VERONA, NJ – Trailing by one run with the bases loaded, Jake Milmoe delivered a walk-off two-run hit to defeat the No. 7 Caldwell Chiefs and advance to the semi-final round of the North 2 Group 2 State Tournament.  

“We’ve been facing faster pitching in the earlier games, but today we were being patient at the plate, and our mindset was to make contact with the ball,” said Milmoe.

From the start of the match up, Verona didn’t take long to make their mark as senior Anthony Zamloot singled with two outs in the bottom of the first.  

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After Zamloot made it to second with a stolen base, Nick Coppola and Will Gaccione were both hit by pitches loading the bases for catcher Jake Milmoe.  Milmoe delivered with a shot to right center and two runs batted in to score Zamloot and Coppola.

Kyle McCaffrey helped Verona pile on another run with an RBI single bringing home Gaccione to make it 3-0 Verona at the end of the first inning.

Caldwell tied the game at 3-3 after two RBI singles in the fourth and one in the fifth.

In the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs Zamloot came through again this time reaching second with a double.  Coppola continued the rally after smacking the ball into center field for an RBI double giving Verona a 4-3 lead at the end of five.  

The Hillbillies made a pitching change in the top of the seventh bringing in first baseman Nick Coppola for Pierce Coppola with men on first and second.  Pierce finished with 8 strikeouts through 6 and 1/3 innings pitched.

After the change Caldwell loaded the bases with a single and followed it up with an RBI single, a walk, and a sacrifice fly ball to take a 6-4 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh with a man on first and second for Verona, Zamloot connected again this time with an RBI ground rule double to center field cutting the lead to one.

After an intentional walk from Caldwell loaded the bases, Milmoe belted one to left field cementing a semi-final berth for Verona as two runs scored.  Milmoe went 2-for-4 with four RBI.

When talking about the team’s approach, Zamloot, who went 4-for-4 in the game with an RBI and three runs scored said, “We knew that state games are usually low scoring especially because Caldwell’s in our conference.  We knew it was going to be a close one.”

Head Coach Joe Phelan reflected on the game saying, “This offense goes as T-Rad (Tom Radigan) and Nick (Kozachuck) go.  When they get on our team does damage, and we started feeling it. And Anthony our captain, 4-for-4, with that huge hit when they walked Nicky (Coppola).  He really got all of it, and that helped us get the victory.”

Verona will host Lyndhurst this Tuesday in the semi-final round.

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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