RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph 8U East All Stars used a dramatic comeback to claim the championship of the Par-Troy East summer baseball classic on July 29th in Parsippany over a tough group of ball players from Morristown. Randolph rallied from an early 3-1 defecit to tie the game in the third, and then broke the tie in the bottom of the 6th with a walk off RBI base hit that knocked in the winning run. The comeback was indicative of the positive spirit and toughness the boys have shown all year long.
The title game was a hard fought, back and forth, contest between two very talented young teams. Morristown scored first in the bottom of the second. Randolph struck back in the bottom half of the inning when James Kleiven came up with a key stolen base, and then scored the tying run. In the top of the third, Morristown scored another two runs, only to be matched by Randolph in the bottom of the third with two runs of their own. The game continued to be tied as drama built heading towards the last inning.
Randolph starting pitcher, James Fusco pitched the game of the year, going 5 full innings, striking out 7 without walking a batter. In the 6th inning, due to a pitch limit, Fusco was replaced by the teams closer Justin Marks, who shut Morristown down while striking out 2 batters. Fusco and Marks then led the bottom half of the 6th inning off with singles, leaving runners on first and third with nobody out. Rocco Albano stepped to the plate, and after looking at a few balls, he drilled a 3-0 pitch deep down the left field line for a walk off winner, earning Randolph the right to be called champions.
The Championship effort was preceded by 2 exciting playoff games nobody will soon forget. Playing Denville in round one, Randolph held a 5-2 lead late in the game. Denville threatened by loading the bases, with their best hitter on deck. James Fusco made the game saving play, ranging to his left at 3rd base to field a hot shot. Fusco threw from his knees to Joey Viespoli covering 2nd base to just nip the Denville runner for the final out and a chance to advance.
In round two, Randolph was down to their last strike twice in the 6th innig while trailing 1-0. Brent Nobis and Danny Oppenheimer worked crucial walks that led to tying the game 1-1. The tie forced the game into extra innings where Randolph East pulled ahead 3-1 on a key hit by Jaret Schultz. A relay play from 200 feet from home plate ended the game in as dramatic a fashion as is ever witnessed on a baseball field. Nick Preta threw from the left field fence to the cutoff man, SS Rocco Albano in short LF. Albano then turned and fired a strike to catcher Shane Manzi to get the final out at the plate, preserving a 3-2 semifinal victory and punching Randolph's ticket to the championship game.
Congratulations on the Championship efforts of all the team members: James Fusco, Justin Marks, Rocco Albano, Jaret Schultz, Shane Manzi, James Kleiven, Chase Carroll, Nick Preta, Joey Viespoli, Brandon Lakind, Tyler Founds, Brent Nobis and Danny Oppenheimer. Job exceptionally well done!