South Orange-Maplewood 8U Travel Baseball Wins Tourney, Advances to States

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail


SOMA 8U Travel baseball team

The South Orange-Maplewood 8U Summer Baseball team won the Cal Ripken Northern New Jersey District 12 Championship. Kneeling from left are Jack Bailey, Jack Cartaina, Caleb Epstein, Ryan Leibensperger, Zac Calveric, Kieran Dawkins, Will Kostka, and Adam Carlucci. Standing from left are Coach Mark Calveric, Coach Damond Bailey, Max Caracciolo, Devin Aiken, Nolan Secor, Will Iozzio and Coach John Cartaina. Not pictured is Miles House.


The South Orange/Maplewood 8U Travel baseball team, having already punched their ticket to the State Tournament in Hazlet, NJ, wrapped up the 8U District 12 Cal Ripken Tournament with a 4-2 victory in Tuesday night’s championship game against Chatham.

The Cougars, Coached by Mark Calveric, Damond Bailey and John Cartaina, had an incredible run in the tournament, outscoring their opponents 79-32 on their way to a 6-1 record.

After going 3-1, winning by almost 8 runs per game, the Cougars moved on to single-elimination games as the tournament progressed. And they did not take their foot off the gas, beating Long Hill 14-6 and Mountainside 14-8 en route to Tuesday night’s championship game against Chatham, the only team to beat the Cougars in the tournament.

The Cougars got off to a quick start, as Caleb Epstein doubled to right, plating Kieran Dawkins, who led off the game with a single, and Jack Bailey, who walked.

But the lead would not last, as Chatham quickly tied it up in the bottom of the first.

After a walk by Nolan Secor in the bottom of the second, Devin Aiken reached on a fielder’s choice. Aiken promptly stole second base. And then third, ultimately scoring on the throw to third to give South Orange/Maplewood a 3-2 lead.

Dawkins came in to pitch the third inning, striking out the first batter, getting a ground out to Ryan Leibensperger at second base for the second out, before walking the third batter. But that base runner was quickly erased as the catcher, Epstein, fired a strike to the shortstop, Zac Calveric, to catch him stealing second and end the inning.

The Cougars went quietly in the bottom of the third, and continued to cling to a 3-2 lead.  Dawkins spun another shut out inning, getting a strikeout and two ground outs.

Once again, the Cougars were held scoreless in the top of the fifth.

Will Iozzio came in to try and close out the game in the bottom of the fifth. He induced a pop up to Calveric at short for the first out, struck out the second batter, before giving up a single to centerfield to the third batter. The baserunner successfully stole second, putting the tying run in scoring position. But the Cougars got out of the inning thanks to a great play by Jack Cartaina, who snared a hard hit line drive for the final out.

The Cougars were able to get something going in the top of the sixth inning.  Leibensperger lead off with a single and advanced to third base on a single by Epstein.  Leibensperger would score the fourth run on a line drive to center field by Cartaina.

Three outs away from winning the 8U Cal Ripken Tournament, Iozzio once again took the mound. He got a quick ground out to second before walking the second batter and giving up an infield single to put the tying run on base. The next batter struck out looking. A weak single to left field followed, that was fielded by the shortstop Calveric.  He then pivoted and fired a bullet to the catcher, Epstein, who applied the tag for the final out of the game, giving the Cougars a 4-2 victory.

The State Championships begin July 15 in Hazlet, NJ.



Related Articles