Yanowitz’s five-hitter sends Wladyka 13U past Djacks

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 18, 2024

Wladyka’s Ben Yanowitz races to first while the Diamond Jacks’ Kyle Karlbon takes the throw.

By Rich Bevensee

In his short time spent pitching on a 90-foot diamond, Ben Yanowitz has learned his confidence grows when there’s a capable defense behind him.

And when that defense starts making sparking play after play, well, he can throw any pitch he wants because it sure makes pitching to contact a heckuva lot easier.

Yanowitz was the beneficiary of a terrific Wladyka Baseball 13U National defense on Sunday, and it allowed him to throw all four of his pitches in any circumstance. It also allowed him to throw a five-hitter to boost Wladyka to a 4-1 victory over Diamond Jacks 13U White in the Father’s Day Classic at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

“When you have good players in the field it’s easy to know all I have to do is throw strikes and they can hit the ball and I know my team will make the plays,” Yanowitz said. 

The young lefty allowed five hits and two walks over 6⅓ innings while striking out three. Anthony Romano recorded the last two outs of the game. 

“Ben stayed around the plate, he was efficient in getting ahead and staying ahead of hitters, and it allowed our defense to make plays by putting batters in situations where they had to swing the bat and put a ball in play,” Wladyka coach J.P. Ralston said.

Yanowitz used a two- and four-seam fastball, curveball and changeup to keep Diamond Jacks hitters off balance. No Diamond Jack reached scoring position against Yanowitz until the fifth when Lynch doubled and scored on a Mike Grasso single, which broke up Yanowitz’ shutout bid. 

Yanowitz said it may have been his best pitched game of the season. 

“I did a really good job getting ahead in the count, and my pitch count was low so I could go farther in the game,” Yanowitz said. “If I was ahead in the count I liked to go to the curveball and get swings off balance, and the two-seam to run away from a righty. If I feel good about my pitches I have confidence I can throw them for strikes or a swing and miss.”

Wladyka right fielder Bobby Chon set the tone for the game defensively by making a sliding catch of a dying line drive off the bat of Diamond Jacks leadoff hitter Jakob Futterman. 

The Diamond Jacks’ Mike Grasso rips an RBI single in the fifth inning.

Second baseman Jesse Diamond assisted on a double play in the second inning. Catcher David Tinem threw a frozen rope to second to nail a potential base stealer in the fourth. Yanowitz picked a runner off in the fifth. 

Wlaydka first baseman Vin LaRosa made the biggest defensive play of the game in the top of the sixth with two Diamond Jacks on and Declan Lynch at the plate. 

The left-handed hitting Lynch ripped a Romano fastball to the right side and LaRosa lunged to his right to snare the liner and prevent what would almost certainly have been a two-run single. 

“We had a rough day defensively against the (Locked In Baseball) Expos (on Saturday) and I told them before the game that we have to pick ourselves up a little bit,” Ralston said. “Bobby made a spectacular diving play to start the game which set the tone and we were able to rally off that. We threw some guys out on the basepaths and prevented or saved a lot of runs.”

Neither team allowed many hits – Yanowitz gave up five and Diamond Jacks pitchers Lynch and Graham Drennan yielded two. But the difference was Yanowitz was steadier on the mound while Wladyka took advantage of a single shaky inning. 

Wladyka carried a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the second courtesy of a Hunter Hochkeppel RBI single in the first.

Wladyka loaded the bases when Yanowitz was hit by a pitch and Diamond and Tommy Giovacco earned walks. Yanowitz scored on a balk, Diamond scored on a passed ball and Giovacco scored on a wild pitch for a 4-0 Wladyka lead.

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