RANDOLPH, NJ- The ride all the way to the state championship ended on Thursday July 31 for the Randolph Junior 17 and under team in the American Legion summer league. The boys, all freshmen in high school for Randolph, put up a good fight, but could not come up with the timely hit that could have changed their 5-1 loss to Warren Hills.
Randolph had an excellent ride in their summer league to make it all the way to the state championship by placing first in their district and then defeating both Belleville and Livingston in the playoffs.
Randolph ran into trouble in the first inning when a two out base hit scored a run for Warren Hills and then two more scored on a long fly ball that was almost caught in the outfield. Warren Hills jumped out 3-0 in the first as all the bounces seemed to be going their way.
In the third inning however, things looked better for Randolph as they gave the crowd something to cheer about. Connor Sullivan ripped a leadoff base hit and then stole second on a pass ball. With no outs, pitcher Trevor Salvior, who had a solid game against Warren Hills and a dominant performance over Belleville, successfully bunted Sullivan over to third. Another wild pitch would then successfully allow Sullivan to steal home, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
Despite growing some momentum, Randolph would not be able to score any more runs for the rest of the game. Randolph managed to get two batters on with no outs in the fourth and to load the bases in the fifth with only one out, but could not get a timely hit that could truly bring them back into the game. Warren Hills added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to build a 5-1 lead that would last the entire game.
One of Randolph’s bright spots all night was Jack Carroll, who played right field. Carroll reached base in all three at-bats from a base hit, a walk, and a hard-hit ball to the infield that the runners hustled on and forced a poor throw. Ryan Mulligan had a good game on the defensive side by making several catches on hard line drives to second base that kept Warren Hills from breaking the game open in the bottom of the third.
Head Coach for Randolph, David Sacco, thought this team did well to stay in the game and give themselves a chance at taking the championship.
“They played with a lot of heart, they don’t give up or quit, just a couple missed opportunities,” said Coach Sacco.