NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - They had to think this game was going to be theirs.
Everyone in the stands thought so. Everyone in the East Brunswick High School dugout had to think so. Everyone, that is, except the supporters and players from the Spotswood High School Chargers, who turned an improbable double play with the bases loaded and the score tied, 3-3, in the bottom of the eighth inning, then scored three runs in the top of the ninth, to stun the top-seeded Bears, 6-3, and advance to the semifinals of the Greater Middlesex Conference Baseball Tournament.
What a game this was. Well played throughout. The Bears jumped out to an early 2-1 lead, and held that lead until the top of the fifth inning, when the Chargers evened the score at 2-2.
It stayed that way until the top of the eighth inning, when all the drama began. The Chargers' Jack Dalrymple, who had a fantastic game going 3-4, decided it was time to step into the spotlight. Dalrymple's long home run gave Spotswood a 3-2 lead that they took into the bottom of the eighth inning. Spotswood reliever Cooper Cisco came out for his second inning of work, hoping to close things out. Cisco immediately gave up a single to Cody Burnham, and then struck out Nick Smutko. After a wild pitch moved Burnham to second base, Cisco walked Juan Ganzaroli, putting runners on first and second with one out. Tyler McNamara followed with a single to plate the game tying run, and when the throw home was late, the runners advanced to second and third. The winning run was sitting at third base with one out, and most thought the comeback was about complete. Vic Dudka was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up the possible double play, and then Spotswood second baseman Kevin Surace grabbed a screaming line drive and turned it into an inning ending double play, sending the game to the ninth inning tied 3-3.
Greg Sampson came on to pitch the ninth in relief of Cody Burnham for East Brunswick, and gave up a walk and a single to put runners on first and third, and then the game's hero, Dalrymple, came up again, and promptly doubled in both runners to make the score 5-3 in favor of the Chargers. Jeremy Corrente then singled in Dalrymple to make the score 6-3, and the Chargers went on to finish the upset off from there, with Cisco coming back out and finishing the game in the bottom of the ninth.
For the Chargers, the upset victory sets up a date in the semifinals on Saturday May 17th against St. Joseph's of Metuchen, who defeated Sayreville 8-3.
The other semifinal matchup pits South Plainfield against Old Bridge. Both of those games were wild affairs, with South Plainfield defeating South Brunswick 12-11, while Old Bridge defeated Edison 10-9.
Due to the forecasted poor weather in the area, check back with The Alternative Press for time and location closer to game time.