14U Hustlers Continue Solid Play in Finishing Second at 16U Sports At The Beach Event
Coming off a stellar showing at USA Baseball over Labor Day weekend, the 14U Frederick Hustlers turned in a sequel that was equally impressive. The Hustlers jumped two age groups and entered the 16U Sports at the Beach Swing Away Wood Bat tournament in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Facing predominantly sophomore and junior High School players, the Hustlers stood tall with their play and won the hearts of many as they came away with the runner-up trophy in the nine-team event. Pitching to contact and playing nearly flawless defense, the Hustlers utilized timely hitting and some well executed small ball in frustrating their older foes. Saturday morning’s opener against 302 Elite (Georgetown, DE) was classic Hustler baseball. Behind the arms of Nick DeLisi and Marshall Mott, the Hustlers won game one 3-0 with DeLisi starting and tossing three innings of scoreless baseball. DeLisi scattered three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. The lefty Mott then entered in the fourth and threw four innings of two-hit ball. Mott struck out six and walked one. “Those two guys are fun to watch,” commented Coach Main. “They like the big stage and bright lights and I’m happy they are wearing black and gold.” Jake Neff and Matt Kulikowski stepped up offensively and each had two hits; one of Neff’s was a double. Mott, Stephen Betz, Adam Dellamura and Matt Cunningham added one hit a piece.
The Hustlers got all of their bad plays out of their system in a game two loss to the Delaware Rockets. The Hustlers had a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth when the wheels came off the cart. Betz, Dellamura and Cunningham shared the pitching duties and did their jobs but in the end, five Hustler miscues spelled a 12-6 setback. Jake Neff again led the way offensively with two hits and three runs including his second double of the day. “This kid is going to be special. He’s a strong kid who has pop and an extra gear,” noted Coach Main. Dellamura, Mott, Kulikowski, Cunningham each had a hit with Mott’s being a two-run double off the wall in left center.
The Hustlers captured the four seed for Championship Sunday and matched up against the five seed Deptford Post 133 Junior Legion team out of Deptford, NJ. The Hustlers were deadlocked at 3-3 going into the bottom of the sixth when they exploded for five runs. Tyler Prather and Gabe Torres each came up big with run-scoring hits in the second. Torres added a double later in the game. Neff, Mott, Cunningham, DeLisi, Dustin Isanogle and Dalton Williams each had a hit. Mott’s huge two run triple in the right field corner gave the good guys the lead in the sixth. Kulikowski, Prather, Cunningham, Dellamura and Betz all competed on the mound and allowed the Hustlers to escape with a 10-5 win. Dellamura was particularly effective coming in and shutting down a Deptford rally in the sixth with back to back strikeouts.
The semifinal contest matched the Hustlers against the #1 seed SJ Young Guns. Mott tossed four spectacular innings of four hit ball and surrendered only one run with two strikeouts. Neff came in and shut the door pitching the final three frames of hitless baseball. The Hustler defense thwarted three potentially big rallies with inning-ending double plays. Mott gave the Hustlers the early lead in the first with a run scoring single to plate Neff who was HBP and promptly stole second. The Hustlers scored the winning run in the bottom of the fifth behind a bunt single from Williams and a two-run Baltimore Chop single by Neff.
The Championship Game was a rematch of the Hustlers and Delaware Rockets. The game was a pitcher’s duel full of sparkling defensive plays. Sitting scoreless after seven innings, tournament officials turned to the International tiebreaker which places the last three outs of the previous inning on base. The Hustlers plated two runs in the top of the eighth only to watch the Rockets get three in the bottom half for a 3-2 win. “You hate to lose a game that way but hey, we had a great weekend and learned a lot about ourselves,” noted Coach Main. DeLisi was special again tossing four innings of two hit ball. Betz came in and shined as well throwing three scoreless before the tiebreaker eighth. The gritty Kulikowski led the way with two hits and Mott added a single.
Offensively for the tournament, Jake Neff went 6-14 for a .429 clip with eight runs scored. Mott provided the thunder going 5-15 for .333 with six RBis and three extra base hits. Kulikowski finished at .294 and Cunningham hit .286. Defensively, Cunningham and Dellamura were sensational all weekend in the middle of the diamond.