NJSIAA Tournament

Group Semifinals

Group IV

Eastern 1, Manalapan 0

The Braves (24-8) were on the wrong end of a controversial call in the top of the seventh inning and could not scratch across the tying run in a loss to the Vikings (23-8) that ended Manalapan's run through the Group IV Playoffs.

Junior Nick DiPietrantonio led off the seventh by reaching on an error and sophomore Joe Mazza followed with a single to right field, setting up a sacrifice bunt by senior Mike Kuver that gave Manalapan runners on second and third with one out.

Senior Lou Marzo came to the plate and got down a squeeze bunt but was called out for being out of the batter's box when he made contact, which sent the potential tying run back to third base. Junior Dylan Hode then squared up a line drive but Eastern third baseman Isaac Fendrick gloved it for the final out.

Eastern scored the game's only run in a nearly-identical scenario in the bottom of the fourth. Jack Winslett singled to lead off the inning, Dylan Stezzi walked and both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt.

Alec Funari then dropped a successful squeeze bunt and beat it out for an RBI single to plate a run and keep the rally alive. After hitting the next batter, Manalapan senior starter Aaron Ayers struck out the next two batters to stop the rally at one run.

Manalapan's first chance to score came in the top of the third, when courtesy runner Kyle Sciallo tagged up and tried to score on a fly ball by sophomore Tom Guidice but center fielder Nick Zellner cut him down at the plate for an inning-ending double-play.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Manalapan (24-8) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Eastern (23-8) 0 0 0 1 0 0 X 1 2 3

Pitching

Manalapan IP H R ER BB SO PC
Aaron Ayers (L, 5-1) 6 2 1 1 3 7 96
Eastern IP H R ER BB SO PC
Cole Boyan (W, 7-0) 7 3 0 0 2 4 92

Top Hitters

Manalapan Stats
Dylan Hode 1-2, BB
Tom Guidice 1-3
Joe Mazza 1-3
Eastern Stats
Alec Funari 1-3, RBI
Jack Winsett 1-2, BB, R

 

Group III

At East Brunswick Tech

Wall 4, Cherry Hill West 3

Senior John Iradi staked Wall ace Trey Dombroski to a 4-0 lead with a three-run home run in the second inning and Dombroski did just enough to protect it in winning his 10th game of the season and pitching the Crimson Knights (26-4) to the Group III championship game for the first time since 2008.

Senior second baseman Dylan Richey extended the bottom of the second by beating out an infield single to the left side to give Iradi a chance with men on first and second. On the first pitch, the senior right fielder launched a high fly ball that carried well over the left-field fence to extend Wall's lead to 4-0.

The Crimson Knights jumped out to a 1-0 lead an inning earlier when junior center fielder Teddy Sharkey doubled to the left-center gap with one out, took third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single through the right side by senior third baseman Grant Shulman.

With only two earned runs allowed all year heading into the game, Dombroski held a 4-0 lead that seemed insurmountable for Cherry Hill West (25-4), but the Lions chipped away at the deficit by tagging Dombroski for a career-high nine hits.

Dombroski pitched out of trouble in the first inning, when Tyler Kubrak led off with a double down the left field line and shortstop Danny Berckman followed with a one-out single to center. Kubrak had to hold on the line drive and that gave Dombroski a chance to induce a pop up and get a strikeout to escape trouble.

The Wall ace could not keep the Lions off the board in the fourth. Left fielder Ryan West blooped a single to lead it off and catcher Nick Sylvester smacked a single to left to start the trouble.

Wall catcher Dave Howarth bailed his pitcher out by picking off West at second base after a missed bunt attempt for the first out. Cherry Hill West responded with a hit-and-run, which Jared Hernandez grounded slowly to a vacated hole on the right side. Richey hustled to field the ball and caught courtesy runner Zach Bruno straying off second base, but Richey's throw behind the runner was wild. The throwing error allowed Bruno to score and Hernandez to move in to second.

A balk by Dombroski advanced Hernandez to third and first baseman John Gray dropped a shallow fly ball just inside the right-field line for an RBI single, cutting Wall's lead to 4-2. Dombroski ended the inning with a strikeout and a ground out.

