Bergen County Baseball Tournament Quarterfinals Recap
Bergen Catholic (4) vs. River Dell (3) in 8 innings – Despite losing their starting pitcher Justin Salem to an elbow injury in the 4th inning and trailing 3-0 at one point, the Bergen Catholic Crusaders rallied to win 4-3 in eight innings against the River Dell Golden Hawks in the quarterfinals of the Bergen County Baseball Tournament at Jim “Doc” Sweeney Field at Emerson High School. Vin Martinez ripped a single into the right centerfield gap for the game-winning hit.
“I capitalized on the fastball thrown to me,” said Vin Martinez. “We were not nervous down 3-0 and carried ourselves very well. We were hitting the ball but they were catching the ball.”
Down 3-1 entering the bottom of the 7th inning, the Crusaders had runners on 1st and 3rd base against River Dell’s new pitcher Lucas Salerno. With Andrew Derubertis at the plate, August Samek attempted to steal second base but the on the throw the ball skipped past the shortstop David Estevez into the centerfield allowing Erickson Nichols to trot home cutting the lead to 3-2. A wild pitch by Salerno allowed Samek to advance to 3rd base. DeRubertis singled into centerfield scoring Samek to tie the game up at 3-3.
“I knew I would get a couple of at bats but had to stay focused on pitching,” said Andrew Derubertis. “We showed a lot of heart as a team and I just tried to do my job.”
Salem injured his elbow after throwing a pitching in the top of the 4th. Andrew DeRubertis came in as a new Crusaders pitcher. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Kyle Weber singled down the right field line giving River Dell a 2-0 lead. Pete Capuano followed with a laser shot under the glove of Bergen Catholic first baseman John VanDeMark scoring Weber increasing the lead to 3-0.
“We knew three runs would not be enough because Bergen Catholic is a good hitting team,” said River Dell Head Coach Brandon Flanagan. “We had a couple of good opportunities to score more runs.”
Discussing starting pitcher Jake Fletcher’s performance, Flanagan added, “’Jake’s a gamer and wants the ball in a big spot. He has pitched better than his record and is a senior captain.”
St. Joseph (Montvale) (4) vs. Ramsey (3) – St. Joseph (Montvale) Green Knights Head Coach Frank Salvano said after the game, “we never get down and believe in ourselves.”
After a shaky 2nd inning defensively where the Green Knights committed four errors leading to three Ramsey runs, Devin Ortiz crushed a three-run home run over the centerfield fence in the bottom of the 5th tying the game up at 3-3.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, Ortiz led off with a walk followed by a line drive single off the bat of Justyn-Henry Malloy into centerfield. On the throw from Rams centerfielder Austin Bardzell to third base allowed Henry-Malloy to advance to second base. John Greeley provided the heroics with a single past a diving Ramsey shortstop Brian McHale scoring Ortiz for the 4-3 victory.
“Devin is a one-man gang and one of the greatest players at St. Joseph’s because he reminds me so much of Rob Kaminsky,” said St. Joseph (Montvale) Head Coach Frank Salvano. “He is only a sophomore and only going to get better. I am so happy for John Greeley because he has been scuffling all year long. A senior captain, our leader and made a big contribution to the team today.”
The game featured two highlight reel catches in the outfield. In the bottom of the 6th inning Ramsey centerfielder Austin Bardzell stretched out full extension on a sinking line drive into the right centerfield gap and snagged the ball taking an extra base hit away from John Greeley. The Rams had the bases loaded in the 7th inning when Matt Butler belted a deep fly to right field but St. Joseph right fielder Nick Cantone reached back with his glove by the fence to haul in the catch.
“We had opportunities but let them slip away,” said Ramsey Head Coach Bill Chesney.
Assessing starting pitcher Rob Satori’s pitching performance, Chesney added, “Rob gutted it out today and just made one big mistake. He just hung up too many breaking balls.”
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