BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Tuesday night was about celebrating the Highlanders baseball team and their 9 seniors as they shut down Linden, 12- 2, in six innings of play.
The weather cooperated for the team's deserving seniors -- the celebration brought generations together in a pre-game ceremony to honor the seniors' dedication and commitment to their sport. Each senior was introduced along with their parents: Ryan Jennings, Barron Natelli, Ian Woods, Steve Duda, Nick DiSarno, Pat Mahoney, Victor Candeloro, Dan Wolfish and Nick Rodriguez.
"In my 14 years as a head coach, this is one of the best, if not the best group of men, on and off the field, that I have ever coached," said Gov. Livingston head coach Chris Roof.
A sound of bagpipes, a Gov. Livingston High School tradition, filled the air as the players took the field with the Highlander Mascot. The community's youngest players were able to run out on the field with the 21-5 Highlanders for the playing of the National Anthem. The sentimental first pitch was thrown by Ryan Jennings' grandfather John Jennings.
Candeloro completed the six innings allowing two runs off of four hits and three strike outs. "On senior night, you want your performance to go well. You go out there and throw strikes -- trust your fielders -- and that is what happened," said Candeloro.
The Highlanders have their eyes on Toms River and getting through the next round of the States on Wednesday against Nutley. "One game at a time, that's our approach right now," said Candeloro.
Tuesday night's game was about having fun and winning their 21st game said Mahoney, who smashed two doubles and a single in the victory. "We are trying to have a lot of fun and get all of the seniors in," said Mahoney.
GL took an early 2-0 lead after the first with Natelli leading the first frame with a double followed by a single line drive RBI by Jennings who added two more RBIs in the fourth. Woods added a single RBI.
The Highlanders' bats stayed hot throughout the night. GL was flawless in the field. A number of great defensive efforts kept Linden off the scoreboard.
Junior Ian Lynch and Mahoney kept up the hitting momentum with back to back doubles. Junior Mike Falk drove Lynch home for an RBI.
GL continued to hit in the fourth with a single by Woods and a double by Duda. Jennings would tally 2-RBIs to the count with a single to secure a strong 5-0 lead.
Linden didn't let up as they rallied in the fifth -- led by a single by Alex Primavera advancing Myers to third. Anthony Zicaro connected a pop fly caught by Mahoney giving Linden their first RBI.
GL bats kept connecting as Mahoney and Falk smacked back to back doubles in the fifth. Junior John Tedesco drove Mahoney home while called out on first. DiSarno added a single and was called out as Duda attempted a triple finding a hole in center field. The inning would end, 7-1.
Linden's second rally attempt was sparked by Anthony Figueroa who crushed a double just out of reach of DiSarno in right field. Jason Szurlej would hit a single to get Linden's second and last RBI.
The Highlanders continued their streak with single by Rodriguez and a single RBI from Mahoney. Falk hit a double bringing in Wolfish and Mahoney. With Falk and Tedesco on base, junior Michael Policastro would pop a 2-RBI double to close out the game for the 12-2 victory.
Garden State Fireworks ended the evening with a spectacular fireworks show to celebrate Highlander baseball.