CHATHAM, NJ - After ending its last home game scoreless and struggling at bat against Montville last week, the Chatham baseball team came back strong with a landslide 11-1 victory over Orange in the opening round of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 state tournament on Tuesday at Chatham High.
Top-seeded Chatham (16-6) scored its 11th run against Orange in the bottom of the sixth inning, putting the Cougars up by the 10 runs necessary to secure a premature 10-run mercy victory.
Junior pitcher Matt Karpowic played a critical role in keeping Orange in check for five innings to earn the win. Karpowic allowed three hits and one unearned run. Jimmy Cunningham followed with one inning, of relief, allowing one hit.
"We were a little nervous all the way around," Chatham coach Todd Leathers said. "Matt (Karpowic) did a good job of coming in and battling. He didn't have his best stuff today. They hit some balls hard early on and it was a 4-1 game going into the fifth inning. We did a good job of executing what we do and we ended up winning by 10."
Senior Cunningham was one of Chatham’s strongest offensive players in the game. The shortstop had four hits - three singles and a double - drove in three runs and scored one.
“We’ve been working hard all season for this,” said Cunningham. “We said there’s three seasons: conference, counties, and states, and this one is the most important so it’s good we’re playing well now.”
Also producing at the plate for Chatham were Chris Delsandro, who ended with a single, a double, two RBI and a run scored; Matt Devlin, who scored ona and drove in one; Clay Delsandro, who singled, scored twice and had three RBI; Jack Lamar, who had a single, an RBI and two runs scored; Ben Gorski, who had an RBI and a run scored; Sam Browning, who scored two runs, and Andrew Bergman, who singled and scored.
Jimmy Cunningham singles for one of his four hits for Chatham vs. Orange
Matt Devlin drives in a run for Chatham vs. Orange
Chatham advances to the section quarterfinals set for 4 p.m. Wednesday at home against eighth seeded Summit.(13-10), which won its first-round game, 1-0 in eight innings over Hopewell Valley.
“Another 10-run rule would be nice, but our goal for next round is just to win,” Cunningham said. “Survive and advance through states.”