WESTFIELD – It was survival of the fittest in Monday night’s Babe Ruth Baseball Amanti Cup tournament games in a loser’s bracket double header at Bullens Field. ITI and Cortina Tile fell short in each of their respective opening round games, but broke through with victories to stave off elimination.
ITI 11, Batters Box 8
ITI claimed the first lead of the game.
Walter Figeroa was hit by a one-out pitch. Mike Hall doubled. Ethan Flaherty squeezed in a run. Joey Dekarski followed with a sac-fly for a 2-0 lead.
Batters Box quickly battled back.
Lead-off batter Jake Labombard manufactured a run of his own, doubling, advancing on a wild pitch, and scoring on an error to pull within one run of a tie. Kyle Grabowski walked and stole second. Josh Lis drew an intentional walk. Both base runners advanced on a wild pitch. David Tirrell knocked in the game-tying run. A wild pitch gave Batters Box the lead, 3-2.
Clay Bradley and Mike Hall walked to begin the top of the third inning. A bunt single from Flaherty and a subsequent error made it 4-3 in favor of ITI.
Labombard excelled on the base paths again. The Batters Box lead-off batter singled, moved to second on an error, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a passed ball to make it a 4-all tie.
In the top of the fourth inning, ITI took a two-run lead.
The inning’s first batter, Toby Barlow reached on an outfield error. . Mateo Sanchez walked. Barlow stole third base. Ty Leonard belted a two-run single to right center field for a 6-4 advantage.
ITI tacked on an insurance run in the fifth.
Mike Hall doubled for the second time in the game. Flaherty walked. A wild pitch allowed both runners to move up a base. Dekarski walked. Connor Medeiros sacrificed a run home to go up 7-4.
ITI officially doubled up Batters Box when Owen Jurczyk knocked a sharp hit ball up the middle, and scored on a double when the ball fell just inside the right field line. Figeroa tacked on another run with an RBI single. An error produced another run. A two-out Dekarski double made it 11-4.
Batters Box did all it could to drive a comeback attempt.
In the bottom of the seventh, Josh Lis led off with a single through the left side of the infield. John Ceasan walked, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored on a fielder’s choice. Delgado drove in a run with a single up the middle to pull Batters Box within 11-6. Cam Porter made it 11-7 with a single and subsequent error. Another infield error and Batters Box trailed by only three runs. ITI recovered though to force a strikeout to end the game.
Hall proved to keep Batters Box off balance, scattering four hits, recording four strikeouts, and allowing two walks through five innings. Dekarski closed out the final two innings. He retired three straight in the sixth, and survived the seventh as the defense grew a bit weary in the final at-bats.
Kiwanis 7, Cortina Tile 5
Kiwanis struck first.
In the top of the first inning, Colin Scanlon collected a single through the left side of the infield. Scanlon stole second base. With two outs, Andrew Pellegrini walked. Bennet Kelly followed with an RBI single for a 1-0 lead.
In the third inning, Kiwanis made it 4-0.
Wil Cameron walked, and stole second. Scanlon reached on an infield error. Paul Shibley hit a two-run double to left field. Andrew Pellegrini followed with an RBI single, and Kelly hit a sac-RBI.
Cortina Tile battled back with a fury though.
In the fourth inning, Dean Dondley was hit by a pitch to lead it off. An error allowed Dondley to come all the way around to score. In the fifth, Chris Barber and Ryan Moorhouse drew back to back walks. A one-out double from Chris Gage drove in a pair to pull Cortina Tile within 4-3.
Kiwanis would not back down.
Cameron hit a booming triple to right field with one out in the top of the fifth. Scanlon knocked him in for a 5-3 lead. Shibley hit an RBI double to go up 6-3.
Grayson Poole put Kiwanis up 7-3 with a seventh-inning, run-scoring single. Niko Kapsanis scored on the play after reaching on a base hit and stealing second base.
Cortina Tile scraped together two more runs – Mason Collingwood worked his way around the bases with an error, stolen base, and wild pitch; Chris Barber singled; and, Ryan Moorhouse hit a sac-RBI – but fell just short.