14U Hustlers Imperfect at Perfect Game
The 14U Hustlers traveled to Richmond, VA for the Perfect Game 2022 Grads Richmond Spring Championship and dropped two close Saturday games before seeing the tournament cancelled because of heavy rain. The proverbial alarm clock misfired for Saturday’s 8:00am game. Nick DeLisi got the start on the mound and faced five batters and never got an out. Matt Kulikowski came in and did his job but the Hustlers found themselves playing from behind. Team Elite MVP scored five runs to take a 5-0 lead. Matt Cunningham started the third but also struggled with his control. Ryan Bennett rescued Cunningham in the 3rd and pitched a scoreless 4th. Meanwhile, the Hustlers found life and got back in it with five of their own in the bottom of the 3rd. Dustin Isanogle singled and Colby Patterson reached safely on a sacrifice bunt. After a couple of misplayed balls, Gabe Torres ripped a double to deep left and DeLisi followed with an RBI single. The game was tied going into the final frame when Tyler Prather struggled on the hill - allowing three consecutive batters to reach safely. Prather hit a batter, and allowed a single and a walk. Two of those runners ended up scoring for the eventual 7-5 final score. The Hustlers outhit Team Elite MVP 8-2; Kulikowski and DeLisi each had two hits.
The Hustlers played inspired baseball in game two against a very good VA Breeze Elite squad. Cunningham got the ball and was spectacular on the mound. He tossed five shutout innings before reaching his pitch count. He only allowed two hits and recorded four strikeouts. The Hustlers pushed across a run in the fourth when DeLisi, Adam Dellamura and Torres singled consecutively. Kulikowski got the ball in the sixth but couldn’t find his rhythm and walked two straight batters. Isanogle entered and was impressive. The Hustlers escaped a potentially devastating inning with a tied, 1-1 game. After failing to score in the top of the seventh, Isanogle recorded two outs before a walk, balk and single did the good guys in. The Hustlers scratched out five hits – two by DeLisi and one each by Kulikowski, Dellamura and Torres.
“We (coaching staff) were definitely disappointed with the effort in game one but we challenged some kids and they did what good players do – they stepped up and played with energy and purpose, and that’s always good to see,” noted Coach Main.