BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Behind a season-high 12 hits, the Governor Livingston Highlanders baseball team defeated the Dayton Bulldogs, 12-7. The Highlanders, who earlier this week cracked the Star-Ledger Top 20 for the first time this season, improved to 8-0 with the win.
Governor Livingston built a 10-0 lead after 3 innings and never looked back. The Highlanders’ offensive outburst was sparked by the likes of Matt Bruno (1 home run, 1 run scored) and Dan Serretti (1 run scored, 1 hit). Bruno and Serretti have not had many chances at the plate this season. With a combined 4 RBIs between them, Bruno and Serretti capitalized on their opportunity.
“It was nice to see Matt Bruno hit that 2-run homer that extended the lead to 12-4 going into the 7th inning,” Roof said. “Dan Serretti, who’s an underclassman, also did some good things for us today.”
In addition to the contributions of Bruno and Serretti, Governor Livingston received solid offensive performances from its usual suspects: Josh Katz (2-2 at the plate with 1 RBI); Mike Falk (2-3 at the plate with 2 RBIs); and Ryan Zucker (2-2 at the plate with 1 RBI).
Roof couldn’t have been more pleased at one of his team’s better overall performances in this young season. “There’s always room for improvement but I’m happy with how the guys played today,” Roof said. “We had good at-bats and put pressure on Dayton from the start. We made their pitchers work today.”
Speaking of pitching, it was yet “another day in the park” for Governor Livingston pitcher Ethan Frohman. The senior had 6 strikeouts and 0 walks in just 4 innings of action. The huge lead gave Roof the luxury of pulling Frohman early. Frohman’s dominance on the mound combined with the balanced efforts at the plate gave Roof the rare opportunity to rest his starters and give the underclassmen much-needed reps.
“The lead allowed our starters to come out early today,” Roof said. “The substitutions gave us a chance to evaluate some of our younger pitchers. The rest of the game didn’t go as expected (after pulling the starters) but I’m glad all 22 kids got the chance to play today.”
After the Highlanders built the 10-lead, Dayton scored seven runs over the final four innings with five of those runs coming in the final two innings. Dayton’s comeback would fall short thanks in large part to Bruno’s sixth inning home run that officially put the game out of reach.
Roof and the Highlanders will now prep for another quick turnaround as the team will face Union Catholic on Thursday. It will be Governor Livingston’s third game in four days. The Highlanders have not been affected much by the short breaks between games this season. Their record may be unblemished but Roof knows they can be much better. Perhaps some more practice time on the field will be what pushes the team to the levels Roof knows they can reach.
The Highlanders have not had much of an opportunity to practice outside this year which has been somewhat frustrating for Roof and his staff. “Wednesday’s practice will be just our second day of practice on the field,” Roof said. “We need to get a lot of work done. When you practice inside, which we’ve done much of the year, there’s certain things you can’t emulate. So it’s important for everyone to use Wednesday’s practice as an opportunity to work on all facets of their game.”