Tournaments : : Story
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tri-State step up to the challenge

Sam Brazenas        

EMERSON, Ga. - Tri-State Arsenal 14u Red knew they had competition going into Wednesday’s game against Central Florida Gators 14u in their final pool game of the WWBA 14u National Championship.

“We knew what we were up against because I scouted them throughout the tournament,” said head coach of Tri-State Bob Delvecchio.

The Gators, being undefeated, had a leg up going into the game, whereas Tri-State was 5-1. Perfect Game rules state that in the event of a tie, the head-to-head winner advances to the playoff rounds. This was fortunate for Tri-State in their 8-6 victory over the Gators.

“We had to win this game to win the bracket and we knew the Central Florida Gators is a great program. They were undefeated, but we knew head to head if we come in strong we could win,” explained Delvecchio.

The victory did not come easy for Tri-State. The lead shifted positions five times throughout the game leaving the fans of both teams on the edge of their seats.

Thanks to Delvecchio’s scouting and the pressure of having to win, Tri-State was ready to play when they came up to bat in the first inning. A walk and a single by Zachary Miller put men in scoring position for Tri-State. Tom Sheehan then drilled a triple that scored two runs to take the first lead of the game. Unfortunately, the Gators came back even stronger scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning, taking over the lead.

Tri-State then responded to the Gators four runs with a three-run homer over the left field fence by Tim Dezzi. The Game then remained scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when the Gators were able to tie up the game. This really put the pressure on for Tri-State. Once again, they responded appropriately. Singles from Jack Zyska and Sky Duff put them in perfect position for Miller, who hit a clutch double to the right field fence that scored them both.

“Zach Miller came in with a big hit at the end,” said Delvecchio. “It was just a hell of a game, our guys really stepped up….We got [some] big hits.”

Not being the home team, Tri-State had the pressure of holding the Gators in the bottom of the seventh. Fortunately, Sheehan came in the close the game and brought the heat. He only faced four batters in his time on the mound. He walked one, struck out two, and forced a fly ball out of the last one.

“Tommy Sheehan came in and shut it down,” said Delvecchio.

Brady Devereux, who was just coming off an injury, started on the mound for Tri-State and lasted four innings. He struck out five, walked two and gave up only three hits, all of which came in the first inning. He shut the Gators out the next three innings.

“Our pitcher, Brady Devereux, came in and he had been injured earlier in the season. He’s our No. 2 [pitcher] and he came in and did a hell of a job,” explained Delvecchio.

Dezzi relieved him and pitched “a perfect two innings.” He struck out two, walked one and gave up only two hits.

Tri-State owner, Bob Barth, is surely pleased with the performance of his 14u team this week, and will be glad to hear they will be advancing to the playoff rounds. Unfortunately, due to health issues, he was unable to make it out to Georgia this week.

“He couldn’t be here, but we assured him that we will play the best we can every game,” stated Delvecchio.

The Tri-State Arsenal is a program that is well known at Perfect Game events. The Tri-State 15u team came runner-up in the 2014 WWBA 15u National Championship just a couple of weeks ago. Delvecchio is hoping to do the same, if not better.

Delvecchio is confident in his team going into play offs because of this big win, and their success in their previous pool games.

“Out of six pool games, five were shut outs. The one we lost, we were up by five and made some errors that lost it,” he explained.

Anthony Piccolino had two, full-game shutouts, racking up 14 strikeouts over 13 innings. Sheehan, Jack Kennedy, and Anthony Dimartino all pitched shutout games as well.

Tri-State Arsenal is known for being one of the best baseball organizations in the Mid-Atlantic. They attract some of the best players in the Tri-State area due to their history of putting guys into big college programs and even the pros.

“The name does it all,” explained Delvecchio about how they recruit players. “Mike Trout who plays for the Angels played for us. We have had some big guys come out and a bunch go to the pros.

“We are in the tri-state area so we have guys from Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. Some kids drive two and a half hours for practice.”

They have teams aging from eight to 17. They pride themselves on their extremely talented and experienced coaching staff who provide intense training for the players.

“We do year round training, and a lot of it is indoor because we don’t have as good of weather in New Jersey,” added Delvecchio.

With their solid pitching and consistency at the plate, Tri-State Arsenal will be a tough team to beat in the upcoming playoff games.

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