RANDOLPH, NJ- In the baseball world, late July and August are often referred to as the “dog days” of summer. However, for high school kids maturing and trying to become better ball players, these are crucial months to get work in, and summer leagues such as American Legion helps them do just that. The games may not get as much as attention as fall ball or the spring season, but the games are played at a highly competitive level.
This weekend the state playoffs began for the Randolph 17 and under Junior Legion team, after they finished in first place in their district. On the afternoon of Saturday July 26, Randolph hosted Bellville in a single elimination quarterfinal matchup.
Trevor Salvidor took the mound for Randolph and put forth an impressive performance. After giving up one run in the first inning, Salvidor was lights out from that point on. Trevor totaled 11 strikeouts over his five innings pitched and showed a lot of maturity on the mound. In the fourth and fifth inning Bellville threatened with runners in scoring position. Salvidor kept his composure and struck out three batters in fourth to get out of the jam. He faced a similar situation in the fifth inning and did the exact same thing; pitch his way out of trouble.
Pitching was the theme of the game for Randolph. When Salvidor exited the game in the fifth inning, his teammates Tom Ippolitto and Dan Toscano shut down Bellville in the final two innings to secure the 3-1 victory. When asked about the dominant pitching performance Coach David Sacco simply replied “ They throw strikes and don’t fool around. They're not scared to go after hitters.”
Runs were hard to come by for both teams; the difference in the game was Randolph was able to capitalize with runners in scoring position. Stu Becker tied up the game in the bottom of the first with a base hit. Then in the second Randolph took the lead when Nick Donnelly scored on a Jake Barbiere go-ahead single.
About the At-Bat in which he drove in the go ahead run, Barbiere explained “I was looking for fastballs since that's what he was throwing all game. I got a nice high one and I turned on it." That run would prove to be all Randolph needed for the rest of the game.
A day after their 3-1 victory over Bellville, Randolph played Livingston in a win or go home semi final match up. In this game both the pitching and hitting would prove to be dominant for Randolph.
Mike Green set the tone pitching 7 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out nine. Another stellar pitching performance for Randolph, the second time in two days. The offense fed off their pitcher as everyone in the lineup contributed, leading Randolph to a 9-0 victory.
Four players had multi hit games including Stu Backer who went 2-4 with 4 RBI’s. Chris Flynn and Robbie LaPenna went a combined 4-7 with four runs scored. Ryan Mulligan was 2-3 with three runs scored and an RBI. Jack Carrol, Mike Green and Trevor Salvior also had an RBI each. With this victory, Randolph advances to the Legion Championship.
The opponent, location, and time of the game are still to be determined.