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Written by Matt Lamb

Freehold, NJ - After escaping a bases-loaded jam, the Freehold Clippers used a six-run eighth inning to ensure an 8-1 victory over the DiMaggio Bombers on a humid Thursday evening at Michael J. Tighe Park in Freehold, picking up their league-leading 17th victory in the effort.

The Clippers (17-3-1) were up only 2-0 in the top of the seventh, however they used smart pitching and fielding to allow just one run after the Bombers (4-13) loaded the bases with no outs. After staving off a comeback attempt, they generated a spark of offense in order to grab their 6th consecutive win.

Thursday’s bout was tightly contested early on, as both team’s starting pitchers gave solid efforts. Freehold’s Matt Guarino (Jackson, NJ/ Widener University, PA) allowed just one hit over three innings of work while striking out two batters. The Bombers’ John Armstrong (Cranford, NJ/ Fairleigh Dickinson University-Madison) gave up only one earned run on three hits in his three innings.

Jackson Memorial alum Matt Guarino, pictured during 2014 high school action, pitched three scoreless innings Thursday for the Freehold Clippers in ABCCL action. (Photo by Bob Badders).

Scoring began in the bottom of the second inning when Freehold’s Taylor Reynolds (Jackson, NJ/ Neumann College, PA) lifted an RBI to right field to score Austin Lindsay (Allentown, NJ/ Mercer County CC, NJ). The Clippers brought in another run in the bottom of the sixth, when Harrison Preschel (Teaneck, NJ/ Long Island University-Brooklyn, NY) drilled a double to deep left-center field, scoring Tommy McCarthy (Allentown, NJ/ The College of New Jersey). Preschel had two hits on the day for the Clippers.

“Hitting was on point today, we were getting timely hits when we needed to,”  Preschel said. “We just want to keep the ball rolling since everyone’s on top of their game right now and keep bringing that positive attitude and playing Clipper baseball.”

The Bombers looked to take momentum back in the top of the seventh after a single from Austin Lindner (West Windsor, NJ/ Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA) and two consecutive walks loaded the bases. After two straight outs, the Bombers had their only run cross the plate, as Brian Gillen (South Plainfield, NJ/ Arcadia University, PA) scored on an error. The Clippers left the inning with the lead well in hand, however, as they struck out the final batter of the inning.

Jeff Goldrosen (3) of the Freehold Clippers reaches base on a double in the 8th inning versus the DiMaggio Bombers. The Clippers would score six runs in the inning on the way to an 8-1 victory. (Photo by Matt Lamb)

Bombers Head Coach Dave Kaplow thought that the game started to slip away from them late.

“We played well up until the last inning, playing pretty clean baseball,” he said. “Leaving runners in scoring position is something we’ve struggled with, and we want to limit the big innings for our opponents and play clean baseball moving forward.”

The top of the eighth inning saw the Clippers add some insurance runs and then some, as they exploded for six runs and five hits in the inning, after recording just four hits total up to that point. Jason Lundy (Freehold, NJ/ Fordham University) picked up two RBI on a single, scoring McCarthy and Jeff Goldrosen (Manalapan, NJ/ Bard University, NY), who doubled to lead off the inning.  A pair of RBI singles from Lindsay and Steve Edelstein (Staten Island, NY/ Stockton University, NJ) made the game 6-1 in favor of the Clippers. An error allowed Lindsay and Preschel to score two plays later to push the lead to 8-1, which is how the score would stand for the remainder of the game.

Preschel noted that the team’s morale is a big part of the current winning streak.

“The morale is really good right now, everyone wants to be at the ballpark, and it’s just fun to be down here playing baseball,” he said.

Each team will be playing in doubleheaders this Sunday, July 10. The Clippers will stay at Michael J. Tighe Park in Freehold, where they will face the Medford Starz, with the first pitch of Game 1 coming at 10 a.m. The Bombers will start at the same time at St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel, where they take on the Monmouth Monarchs at 10 a.m.