A-Shore Babe Ruth 14s beat Valley to reach regional summit
SOMERS POINT — The Atlantic Shore Babe Ruth 14-year-old all-stars are in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament by virtue of being the host team. The past few days, the boys from A-Shore have been out to prove they belong in this tournament.
After falling behind in the first inning, Atlantic Shore blitzed Valley (N.Y.) with six runs in the bottom of the second inning on Monday afternoon and let Kevin Foreman do the rest, cruising to an 11-2 win that put them into Tuesday morning's championship game. Atlantic Shore, which went 3-0 in pool play, is scheduled to take on Broomall-Newtown (Pa.) at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at Fehrle Field in Somers Point. Broomall-Newtown also is undefeated, having won its three pool play games and taking down Piedmont (Del.) in Monday night's other semifinal game. Tuesday's winner advances to the World Series in Westfield, Mass.
Millville, the other South Jersey team in the regionals, lost two of its three pool play games before beating Greenville-Westside (North Jersey) on Monday afternoon in the consolation round.
"I knew we had the lead, and I trust my defense, so I didn't try to throw my hardest, I just tried to throw strikes," said Foreman, a Northfield resident who plans to attend St. Augustine Prep this fall as an incoming freshman. "I hurt my arm in states and I didn't pitch for a while, so I was fresh."
Foreman said this team has something to prove after not winning the state title, but qualifying for regionals anyway as the host team.
"I feel like in states we didn't do well because we knew we were making it here. But now we're playing for something and we are proving that we deserve to be here because we are in the championship," Foreman said.
Valley jumped a quick lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI double to deep center field by Tom Wisters, who came around to score on an error one batter later to make it 2-0. Atlantic Shore cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first on the first of two sacrifice fly balls by Jim Pasquale, a rising sophomore at Holy Spirit.
Atlantic Shore broke out in a big way in the bottom of the second, plating six runs to take a 7-2 lead and put the game essentially out of reach. Catcher Brian Furey, of Upper Township, laced an RBI single to tie the game, 2-2, and Foreman helped his own cause by blooping a two-run single down the right-field line to give A-Shore a 4-2 lead. Gabe Donahue knocked in Alehandro Roserio with an RBI groundout, and Pasquale's second sacrifice fly of the game capped the rally. Pasquale finished with a game-high four RBIs, as his two-run single to left in the fourth pushed the lead to 9-2.
Once Foreman got the lead he settled in and didn't allow a run for five innings before giving way to C.J. Brown in the seventh.
"He settled in nicely. He was throwing strikes, like the coaches tell him to, and the defense behind him did a great job, like they always do," said Furey, who also plans to attend St. Augustine Prep this fall. "He just had to trust his defense and throw strikes. He was the Kevin I know. He likes to throw strikes and let the defense go to work behind him."
Furey said A-Shore didn't get rattled when Valley put up two runs to start the game.
"I don't think any of us were nervous. We know we can score runs. We've scored 10 or more runs in most of our games," Furey said.
Still, Foreman said he appreciated his teammates getting him a lead to work with.
"Pitching with a lead is much better than pitching in a close game because you can afford to make mistakes. Brian catches every single game for us, he blocks everything. He's good," Foreman said. "We have our two best pitchers available (Tuesday) and we've been scoring runs. If we play good defense, we'll be good."
"We have to pick up where the team that won the World Series last year. We're in their shoes now," Furey said. "We're just playing our game. That's how we go out and approach it every day."
Contact Dave O'Sullivan: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays