Riedel, Patriots battle back against AATL
By Jarrett Guthrie
TAMPA – A two-out error extended the third inning for Carrollwood Day starting pitcher Nicholas Riedel and the rolling snowball started to gather steam as visiting Academy at the Lakes erased a slim Patriots advantage, and Ramon Cintron’s two-run triple to deep right, and Vincent Verpault’s RBI single gave the Wildcats a solid lead.
But from there, the avalanche decisively barreled down the other slope, as Riedel let the minor blip go and CDS turned things around, burying AATL behind a pair of back-to-back, six-run innings as the freshman hurler put in two more innings of shutout baseball up as the Patriots took a 13-4 win on the night.
“My focus in my mind wasn’t about the error, it was just to throw strikes and get out of the inning,” Riedel said. “I didn’t have any doubts that my team was going to come back, and it feels really good.”
Riedel would cruise through the fourth and fifth innings, save for one runner reaching on another error, and lobbied successfully to pitch to his limit – punctuating his performance with his eighth strikeout to start the sixth, before being removed due to pitch-count limits for the 14-year-old righty.
“Nick has been building up to this moment,” Carrollwood Day head coach Tony Brewington said. “He is young in age, but he is a competitor, he really wanted this game and tonight that really showed.
“I like what he brings to the table – nice energy and poise – I think he is going to be very successful for a very long time.”
The Patriots dugout was alive throughout, creating energy (and a campfire totem of bats in the dugout) and willing the momentum shift. Something that wasn’t lost on Riedel.
“That was something that really let me relax and go back out there,” Riedel said. “It calmed me down, and we just kept putting runs up. It was a lot of fun.”
Likewise, the freshman’s efforts were thoroughly enjoyed by the Patriots dugout, who greeted Riedel in front of the dugout when he was pulled, mobbing him in a group hug.
“This team had his back (after the error at third) and battled back for him,” junior Brennan Leonhardt said. “And he finished the rest for us. Nick Riedel is a great player and I didn’t expect anything different from him.”
For Academy at the Lakes (7-12) things started to go sideways in the fourth as starting pitcher Tanner Pelaez (3.1ip, six strikeouts, four earned runs) struggled to find the strike zone, walking four, hitting one to plate a run, before JD Howard’s perfectly deadened bunt cut the lead to one, Logan Mazur’s walk tied the game at four and ended Pelaez’s night on the mound. The Patriots weren’t done however, adding one more on a walk and another on a screaming ground ball single by Leonhardt that was knocked down at third to keep it to just a one-run hit, and a sixth run in the frame on a wild pitch.
Carrollwood Day (10-8) put things decisively out of reach the very next inning as Dylan Vargo celebrated his senior night with a pair of hits in the fifth inning – the last of which, an RBI hit to third capped the Patriots scoring at 13. Leonhardt finished his three-hit night with a two-run single in the sixth as well.
“I think (answering) was very important,” Leonhardt, who also scored three times in the win, said. “Coach Tony gave a great speech (before the fifth inning) saying that, ‘we were on it, but we had to keep going after it,’ and we didn’t stop.”
Reliever Gabe Troya spelled Riedel in the sixth, walking two and striking out two, before the Patriots other senior Bobby Dozier finished the game off with a hitless seventh inning and one strikeout.
Eighth-grader Liam Akins had a single and scored from second on the error at third base in the third for the Wildcats, and Cole Syversen had the game’s first hit – a single to center in the second inning.
Carrollwood Day is back at it with two more games this week traveling to St. Petersburg High (4pm) on Thursday, and on the road at Holiday Anclote on Friday. Academy at the Lakes hosts Tampa Catholic tonight, and Hernando Christian on Friday – both games at 7pm.
Acad at the Lakes 4
Carrollwood Day 13
AATL 000|000|0 – |4|4|3
CDS 000|000|0 – |13|10|2
W – Reidel; L – Pelaez
2B – Cintron (A). Records – AATL (7-12); CDS (10-8).