BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Led by two home runs from Ryan Jennings and a stellar relief appearance from Vic Candeloro, the Governor Livingston baseball team upset Scotch Plains/Fanwood, 10-8, on Tuesday at Governor Livingston High School.
The Highlanders had not hit a home run all season before getting four today, including two from Jennings and one from Pat Mahoney and Barron Natelli.
"It wasn't surprising, because we do have some kids that have some pop," Jennings said. "We swung the bat well, we had some good approaches at the plate and they went out for us."
Natelli had the biggest of the bunch. After Rob Dilly scored as a pinch runner to tie the game in the seventh off a triple from Ian Woods, the junior catcher blasted the ball over the left field wall to put the Highlanders ahead by two.
Natellii said it was the best feeling ever when he realized the ball went out of the park.
"I couldn't really find the ball when I first hit it," he said. "I heard everyone screaming, so I guess it went over."
Before taking the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth, the Highlanders never led in the game. In fact, Gov. Livingston trailed 7-0 before scoring seven unanswered runs to tie the game in the fourth.
Christian Zazzali gave the Raiders the lead in the second with a two-run single. After Brad Alleman scored on an error in the third, Matt Marino hit a grand slam to put SPF up 7-0.
Jennings responded with the first of two dingers in the third. Then in the fourth, Mahoney drove in three with a bomb to left center field. Three batters later, Jennings hit his second home run to tie the game at 7-7.
The Raiders retook the lead in the fifth after an obstruction was called on GL's third baseman John Tedesco. An inning and a half later, the Highlanders fought for three runs, capped by Natelli's game-winning bomb to move to 5-2 on the year.
"Down 7-0 against the second best team in Union County, this game speaks volumes for what these kids are made of," Highlander head coach Chris Roof said. "What is exciting to me is that this is a young team. We're still learning to play with each other and grow with each other."
Candeloro earned the win in his first career varsity appearance. The junior right-hander threw 4.0 innings, allowing only one run.
"Coach just gave me a chance," Candeloro said. "I've been waiting for it all year. I just came in and did what I'm capable of doing. I gave my team a chance to stay in the game and we came back and won."
After a day off on Wednesday, the Highlanders will embark on their second straight week with three games in three days. GL will host Cranford, one of the state's best programs on Thursday, before two road games to end the week at Elizabeth and Oratory Prep.
First pitch from the Governor Livingston Varsity Baseball Field is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday.