Wolves’ Prete pancakes Expos in 13U Spring Classic opener

By DN WRITING STAFF | May 4, 2024

HBA third  baseman Jayden Joaquin chases  down Expos runner before applying tag as pitcher Noah Prete looks on. 

By Sean Reilly

Noah Prete likes to pitch. He also enjoys making pancakes.

And interestingly enough, he finds the two things to be similar.

When he pitches for the Hamilton Baseball Academy Wolves 2029, he sometimes struggles early, and tries to put the first inning aside as he improves the rest of the game.

And when it comes to making pancakes, he’ll often toss the first if it collects too much oil from the pan.

“The first inning for me can be like a throwaway inning,” he said.

Prete encountered some opening-inning trouble when the Wolves faced the Locked In Baseball Expos Black 13U on Friday night at the Diamond Nation 13U Spring Classic, Powered by Victus.

“I was struggling a little bit trying to find my zone,” he said. “Once I found my release point, I was able to nail it down.

“My first innings are like making pancakes,” he said. “The first one, when you are using canola oil, I throw away to get rid of the oil. My pitching works the same way.”

The right-hander wound up allowing four hits over six scoreless innings as HBA gained a 7-0 win in Flemington.

Prete struck out five and walked four. Jayden Joaquin pitched the final inning to close out the shutout for the team from Mercer County.

Expos’ Anthony English (foreground) looks toward plate after making unassisted play at first base. 

Prete made sure to credit the defense that backed him. Second baseman Louie Manousas made several fine plays, including catches of three pop ups in the second inning that showcased his range. Center fielder Mason Chisholm also made an impressive play to track down a fly ball, and Prete made a few nifty fielding plays of his own. 

“The defense pulled through for me,” he said. “I had some bad pitches they made contact on, but they made the plays.” 

The Expos had a runner on third with one out in the top of the first, but the batter sent a grounder back to Prete, and when the runner tried to score, he threw to catcher Jackson Allen. A rundown ensued, with Allen flipping to third baseman Joaquin, who properly chased the runner before applying a tag.

The Wolves scored once in the bottom of the first. Mack Chiavarone drew a one-out walk and stole two bases before coming home when Nathaniel Horchuck grounded out to second.

The Wolves broke the game open with a five-run third inning.

Joaquin led off with a single to center field and advanced to third after a balk and wild pitch. Allen was hit by a pitch and stole second, and Chisholm walked on a full count to load the bases.

Manousas followed with an RBI single to center, and Chiavarone hit a single past first base and into right field for a 3-0 lead.

Prete reached on a run-scoring fielder’s choice which forced out Chiavarone at second base for the first out.

After a stolen base put runners on second and third, Horchuck hit a two-run single to center for a 6-0 advantage.

HBA scored its final run in the bottom of the fifth. Chisholm led off with a standup triple to straightaway center, and he scored when Chiavarone grounded out to first with one out.

Horchuck and Colin Makkay both finished 2-for-3 for HBA.

Leadoff man Mike Loiacono was 2-for-2 with a walk for the Expos, who left five on base over the first three innings, including four in scoring position.

“My fastball was working and I had a few good cutters,” Prete said. “My curve wasn’t on today, but my team played good defense and they hit.”

HBA continues pool play on Saturday afternoon against Wladyka Baseball American, which opened with a 12-4 victory over the Diamond Jacks 13U White.

The Expos continue on Saturday with a game against the Diamond Jacks 13U White.

Share With A Friend:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *