage.
Ben McEwan tripled into the left-center field gap to ignite things and was promptly singled home a batter later by Schmidt.
Three batters later, Rocco Padula would get up with two men on and rope a double to left-center to score a pair, running the lead up to six. Luke Moyers capped the big inning by singling in a run with two men out.
Moving into the fifth, and needing only one run to finish the contest via the mercy rule, Jack Baker started the inning off by drawing a walk.
Bake moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on Ryan Randall’s infield single. Then a throwing error by the Cubs allowed him to score, instantly ending the game.
The run support Schmidt received was more than enough for the Whitecaps, as he tossed a two-hitter while striking out a pair.
“The funny thing is, stuff-wise Evan really didn’t have his best today,” Kazanowsky said. “But he pitched to contact and put trust in his defense, and that’s how he was able to pitch as well as he did.”
Ethan Everett of the Cubs singled to lead off the game, and moved to second on a wild pitch. As it turned out, that would be the only Cub to reach scoring position for the entire game. Luca Argenziano’s single in the third was the only other hit the Morris County squad mustered off Schmidt.
Back in the first, Randall would come around to score thanks to a few fielding mishaps by the Cubs. He reached base on a dropped fly ball, and came around to score when a pickoff attempt at third base ended up in left field.
Nick Daniele would score on another two-base fielding error in the second, while Padula would score on a successfully executed delayed steal play in a first-and-third situation.