Kyle Gerace was nearly unhittable for Atlantic Shore on Monday, a performance his team needed badly to stay in contention in the Babe Ruth World Series.
Gerace pitched a complete-game, seven-inning shutout for a 1-0 win over Twin Cities, Wash., giving Atlantic Shore its first win of the tournament in Loudoun County, Va. Atlantic Shore consists of players ages 13-15 from Atlantic and Cape May counties.
“Kyle was in complete control the whole game,” coach Bill Rauzzino said by telephone. “He went through the lineup once — the leadoff guy got on in the fourth.
“He was simply in total control. ... Even though we were only up 1-0, it felt like 5-0 or 6-0 because he was pitching. It was just a great job by Kyle.”
Gerace allowed only two hits and a walk, striking out five.
“Once the first inning was over and I got through the first four guys, I started to feel good,” Gerace said. “I got my groove and did what I do best — work the zone, throw strikes and keep my breaking ball down and get them chasing.”
In the second inning, Atlantic Shore got a double from Stephen Myers, who advanced to third on Jack Loefflad’s single. Nick Droboniku followed up with a sharp grounder to short, hitting into a double play that scored Myers and gave Atlantic Shore the 1-0 lead.
That one run was all Atlantic Shore needed to get its first win of the tournament after having lost two one-run games over the weekend.
“It’s a relief,” Rauzzino said. “It’s nice being on the other side of a one-run game.”
Atlantic Shore now controls its fate.
If it beatsTallahassee/Leon, Fla., in their 11 a.m. Wednesday game, they will be guaranteed at least third place in the division. The top three teams from each division will advance to the single-elimination round that begins Thursday.
“That’s huge to control your own destiny at this point after being only 1-2,” Rauzzino said.
Rauzzino told his players after Sunday night’s 3-2 loss to Greater Loudoun, Va., that it’s single elimination from this point on.
“It’s a little scary, but also it gives us something to focus on,” Gerace said. “We have one more game to win. Like Coach said, it’s single-elimination now, so we have to stay focused and do what we do best.
“We’re a very solid team overall. We can beat any team out there. I have all the confidence in my teammates and they have it in me. I know we can play to our full ability the next couple of games.”
Note: Atlantic Shore’s Matt Morgan was scheduled to compete in the World Series home-run derby Monday night. The derby included one player from each of the 10 teams.
Contact John Russo:
Twin Cities 000 000 0—0 2 1
Atlantic Shore 010 000 X—1 4 0
Records—Twin Cities 0-2. Atlantic Shore 1-2.