BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Governor Livingston Highlander Pitcher John Schmedel threw four strong innings while striking out four and giving up only two runs on one hit and Mike Cranston, Aaron Smith, Billy Worswick, junior Tyler Martis and Garret Hain each hit a home run. The third seeded Governor Livingston team easily defeated Hillside 26-2, their highest run production of the season, in the first round of the NJSIAA Central, Group 2 Tournament on Monday afternoon at Governor Livingston High School.
To get an idea of how productive the bats were for Governor Livingston, you would have had to be at Monday afternoon’s romping to believe it. The offense put together 18 hits and needed only four innings at bat to do so.
“Today we did exactly what we were supposed to do. It was just one of those games,” Governor Livingston Head Coach Chris Roof said. “These games certainly help our batting averages,” he added.
The top of the lineup for Governor Livingston got all over Hillside pitcher Anthony Burgess in their very first inning at bat. Tyler Martis was first at bat and earned his way on base by taking four balls. Next up was Mike Cranston and he belted a two run homer to deep left field to give his team an early lead.
John Jennings added another run for Governor Livingston in their team’s first at bat to make the score 3-0. He was walked by Burgess and then stole second base to put himself in scoring position. He was able to steal third on a wild pitch and then advanced home when Hillside catcher Ledwin De Lor Angeles misfired a ball in an attempt to catch him stealing third.
Schmedel continued to keep the Hillside offense off balance in the second inning. He got De Lor Angeles to strike out, forced a ground out to first from Oscar Torres and then caught Ben Calogne looking at strike three to end the inning.
“Again, he also did what he was supposed to do today. He threw strikes and was in command the entire time he was out there,” Coach Roof said of his starting pitcher.
The bats remained hot for Governor Livingston in their next turn at bat. Martis hit an infield single toward short to score Ryan Jennings and then Cranston knocked in two more runs when he laced a ball up the middle for a base hit. Joey Graziano hit a 2 RBI double later in the inning followed by Smith’s two run homerun, and the score was 10-0 in Governor Livingston’s favor after two innings of play.
With the game well in hand, Martis reached a milestone that he had yet to accomplish in his nearly three year tenure as a Governor Livingston baseball player when he hit his first homerun of his high school career. Esterin Lantigua was pitching in relief for Hillside when Governor Livingston had two runners on in the bottom of the fourth. Martis came up to bat and took a fastball that cleared the left field fence.
“That’s really good for him. He’s been a special player for us ever since he was on this team,” Coach Roof told The Alternative Press. “I’m really happy for him and I know the rest of the team is too.”
Kevin Sfroza knocked in two more runs on a double to right for Governor Livingston and then Logan Turner hit a grounder to third to score a run. Martis was walked with the bases loaded to force in another run and then Justin Ennis earned an RBI with a single to center. Hain rounded out the scoring for Governor Livingston when he hit a grand slam to deep left.
With the win, Governor Livingston advances to the second round of the Central, Group 2 Tournament. They will play the winner of the sixth seeded Matawan and eleventh seeded Rumson game which takes place tomorrow afternoon. That game will take place this Friday, at 4 p.m. at Governor Livingston High School.