BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ—The Governor Livingston baseball team closed out the 2017 regular season with a convincing 10-0 victory over Wallkill Valley on Saturday night at Snyder Ave Field in Berkeley Heights. Gov. Livingston’s 22nd win of the season capped off a night of celebration as the Highlander baseball community honored the senior varsity players and their parents prior to the start of the game.
The festive and exciting evening of baseball began prior to the game when players from the Berkeley Heights PAL and Mountainside Youth Baseball took the field with the Highlander team for warm ups. Cafe Gallo of Edison was on hand with their food truck serving Italian delicacies and ices to the delight of the large crowd.
The senior players, Daniel Baroff, John Colendenski, Vin Doren, Sean Savage, Nick Cocchia, Cole Schneider, Tom Barbera, Jace Tweeten, and Conor Fletcher, and managers, Megan Cranston, Lara Romano, and Katie Pedini, along with their parents, were recognized for their dedication to GL baseball, while the future Highlanders from Berkeley Heights and Mountainside lined the field and cheered them on.
Pitchers Cocchia, Doren, and Hulburt combined on the six inning four hit shutout with Cocchia fanning 6 strike outs in 3 innings of work for his 7th win of the year. The Gov. Livingston team asserted its characteristically dominant defense behind Cocchia in the first inning, allowing no runs while keeping their momentum alive.
Senior catcher Baroff was quick to praise Cocchia, Doren, and Hulburt in their performances on Snyder Ave.
“Nick Cocchia pitched three strong innings and Vin Doren and Liam Hulburt came in relief giving up no runs, so our pitching was definitely a positive,” Baroff said.
Baroff put the first Highlander points on the board with a double in the first inning, sending Stephen Reid home. Junior Will Jennings took his opportunity in the second inning, as he cracked a deep hit into the outfield, allowing Cocchia to find his way to home plate. Danny Serretti (1-3, 3 RBI) provided the big hit of the night in the fourth inning when he cleared the bases with a booming double to increase the Highlander lead once again.
“We also had a good offensive showing as we put up 10 runs during the game,” Baroff added, “Overall, it was a good team effort and it was nice to see some of the seniors get into the game and get some at bats.”
By the end of the sixth inning, the Gov. Livingston squad saw a win in sight as Reid’s slap to the outfield allowed for another two runs, putting the Highlanders up 8-0. The final kill came with junior Hulburt, who sent in the two-run dagger, handing the seniors their 22nd win of the season.
The talented group of seniors have seen immense success on the field throughout their four years as Highlanders, including a state championship (2015) as well as the program’s first-ever county title (2016).
“Throughout the past four years, the program has definitely been getting stronger and more recognized throughout the state,” Baroff said, “knowing that I am playing for a public school that has won three state championships and one county championship as well as being in the top 20 multiple times is an amazing feeling.”
With the win against Wallkill Valley, the Highlanders concluded an extremely impressive and successful regular season with a record of 22-3. Their efforts are not over, however, as they head into the post-season, hoping to make a run that ultimately concludes in the program’s 4th state championship.
“For the rest of the season, I am looking forward to winning a state championship and that has been the ultimate goal since the beginning of the year,” Baroff said, “When my class leaves, GL baseball will continue to have many successful seasons under Coach Roof.”
Up next, Gov. Livingston will face Holmdel for the NJSIAA first round of the Sectional Playoffs at 4 p.m. at Kean University, 1000 Morris Ave. in Union.