On a day where temperatures reached the low 90s, it wasn’t the sun that was the hottest thing in West Deptford.
It was the bats of the 9-10 all-star baseball team.
The local youngsters continued hitting at a torrid pace, producing 20 hits in a 21-5 five-inning win over South Harrison in the District 15 quarterfinals.
West Deptford advanced to Wednesday’s semifinal, where they will take on East Greenwich in Glassboro at 8 p.m.
Ryan Sawyer led the offensive attack, going 5-for-5 with five runs and three RBIs, while six pitchers combined to throw a two-hitter.
“Every single one of them, from 1-through-11, can hit, I can’t pick a sub,” West Deptford head coach Adam Finocchi said. “They all hit. They all played in the Majors against 12-year olds, and a lot of them have older brothers. They’re just great hitters. They are all contact hitters with power and are as fast as can be. Even when they hit little dribblers, they beat them out.”
Gabe Finocchi had four RBIs, three of which came on a bases-clearing triple in an 11-run fifth inning. West Deptford sent 17 batters to the plate in the frame, collecting nine hits while breaking open a game it led 10-5 entering the inning.
Cleanup hitter Jack Murphy had two hits, including a towering double to the left-field fence, while Ben Smith had three hits, including two doubles, and produced four RBIs. Mike Gismondi powered two doubles, while Dominic Rossi, Dylan Wakeley, Jake Paratore and Patrick DeMarco each had a hit.
Monday night's performance marked the fifth straight game West Deptford won by mercy rule. The team was 4-0 in pool play.
West Deptford jumped out to an early lead, scoring two runs in the first and three in the second. The team then produced five hits and a walk with two outs in the third to score five runs and grab a 10-1 lead.
As great as the hitting has been, the pitching has not been far behind. In an effort to keep all of his pitchers available for Wednesday’s game and beyond, Finocchi limited most of his pitchers to 20 pitches. Taking part in the win on the mound were Rossi, Murphy, Finocchi, Sawyer, Wakeley and DeMario.
For West Deptford to win the District 15 tournament, it will need to win three games in thee days, and the team could even play five games in six days if it advances to the sectional stage. That's a major reason why Finocchi wants to keep each of his arms fresh.
“I have five or six pitchers, and one dominant pitcher,” Finocchi said. “The rest of them are so good, I can’t pick from them, so I let them all throw.”
In other Little League action Tuesday, the West Deptford 11-12 baseball all-stars defeated Oak Valley, 21-3, in four innings to open pool play, and the West Deptford 9-10 softball all-stars fell to Harrison Township, 12-2, to end their District 15 tournament run.