Late rally propels Ridgewood to first Bergen County Baseball Tournament Title
Ridgewood (19-8) Head Coach Kurt Hommen said afterwards he talked to his team about passing it down the line, next guy up and in the tournament doing whatever it takes to get on base whether a walk, base hit or hit by a pitch.
Early on the Maroons were stymied by St. Joseph Regional (Montvale) starter Generoso Romano in the 61stBergen County Baseball Tournament Championship Game at Northern Valley Demarest High School. After yielding a lead off single in the first, Romano roared back to strike out the side.
St. Joe’s (21-4) jumped out to a quick advantage, scoring four times off starter Kevin Seitter. However, Ridgewood managed to trim the deficit on a clutch two out RBI single off the bat of Matt Favieri. Seitter settled down working a spotless third. Searching for a much needed spark, Brian Skettini provided that in the fourth for the Maroons crushing a titanic three-run home run over the left field wall.
Thanks to a pair of miscues by the Green Knights in the infield and outfield put runners at the corner with out, Reed Darienzo put Ridgewood ahead with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Favieri produced again with two outs lashing a RBI single down the left field line.
“Skettini’s three-run home run a huge lift for is and we kept chipping away and got some big hits,” said Hoffmenn. “Matt (Favieri) has come on as the season as gone on, hits ninth but hitting over .350 and almost like another leadoff hitter for us.”
Despite having runners at first and second with two outs in the fourth, Seitter worked out of the jam retiring Andrew McDermott on a fly out in the fourth. In the bottom half of the frame the Maroons had a golden opportunity to increase their advantage with runners at second and third with two outs but Alex Facini grounded out to first base.
A sacrifice fly from Sean Hard made it a one run contest in the fifth. Presented with another scoring opportunity in the bottom half of the inning with runners at first and second with one out Ridgewood could not capitalize with consecutive fly outs.
Seitter exited the game after five innings in the books yielding five runs on five hits. Taking over the pitching duties Matt Crawford who ran into immediate trouble surrendering a lead off single, committing an error and walking a batter to load up the bases. With his back against the wall, Crawford registered a pair of strikes and was one strike away from escaping the dicey predicament facing Ben Winstead but ended up issuing a free pass.
It would not get any better as Crawford walked Zack Bailey and thereafter uncorking a wild pitch as Anthony Pasissidi slid in headfirst safely at home as the Green Knights recaptured the lead in this heavyweight fight.
Just when it seemed St. Joe’s had all the momentum the Maroons quickly loaded up the bases with none out. Facini atoned for not having driven in a run in fourth, drilling a go ahead two-run double down the left field line. Not finished with tacking on insurance runs, Michael Breiter followed bashing a single to right field and with the Green Knights infield committing another a error on force out made it a 10-7 game.
“We always believed in every inning they scored,” said Alex Facini. “We got together at the end of the inning, picked each other up and anybody that was down. We had the hope and ability to come back and something we had through the years playing together and overcoming adversity.”
“I went up with the approach to pick up the team, my last at bat, runners in scoring position and went up with redemption and being aggressive. He gave me the pitch I wanted and rest is history.”
Having struck out Hard to end a difficult sixth inning, Crawford did not waste any pitches in the seventh closing it out in grand fashion striking out the side as Ridgewood won their first Bergen County Baseball Tournament Title in the school’s history and setting off a jubilant celebration on the mound.
“I had a rough inning there but I trust me teammates and knew we had it. The last inning with a three-run lead I felt so confident. My curve ball was not working so I had to rely on my fastball. After I got the first out our pitching coach always tells us out the first out keeps us rolling and gets easier after that.”
Kurt Hommen on the victory, Alex (Facini) is a senior, waited his time last year and got some big hits down the stretch for us and playing a good third base. Matt (Crawford) got a little flustered and things unraveled but we jumped right back and scored and he came out and looked liked a completely different pitcher.”
“To win one at Tenafly and here is special. Moving through the tournament and beating Don Bosco and St. Joe’s was very tough to get through. Obviously the first one, it’s hard to describe and you like to be the first team that does it and had some good teams the past couple of years but for them to do it they deserve it and our group of seniors have paid the price.”
In the post-game ceremonies afterwards, Kevin Seitter received the Larry Ennis Most Valuable Pitcher Award while SS/P Sam Favieri received the Lt. Thomas Evans MVP Award.
Sunil Sunder Raj
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