BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Gov. Livingston baseball team routed Madison 14-1 to claim the championship of the Highlander Classic for the 5th consecutive time Saturday afternoon in Berkeley Heights.
Junior Drew Compton led a Gov. Livingston hit parade blasting two home runs and a double which accounted for a career high 8 RBI as the Highlanders pounded out a season high 14 runs in the five inning game. Starter Ryan Monroy notched his second win of the season as Gov. Livingston raised its season mark to 4-2-1.
Compton’s big game capped off a monster week at the plate for the Georgia Tech commit. In the Highlanders four games this past week, Compton hit at a blistering .642 clip (9-14) with five extra base hits and 11 RBI.
Lefty Monroy, who was the starter and winner in the opening round of the Highlander Classic against Kinnelon, got the call again in the final against Madison. Madison came into the game with a 5-2 record, having won their opening round Highlander Classic game against New Providence in dramatic fashion, scoring four 7th inning runs for a 6-5 win.
The visitors from Morris County got things going as leadoff man Steve Coppola doubled to left and came around to score when Paul Links lined a single to right, giving the Dodgers a short lived 1-0 lead. Monroy closed out the inning with a lay fly ball out.
Madison Coach Frank Dasti called on junior Michael Maybaum who started six games for him last season as a sophomore to try to slow down the explosive Highlander offense. Maybaum got off to shaky start giving up a leadoff walk and a run scoring double to Compton but came back strong with a strikeout and a pop up and looked like he would get out of the inning with no further damage. However, another red hot batter, Will Jennings (2-3,2 RBI) grounded a ball up the middle scoring Compton for a 2-1 Highlander lead.
The Dodgers threatened again as they opened the second with back to back singles, but Monroy got a big strikeout and a fly out with runners on second and third to snuff out the rally.
DJ Gonnelli (3-3, 2 2b) opened the home half of the inning with the first of his three hits, and Ryan Davey followed with a perfect bunt for a hit. Coach Chris Roof then played some small ball as he called on Sam Pile to move the runners over. Pile executed a perfect sacrifice bunt putting Gonnelli and Davey into scoring position. Maybaum again walked leadoff man Danny Serretti (1-1, 4 R), bringing up Compton with the bases full. Compton again took a 1-0 pitch the opposite way as he lifted a high drive over the left centerfield fence for a Grand Slam. Maybaum managed to close out the inning with a double play ball but the Highlanders now held a commanding 6-1 lead.
Unfortunately for Maybaum, things got worse very quickly as the Dodger defense committed back to back infield errors. After getting two quick outs, Maybaum gave up a long double to Gonnelli. The middle of the infield then misplayed, what would have been inning ending ground balls, which meant Maybaum was going to have to face Compton again with runners on. Lefty Compton jumped on a first pitch fastball and lined it over the right field fence, this time for a 3 run homer.
With Monroy settled in and Gov. Livingston holding a very comfortable 11-1 lead, it looked like this game was headed for a shortened five inning mercy rule affair. The Highlanders put up three more runs the next inning with Sean Quinn delivering a sac fly and Ty McCulloch (2-4) and Jennings delivering two out run scoring singles.
Highlander Coach Chris Roof, who was able to get some bench players some at bats in the previous innings, also made a change on the mound to open the fifth. Sophomore Ryan Devanney took over for Monroy and in his first career varsity inning outing faced four batters to close out the five inning victory.
Gov. Livingston will be back in action on Tuesday when they face Union Catholic at home. On Wednesday, they will be looking for a big signature win, when they head to Morristown to take on Delbarton, the states No. 1 ranked team. Gov. Livingston will close out the week in Middlesex County when they will participate in the 11th Annual Autism Awareness Baseball Challenge with games against South Brunswick and Edison on Friday at 4:15 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.