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Domenick Swanson broke open a close game with a massive 275-foot, three-run home run over the right-centerfield fence to give Delray Beach National a 7-4 victory over host Boca Raton at Sugar Sand Park.
Swanson’s blast in the top of the fourth inning broke open a tight game and gave Delray Beach National a comfortable 7-2 lead. Boca Raton managed to pull within 7-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough as the visitors escaped with their lone win in the District 7 International 12-Under Little League Division game.
Swanson, 12, who will be a seventh-grader at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic School in Delray Beach in the fall, stands 5 feet 11 inches tall and 220 pounds. He’s been playing baseball for the past four years.
“I think he threw me a fastball and I got my eyes on it and I just hit it,” said Swanson, who lives in Lake Worth. “That was great. I have done it before. It just gets better and better.”
The win was bittersweet for Delray Beach National as a scheduling conflict prevented the team from playing additional games in the tournament.
“The tournament moves on, but this was our only game,” said Delray Beach National coach Andy Marcus, who could only field nine players for the game. “Unfortunately for us, we are a team that has multiple kids playing on multiple teams and some of the kids are going to Cooperstown.
“Unfortunately, most of our kids have left already or leave tomorrow,” Marcus said. “So this was the only game we could actually play. We wanted to control what we could control and that was to go out and win a ball game and we did. We had great performances by a lot of our kids. It was a lot of fun.”
Marcus said it was a unique situation for his team. They had booked tickets into the Cooperstown Tournament in early June, but when the Palm Beach County School District extended classes past the date they were going to attend, they had to reschedule the Cooperstown trip to the end of June.
“We had planned to go in the beginning of June (to Cooperstown), which would have been no conflict, but we once we learned that the calendar changed a couple of months ago, we had to change the trip,” Marcus said. “We pushed it back as far as it would take us and it ended up being a conflict. This was a real heartbreaker for us because we really wanted to see it through.”
“We get to walk out of here 1-0 but with some unfinished business,” he said. “A lot of these kids committed to our group and this tournament, so this is a bittersweet end.”
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Delray Beach National has about 10 players on its complete roster that have represented the program since they were 7 and 8-Under. A few joined in the past two years.
Trailing 2-0 in the second inning, Matthew Krezwick got the rally started with a single then walks by AJ Herrera and Riley Marcus loaded the bases. Sean Fitzpatrick singled in two runs and Swanson got his first of two big hits with a two RBI single putting Delray up 4-2.
Swanson delivered big in his next at bat with a three-run opposite-field HR. Bryant Barkhan was strong on the mound going five innings and pitching into the sixth before Levi Gleichenhaus came on for the save to secure the 7-4 win.
“Dom came up big in a big spot,” Marcus said. “He had a hit early in the game that drove in a couple of runs and gave us the lead. We were a bit surprised that they pitched to him in that spot, they did and he put a big swing on it and this field isn’t big enough for him.”
Swanson said he was looking forward to going to Cooperstown to play in one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country. Over 100 youth baseball teams compete every week from June to August annually.
“It’s challenging, not being able to play for a championship (in the Little League tournament),” said Swanson, who is one of the players who went to Cooperstown to play for the XL travel baseball team. “Going there (Cooperstown), I am just going there to be what my team wants me to be and do what I have to do.”