BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Governor Livingston Highlanders’ baseball team improved to 5-0 after a 4-1 victory over the division rival Westfield Blue Devils on Thursday.
Governor Livingston pitcher Ethan Frohman put forth another stellar performance on the mound as the senior ace improved to 2-0 on the season. Frohman lasted nearly the entire game in pitching six innings while striking out 10 batters and surrendering just one earned run.
Governor Livingston was led on offense by John Tedesco (home run, 2 RBIs), Mike Falk (1 RBI, 2 runs scored), and Ryan Zucker (1 RBI).
Governor Livingston head coach Chris Roof was very pleased with his team’s performance on Thursday after a less-than-stellar outing on Monday. “This was a big win and I’m very happy with how good we played,” Roof said. “The kids pitched well, played good timely D and had timely hitting.”
As for that timely hitting, the Highlanders scored runs at the most opportune times. With the game still scoreless at the bottom of the fourth, Falk’s RBI single scored Ian Lynch for the game’s first run. Zucker’s sacrifice fly later in the inning scored Falk to give the Highlanders a much-needed 2-0 cushion.
The Blue Devils responded with a run of their own in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to one. The Blue Devils’ fifth inning run would be their only of the game and stifling Highlanders’ defense deserves much credit for that. The Highlanders continued their run of strong pitching and defense to open the season in allowing none of their opponents to score more than three runs. The streak is more impressive considering who the Highlanders have played. Three of Governor Livingston’s opponents (Union, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, and Westfield) were all considered to be among the county’s stronger offensive squads but failed to showed it thanks GL’s defense.
Frohman has played a key role in two of those outings as the Lehigh-bound senior has shown why he’s a top division one collegiate prospect. Frohman has allowed just 6 hits this season and struck out an impressive 24 batters.
“Ethan’s done a very good job this season,” Roof said. “He had another dominant performance today. He labored a bit in the fifth and sixth innings but was able to get himself out of those situations.”
Frohman teamed with Lynch for perhaps Governor Livingston’s best defensive play this season. At the top of the sixth and clinging to a 2-1 lead, Westfield had one man on third base in position to score the game’s tying run. Well aware of the Blue Devils’ penchant for “squeeze plays” (bunting in order to score a runner from third base), Lynch alerted Frohman to throw a high fast ball. Frohman adhered and Lynch’s advice worked to perfection. The Westfield player attempted to bunt the ball but couldn’t. The failed bunt led to the player being tagged out at third for the inning’s second out. Frohman struck out the very next batter to end the inning.
“That was a heck of a play by Lynch and Frohman,” Roof said. “We knew coming in that Westfield likes those kinds of plays and we did a very good job taking care of those sacrifice bunts.”
The awareness of Lynch in that particular moment signified an overall focused game from the Highlanders who displayed the type of attitude Roof was looking for. “The guys came in with a great attitude today,” Roof said. “It was night and day from Monday. And the fact that we showed a great attitude against a quality conference opponent made it even better.”
Fedesco’s long two-run homer at the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead to 4-1 all but sealed the deal for Governor Livingston.
The Highlanders will now turn their attention to a huge showdown with rival New Providence on Saturday in the Highlander Classic Championship Game. Roof expects his team to come out with an even better attitude and focus on Saturday as his team looks to improve to 6-0.
“We’ll be ready no doubt on Saturday,” Roof said. “If we aren’t ready, we don’t deserve to win.”