ATLANTIC CITY – A perfect combination of pitching and timely hitting was all it took for the Atlantic Shore Babe Ruth team to advance to the semifinals of the 13- to 15-year-old Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament.
Riding the arm and bat of 15-year-old Kyle Gerace, Atlantic Shore put an exclamation point on its unbeaten record in pool play with a dominant 7-0 victory over Frederick County (Md.) Monday afternoon at Surf Stadium.
Gerace pitched five innings of shutout ball, surrendering only two hits and two walks while striking out five in the win. He also added a pair of hits, driving in two runs and scoring twice.
"I was feeling pretty comfortable actually going into (the game)," Gerace said. "The coaches gave me the ball, I mean I was just looking forward to a normal game but I was feeling pretty good up there. My arm was feeling good throughout the whole five innings.
"I guess I was seeing the ball at the plate and went from there I guess," Gerace added in reference to his RBI single and double.
After a scoreless first inning, Frederick County ran into a little bit of trouble in the second inning. Starting pitcher Dylan Hall had trouble finding the plate, walking four batters, hitting another and giving up an RBI single to Gerace to put his team in a 4-0 hole.
Atlantic Shore cruised from that point on, battering the Frederick pitching with patience at the plate and timely hitting for the victory.
"Their pitcher had some trouble throwing strikes," head coach Bill Rauzzino said. "That's the difference between our team and some of these other teams is our pitchers don't walk people and some of these other teams struggle throwing strikes. We're patient at the plate and we hit strikes and we take advantage of other people's mistakes."
Nick Droboniku had a two-hit game, which included a ground-rule double he hit in the third inning. Droboniku, who said he had been struggling a bit at the plate in previous games, said the double felt good.
Droboniku probably would have had a home run on that swing, too had the game not been held in a minor league park.
"It's a different field," Droboniku laughed. "If it was in Somers Point then maybe it would have been out, but not here."
For Atlantic Shore, this was a huge victory. Had it lost it would not have earned a bye into the semifinals and would have had to play two games today. However, Atlantic Shore will get to sit out the morning's quarterfinals, and will return to the field this afternoon in the semifinals.
"That's huge," Droboniku said. "It really helps with pitching, because the way this tournament is set up, it really kills the pitching with all the teams and it gives us a game to get our guys rested and get enough arms out there."
Atlantic Shore 040 120 0 – 7 7 0
Frederick County 000 000 0 – 0 2 0
2B -Droboniku, Gerace, AS.
WP - Gerace. LP - Hall
Records - AS 4-0. FC 3-1
Contact John Russo