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Ben Rabatin tosses six shutout frames, Release wins 18U/17U Tim Lally Memorial Gray Division Diamond League Tournament

By Jack Butler , 06/08/23, 8:30PM EDT


WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — The 2023 Tim Lally Memorial Diamond League Connie Mack 18U/17U Tournament consisted of 18 teams evenly split into Red and Gray divisions. Four teams from each pool made the semifinals, which included Release Baseball – Dick, Ohio Longhorns RS, e80 IronPigs, and Premier Ohio PC in the Gray Division. Release and Ohio Longhorns RS went undefeated, but the number one seed went to the former, who only gave up three runs. e80 and Premier PC Ohio won two and lost two, making e80 the higher seed by allowing five fewer runs. 

Loomis Field at Andrews Osborne Academy hosted the semifinals and championship game. In the first semifinal, Ohio Longhorns RS defeated e80 8–4 as they outscored the IronPigs 8–2 in the last five innings.

After defeating Premier Ohio PC 9-1, Release moved on to the championship, where its starter Nate Fletcher and reliever Ardan Barnhardt combined to toss six innings of one-run ball.

They continued its pitching prowess in the championship with a combined one-hit shutout by Ben Rabatin and Austin Ziance and a three-hit performance from Nick Sackett, defeating the Longhorns 7–0.

Sackett got his team going in the first with a single, and Tyler Yudes doubled him to third. A batter later, Jonathan Mitchner drove Sackett home on an RBI groundout. Rabatin picked up Sackett and Andrew Eichenhauer, who committed consecutive fielding errors the next half inning, by producing a 5–3 double play to escape a bases-loaded jam.

Release would score at least a run in the next four innings — one in the second, two in the third and fourth, and one in the fifth. The big blow came in the fourth inning when Luke Reasor hit a leadoff single, and Nate Muncy took Longhorn starter Peyton Singer deep for a two-run homer to right field. It made it a commanding 6–0 lead for Release.

With one out, Rabatin hit Michael Romano with a pitch, and Jeriah Davis grounded into a 6–4–3 double play, the fourth the Longhorns hit into. Release added another run in the fifth on a Mitchner RBI double, making it a 7-0 advantage.

Rabatin struck out three in the sixth inning to end his strong effort with half a dozen strikeouts. After Evan Cannon worked a scoreless frame in the bottom of the six for the Longhorns, Ziance had one of his own, making Release the 18/17U Gray Division Diamond League champions.