Johnny D’Andrea scores on wild pitch for the NJ Jays 15U.
By Sean Reilly
Robby Wright has a couple goals in mind while playing this year for Montgomery Superior in the Diamond Nation Fall League.
As far as individual goals are concerned, he hopes to use his additional reps during the fall to improve his overall consistency.
“I’d like to become more consistent,” he said. “Trying to work on the outfield, and becoming more consistent out there and at the plate.”
From a team standpoint, he’d like to win a championship. His team made a strong bid last year, when it was the seventh seed in the playoffs and reached the semifinals.
“Hopefully we can make a deep playoff run,” Wright said. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Wright, a junior at Somerville High School, had a positive night on both of those fronts on Thursday, when he went 2-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch and scored three runs out of the leadoff spot when Montgomery Superior, an American Legion team out of Somerset County, gained a 9-1, five-inning victory over the NJ Jays 15U in the Flemington.
“We had more energy than normal tonight,” Wright said. “Everyone was having fun.”
The Jays 15U are a young team playing mostly against older competition in the Fall League at ‘The Nation.’ They are using the games as an opportunity to gain valuable experience, and they put forth a decent showing against Montgomery Superior, which improved its record to 2-2.
Montgomery Superior pitchers Eddie Weindel (four innings) and Michael Lentini combined on a no-hitter.
Weindel allowed one run in the top of the first, and closed his stint with nine strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter. Lentini struck out two and walked one in his inning of work.
The top of the order was especially lethal for Montgomery Superior. Tyler Conners, the No. 2 batter, went 2-for-2 with a walk, along with adding two runs and three RBI.
The Jays 15U took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Johnny D’Andrea was hit by a pitch with one out, and stole second. He moved to third on a wild pitch with two out, and scored on another wild pitch.
Montgomery Superior scored twice in the bottom of the inning. Wright led off with a stand-up triple to center field, and scored when Conners doubled to left field. Conners moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Brandon Shimp’s ground out to shortstop.
Montgomery extended its lead to 4-1 in the second inning. Michael Colantuono led off with a double to right center, and moved to third on a ground out. Wright was hit by a pitch and stole second. Both scored when Conners delivered a hit to center field.
Conners, too, is looking to improve his consistency during the fall.
Robby Wright, who went 2-for-2, pulls into third with leadoff triple for Montgomery Superior.
“I was really calm tonight and able to really see the ball well,” said Conners, a senior at Montgomery High School. “It helped that we’re a little bit younger and a little bit inexperienced, but I was calm and had a good approach up the middle. I’m also trying to be more consistent, having the same approach all the way through. It doesn’t matter who we are playing. You just have to get the job done.”
Montgomery Superior closed out the game by scoring five times in the fifth inning.
Wright was once again a catalyst by hitting a leadoff single to center field, followed by a steal of second base. Conners walked, and Cole Schulberg walked on a full count to load the bases.
Shimp then hit a sky-high fly ball that dropped for a one-run single in center field. Matthew Falzarano was safe on a fielder’s choice that forced out Shimp at second and scored Conners from third for a 6-1 score.
A wild pitch moved Falzarano to second, and Jacob Nash followed with a two-run single to center.
Ryan Tondo was safe on an error and Will McNamara walked on a full count to load the bases.
The next batter struck out, but a wild pitch with Mason Neufeld at the plate scored Nash with the game-ending run.
Nash finished 2-for-3 for Montgomery Superior.
Aside from D’Andrea, Joey Tedesco was the only other Jays 15U player to reach base. He drew walks in the second and fifth innings.