FRANKLIN, NJ -- The Scotch Plains-Fanwood 13U Raiders defeated the NJDA Patriots, 4-3, in the championship game of the USABL tournament on July 10.
The team "played a really tight game right before the championship game, defeating Franklin 5-3," said first-year manager Zach Lipshitz. "That game took a lot out of the kids. But they wanted to be champions so they continued to fight against the Patriots and we wound up beating them 4-3."
The Raiders had a golden chance to score with Hayden Widder on 3rd and Sean Kennedy on 1st with 1 out. Kennedy stole on the pitch to batter Dallas Lorenzetti, but he hit a line drive to the left fielder and then doubled off Kennedy at 1st base.
"The momentum was definitely on their side after such a big play," Lipshitz said afterwards.
Widder pitched a solid 4 innings and gave up just 2 runs (1 unearned). Scotch Plains-Fanwood scored all of its runs in the top of the 5th inning. Christian Piesch and Stefon Johnson both drew walks, and Matt Drubulis executed a successful bunt to move the runners over. Eric DeMaria worked a great at-bat, but struck out, and the catcher dropped the ball. Eric hustled to 1st base and the catcher did not throw ball because he was worried about Piesch scoring from 3rd base.
That changed the whole game.
Michael DePaola reached on a fielder's choice that brought in Piesch. John and Jeremy Shults both delivered huge singles to make the game 4-2. John ripped over the 3rd baseman's head, and Jeremy hit a rocket into right center.
"From there we played great defense and executed 2 pick off plays were we back pick the runner on 1st with a man on 2nd and 1st," thee manager said afterwards. "Jeremy Shults, Sean Kennedy, and Christian Piesch, combined to throw the 5th, 6th and 7th in that order. Piesch hit a home run against Franklin and closed the game for us with 2 strikeouts."
Connor Barker contributed a hit, Thomas Aqueros played outfield, and Hunter Cardenas had a couple of hits and stole a base.
"It was a total team effort, I'm so proud of the boys," Lipshitz added.