SOMERS POINT – Kyle Gerace needed to step off the pitching mound and compose himself in the first inning this morning.

There was reason for concern. The bases were loaded with no outs in this Babe Ruth Middle Atlantic Regional quarterfinal. Gerace of the Atlantic Shore 14-year-old baseball team had allowed to singles and hit a batter.

“I thought I was going to be a in a jam the whole game,” Gerace said. “But I took a step off the mound and started to get focused.”

Gerace struck out the next three hitters with his fastball and did not allow a run. Atlantic Shore went on to beat Cecil County of Maryland 11-0.

Atlantic Shore advanced to this afternoon’s semifinal, where they will play Washington Township at 4:30 p.m. at the Sandcastle.

Gerace dominated Cecil County hitters after the first. He allowed just one more hit and finished five strikeouts in four innings.

Gerace’s three strikeouts to end the first inning motivated his teammates.

“It pumped us all up,” said Atlantic Shore’s Matt Thomas. “It carried us through.”

Atlantic Shore took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Thomas belted a fastball for an RBI triple.

“It was right down the middle,” he said. “I saw it and jumped on it right way.”

Atlantic Shore broke the game open with eight runs in the fourth inning. Cody Sadreameli knocked in two runs with a single. Gerace, Thomas and Nick Droboniku (3-for-3) each had an RBI single. Jack Loefflad hit an RBI double.