MEDFORD, NJ – The patience and batting resolve of the Protocall Starz prevailed in a two-game battle with the Ocean Sports Academy Marlins. Benefitting from 14 free passes, the day’s action was – quite literally – a walk in the park for the Starz. The Starz however did add some pizzazz of their own; first-baseman Kristian Von Kiel (West Chester University; hometown Mancungie, PA) slammed an impressive solo shot in the second game to accentuate the twin victories.
Game 1: In the first game of the day the Protocall Starz started things quickly, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning. Benefitting from four walks and two wild pitches issued by the Marlins, the Starz made the most of three singles. The Marlins countered with four runs of their own in the top of the third inning, including two on an overthrown ball from the Starz outfield in an ill-fated attempt to double-up a runner. Then the Starz bounded back with another run in the bottom half of the inning, on the largesse of the Marlins wild pitching, to make it a 7-4 Starz lead. The Marlins’ Scott Kelly (TCNJ; hometown West Windsor, NJ) doubled to lead off the fifth for the Marlins, but after he scored the relief pitchers of both teams were able to stop further scoring. Brett Knazek (Wilmington University; hometown Medford, NJ) was the model of success for the Starz in this game, reaching base on two singles and a walk and scoring twice on wild pitches.
Game 2: Early on in the second game it looked like the Marlins were going to be able to exact revenge for the aforementioned defeat. After two innings the Marlins had amassed a 5-0 lead and had just retired the Starz 1-2-3 for just the second time all day. Kelly singled to lead off the first moved up to second on a walk, and to third on an infield hit by teammate Jerry Coleman (Clarkson University; hometown Potsdam, NY). Kelly scored on a wild pitch and than Vincent Delvechio (NJIT; hometown Bloomfield, NJ) knock in two runs with an RBI single to make it 3-0. In the second Kelly tripled and scored along with Nick Cifelli (TCNJ; hometown Trenton, NJ) when Coleman blasted a triple of his own.
However, this lead was to be short-lived as the Starz came roaring back with a ten-run fourth inning explosion. Setting the tone for this inning was Kristian Von Kiel’s solo blast lined over the left-field wall. This clearly rattled Marlins pitcher Scott Hammel (Newman University; hometown Williamstown, NJ) who allowed the next 5 batters to reach base on a walk, single, double, walk, and single, and all of whom would also score. Reliever Mike Rossi (Keystone College; hometown Freehold, NJ) could not stop the bleeding, walking another hitter before finally recording the first out of the inning on a pop to short. Another hit, error, walk, error, and sacrifice fly later the damage tallied ten runs in all for a 10-5 Starz lead. In the sixth the Starz added another three runs, thanks in large part to doubles by sluggers Jim Best (West Virginia University; hometown Medford, NJ) and Knazek. With the Marlins running out of rested pitchers the umpires mercifully called the game in favor of the Starz after the final out of the seventh inning, cementing the 13-5 score as final.
The Protocall Starz play again on Tuesday, June 22 against the Freehold Clippers at Manalapan Park and the game is scheduled to start at 6:00pm. The Ocean Sports Academy Marlins will travel to Matawn High School for a game against the Langan Baseball Falcons also to be played June 22, with a 5:45 start time.