Manalapan 9U Braves Capture Second Straight Cal Ripken State Title
The Manalapan 9U Ripken All Star squad continues to roll with their 12-2 convincing Northern NJ State Title win over Edison on Sunday at Hazlet's field.
The win gives the Braves their second State Title in as many years and they take an 11-0 Ripken All Star record into the Mid Atlantic Regional Tournament that begins August 3rd in Edison.
The Mid Atlantic Region is made up of the winners of Metro NYC, NY State West, NY State East, Eastern and Western Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Southern New Jersey and Northern New Jersey (Manalapan). The host team gets automatic entry so Edison will be in as a New Jersey representative as well.
Sunday's game was filled with some impressive Brave's pitching and hitting. Tom Guidice, the starter, and Joe Mazza combined for a no hitter that included ten strikeouts. Anthony Matrone lead the Braves offense with three hits and three RBI while John Fortuna, Guidice and Nick Dipietrantonio added 2 hits each and combined for seven RBI. Fortuna, more commonly known as "Tuna", had a triple in the fourth that drove in a run and found himself back at the plate in the bottom of the 5th with bases loaded and a 10-2 Brave's lead. Tuna was slated to come in to pitch the sixth and final inning but he had other ideas.
In Ripken play there is a ten run rule after four innings. The way the baseball gods would have it, Tuna was to end this game one way or another via the bat or the mound. He chose the bat and belted a line drive down the left field line that scored Dylan Hode and Matrone ending the game.
Matrone (8-15 with 7 RBI) and Dipietrantonio (7-13 with 9 RBI) lead all hitters in the State Tourney. Chris Marzo (8-16), Tom Krezel (4-10) and Sean Jackson (7-16) combined for 13 RBI.
Manalapan brings some gaudy numbers into the Regional Championships from their State and District runs combined. Marzo (15-26 with 10 walks) .577 batting average and a .694 On base percentage along with 12 RBI and 19 runs scored. Joe Mazza (.464) and Jackson (.452) lead the squad with 17 RBI each. Mike Demayo (14-30 with six walks) .467 batting average also has 12 RBI and 16 runs scored. Guidice (.462 batt avg) has 14 RBI and leadoff hitter Zach Orrico has an on base percentage of .500.
The Brave's pitching numbers were equally impressive through the District and State Tourneys as was the defense behind the plate of catchers Dylan Hode and Tom Krezel. Hunter Serrano handled the middle of the infield as the Brave's anchor at SS.
Fortuna has yet to be scored upon on the mound going ten innings while giving up just two hits and six walks versus nineteen strikeouts. Jackson has given up just one run over eight innings and has struck out fourteen while Guidice and Mazza combined for 21 innings that produced 44 strikeouts. Demayo has picked up three wins on the mound thus far and has given up just four hits with an E.R.A of 1.40.
Manalapan opens up with a pool play format against Piedmont, Delaware at 2 pm at the Edison Boys Baseball Field in Edison, N.J. this Friday, Aug 3rd. Later the same night Manalapan plays against the New York City Ripken Champion which will be determined tomorrow. That game is at 8 pm.
On Saturday the Braves will face Brandywine, Pa at 1pm and Sunday they will play against North Tonawanda, the Western New York State Champion. Semi Final and Final games for the 9U Regional Championship are slated for August 6th and August 7th.