After cruising through the fifth on six pitches, Dombroski hit rough waters again in the sixth. After a sliding catch by right fielder Alfredo DiPaolo - who replaced Iradi at the start of the inning - kept the leadoff man off base, Sylvester and Hernandez delivered back-to-back singles, with Bruno taking third on Hernandez's single and Hernandez going to second on the throw.

Gray again lifted a fly ball to right, but DiPaolo tracked this one down along the right-field line for the second out. Bruno tagged up and scored Cherry Hill West's third run and the Lions almost got a fourth when DiPaolo's throw home sailed over everyone. The ball, however, hit the brick dugout and bounced back toward the pitcher's mound.

Dombroski picked up a strikeout to end the sixth and returned to the mound in the seventh on a mission. He struck out the first two batters on three pitches each and coaxed center fielder Scott Shaw into a game-ending fly out.

Wall moves on to play West Morris in the Group III final Saturday, 4 p.m. at Veterans Park in Hamilton Twp.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
CH West (25-4) 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 3 9 0
Wall (26-4) 1 3 0 0 0 0 X 4 6 1

Pitching

Cherry Hill West IP H R ER BB SO PC
Brian Robertson (L, 5-2) 6 6 4 4 0 3 77
Wall IP H R ER BB SO PC
Trey Dombroski (W, 10-1) 7 9 3 2 0 7 93

Top Hitters

Cherry Hill West Stats
Tyler Kubrak 2-4, 2 2B
Jared Hernandez 2-3, 2 R
John Gray 1-2, 2 RBI
Nick Sylvester 2-3
Wall Stats
John Iradi 1-2, HR, R, 3 RBI
Grant Shulman 2-3, RBI
Teddy Sharkey 1-3, 2B, R
Dylan Richey 1-2, R
Sean Nocera 1-3

 

Group II

At Toms River North

Point Boro 8, West Deptford 4

Point Boro co-aces Nick Guzzi and Sam Collins were ineligible to pitch Monday but both delivered at the plate in a big way as the Panthers (23-6) jumped on the Eagles (17-7) and held on to earn a trip to the Group II championship game for the first time in program history.

Guzzi drove in three runs and Collins went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and an RBI to back senior starter Christian Aurin. Guzzi opened the scoring with a two-run single in the top of the third inning and later singled home the Panthers' fifth run, scoring Collins to make it 5-0. Collins had doubled earlier in the inning to make the score 4-0.

Both Collins and Guzzi scored on the same wild pitch in the top of the sixth to stretch Point Boro's lead to 8-0, with Guzzi scoring as a result of a throwing error as Collins crossed the plate.

Aurin pitched 5 2/3 innings and left with the bases loaded and the score still 8-0. Jack Murphy broke up the shutout with a three-run double and scored during a rundown that recorded the final out of the inning, cutting Point Boro's lead in half

Junior Sam Young put a runner on in the seventh but closed out the win to send Point Boro to Saturday's championship at Veteran's Park in Hamilton Twp. Awaiting the Panthers will be defending Group II champion Pascack Hills, which finished the 2018 season ranked No. 1 in the state by NJ.com. Both Guzzi and Collins will be eligible to throw the full 110 pitches, with Guzzi likely to get the start in hopes of completing a perfect 10-0 season.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Pt Boro (23-6) 0 0 3 3 0 2 0 8 10 2
West Deptford (17-7) 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 4 4 1

Pitching

Point Boro IP H R ER BB SO PC
Christian Aurin (W, 2-1) 5.2 2 3 3 8 2 104
Sam Young 1.1 2 1 1 1 1 29
West Deptford IP H R ER BB SO PC
Gabe Finocchi (L, 3-2) 5 8 6 6 4 4 87
Brian Gallagher 2 2 2 1 1 2 48

Top Hitters

Point Boro Stats
Sam Collins 5-5, 2 2B, 3B, 3 R, RBI
Nick Guzzi 2-4, R, 3 RBI
Sam Young 1-2, 2 RBI
Cole Young 1-3, 2 R
Nick Zbikowski 1-3, 2 R
West Deptford Stats
Jack Murphy 1-3, 2B, R, 3 RBI
Colby Garrison 1-2, 2B, R

 

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