BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Recent Gov. Livingston grad Sam Bass pitched 3.1 scoreless innings in relief, and picked up the win in BH/Mountainside White Sox come from behind 8-5 victory over the OP Rams Tuesday night in Berkeley Heights.
After OP (Oratory Prep) had taken a 5-4 lead in the 4th inning, Bass (3.1, 0 H, 0 R, 8K) came in with the Rams threatening to break open the game. The right-hander who will be pitching for Thomas Jefferson University next year, struck out the next batter to end that threat. Bass would then completely dominate the OP lineup over the next three innings, striking out seven more Rams without yielding a hit.
The BH/ Mountainside offense was paced by Sean McCulloch (2-5,2B,RBI), who had a pair of hits including a deep opposite field run scoring double in the 5th inning rally which gave the home the lead.
Local high school baseball came roaring back at Snyder Park in Berkeley Heights on Tuesday when pool play in the “Last Dance” World Series presented by RWJB Barnabas Health got underway with three games. On a beautiful day for baseball, Westfield took the days opener with a convincing win to advance against arch rival Scotch Plains-Fanwood this afternoon. The Summit Sugars Bears then came away with a dramatic 3-2 win over the New Providence PAL to move on before the night cap between BH/Mountainside OP matchup.
Lefty Briant Bazydlo (2.1 IP, 1ER, 7K) took the mound for BH/Mountainside before a large crowd that lined the fences at Snyder Park. Before Bazydlo threw the games first pitch, former New York Met Cy Young award winner Dwight “Doc” Gooden, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to kick off the tournament. After addressing the players, a gracious Gooden spent time engaging with the fans taking pictures and signing autographs.
Bazydlo was touched up for single runs in the first two innings but looked good striking out seven hitters before he got into a bit of trouble with his control in the third inning. BH/ Mountainside had taken a 3-2 lead against OP starter Jack Greco(4 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 4K) who had surrendered the OP lead when he also struggled with his location. Greco gave up three second inning runs despite yielding just one hit.
Righty Jack Pires (1.1 IP, 2ER, 3 H,1K) came in for Bazydlo and closed out the 3rd, but OP plated a pair to wrestle back a 4-3 lead. BH/ Mountainside managed to tie the game at four on a Michael Labisi (1-3, 3 RBI) base hit.
Once again, OP jumped in front when with the bases loaded a double scored a pair of runs. It would have been a bases clearing double but a heads up pitcher Pires who was backing up the catcher on the hit, took an over throw from the cutoff to the catcher and tagged out the OP runner as he tried to cross the plate. The double knocked Pires out of the game as he gave way to Bass.
With a loud OP bench and raucous student contingent riding Bass hard from behind the dugout, the big righty promptly silenced the visiting crowd when fanned the next hitter to end the inning.
Losing pitcher Greco was the victim of some poor defense in the bottom of the 5th as BH/Mountainside came back with a pair to take the lead for good. McCulloch then delivered the crushing blow when he ripped an opposite field RBI double over the left fielders head.
The win sends BH/ Mountainside into a clash with the Summit Sugar Bears in the final of the Berkeley Heights Regional Wednesday night. The winner of this game will face the winner of the Western Union County Regional on Thursday in Berkeley Heights. That winner will advance to bracket play in the 222 team tournament next week at a site to be determined.
Look for 2020 Gov. Livingston graduate Ryan Devanney to take the mound for the BH/ Mountainside White Sox tonight against Summit. First pitch slated for 7 p.m. at Snyder Park.