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Tournaments | Story | 1/18/2020

Resmondo Ready for MLK Run

Blake Dowson        
Photo: Ariel Antigua (Perfect Game)
Resmondo Baseball comes into its first Perfect Game event of the decade with a winning reputation and a roster for the 2020 East MLK Championship to make it apparent why it wins so often at PG events.

Five top-100 prospects in the 2023 class are scattered across the roster, many of them yet to split to one side of the two-way status. Most of them pitch and hit close to the middle of the order, and excel at both.

It makes for a long batting order and a deep pitching staff. Although, according to head coach Howie Krause, the team will have its challenges this weekend in Fort Myers. For one, the team has only 14 players rostered for the tournament. Even with most of them filling a two-way role, that doesn’t leave much breathing room in the pitching department.

“If you ask any coach in the country at any time, they’ll never say they have enough pitching,” Krause said. “With the arms we have, on paper it looks like we have a lot of arms, so we should be okay. But you never know.”

A group which has had its core set for a couple years now, Resmondo Baseball also has a few new faces for the 2020 season.

Addition is always good. More depth can never be seen as a bad thing, especially when added to a small roster.

But on- and off-field chemistry don’t come instantly. It takes a while to get to know the type of player your new teammates are, learn their tendencies to a point where you know where they will be at all times on the field.

Early tournaments are great for learning all those little, yet very important things, according to Krause.

“There will be a feeling-out process, especially with some new faces,” he said. “The kids might be a little uneasy with the team unity not being there yet to start with. If you’ve ever played, you know that affects you on the field just a little bit. Even though they’re only 14, some of them might have just turned 15, they’re pretty talented kids. So I do expect them to be pretty darn close to polished, though.”

Krause’s guys have been working all winter. Every prospect on the roster lives in a warm weather state, which makes it easier to get work in during the December and January months.

Cage work and live cuts against a pitcher doing everything he can to send you back to the dugout unhappy are two different beasts, though.

Ariel Antigua, the No. 50 overall prospect in the 2023 class and No. 11 shortstop, anchored that position for Resmondo Baseball in its first game of the tournament, played Friday night at Terry Park.

He looked to be in midseason form with the glove, making a play in the hole and finishing it off with a Derek Jeter jump-throw one inning, and making a play on a slow-roller behind the mound in another.

Antigua said his bat is yet to catch up with his glove this year, however.

“It’s been a little while since we’ve played, so it’s an adjustment,” he said. “My swings were slow and I was out in front of every pitch. But tomorrow is a different day, so we’ll be fine.”

As a team, Resmondo Baseball put plenty of good swings on the baseball in its opening game against the West Chester Dragons, a team out of Pennsylvania. But the West Chester pitching staff was salty once Resmondo runners got on base, and 15 runners left on led to a 3-1 Dragons win.

It wasn’t the start Krause and Co. wanted for the year, but there are good things to take away from it. For one, the team out-hit West Chester seven to three. Two, they played a clean game in the field. Three, and probably the most important thing coming away from the opening game, is that Resmondo is still alive, with opportunity remaining to make a run in the tournament.

With the talent on the roster, Resmondo is anything but down and out.

“With everybody being from warm weather states, with the new faces they’ll be feeling each other out a bit, but I don’t expect them to miss a beat,” Krause said. “Everybody has been hitting, fielding, doing their thing. Pitching may be a little off. Guys were trying to rest their arms in December and January, so that might not be midseason form. But hitting and fielding should be there.”

For Antigua, the adjustment between Game 1 and Game 2 is simple. They didn’t win Game 1. They need to win Game 2. So that’s what he will focus on.

“I just want to help the team out more, get some wins,” he said. “Win a championship. That’s it.”

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