Sports

Baseball: Seventh-Inning Rally Not Enough as Johnson Crusaders Lose to South Plainfield HS in NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 First Round

87ba54015e9621f8c406_ALJ-South_Plainfield__1.JPG
Arthur L. Johnson High School sophomore Pat Grady got the start for the Crusaders on Monday afternoon. Credits: Daniel Collins
536bfec91bc72d6c326d_ALJ-South_Plainfield__2.JPG
Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Mike Casalino says the bond he shared with the fellow senior players from travel baseball through high school is something he will remember, along with memories. Credits: Daniel Collins
282db9f68f4eefa3d263_ALJ-South_Plainfield__3.JPG
Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Joe Turek says growing as a team over the years was memorable. He ignited a bottom-of-the-seventh-inning rally with a bases-loaded RBI single. Credits: Daniel Collins
abaae1be07157698d92d_ALJ-South_Plainfield__4.JPG
Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Kevin Metz recorded a two-run single in the four-run bottom of the seventh inning. Credits: Daniel Collins
3296e546198d6e24dada_ALJ-South_Plainfield__5.JPG
Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Ryan Spallone says his teammates' support through his recovery from shoulder surgery made him want to get back out on the field faster. Credits: Daniel Collins
7372eb2085be3ec4ed07_ALJ-South_Plainfield__6.JPG
South Plainfield High School junior Billy Keane pitched six innings for his team. They advance to play at Governor Livingston HS Thursday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. Credits: Daniel Collins
87ba54015e9621f8c406_ALJ-South_Plainfield__1.JPG

CLARK, NJ-  The Arthur L. Johnson High School Crusaders varsity baseball team found themselves trailing by six runs to the South Plainfield High School Tigers coming into the home half of the seventh inning and attempted a late rally to get back in the game.

The eighth-seeded Crusaders added four quick runs to get closer, but came up short, losing to the ninth-seeded Tigers 7-5 in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 First Round Monday afternoon in Clark.

Sophomore Saul Lopez and seniors Mike Casalino and Zach Thornton recorded singles with no outs to load the bases for the Crusaders. Senior Joe Turek stepped up, looking to keep the rally going. He recorded a single to left field, scoring Lopez to cut the deficit to 7-2 and still going.

Sign Up for E-News

Senior Kevin Metz knocked one into the outfield, scoring two more to make it a 7-4 game with still no outs.

“If you play the game a long time, you always want the opportunity to be a swing away and we were. That’s the really good thing about what happened in the seventh inning,” Johnson head coach Dave Kennedy said. “We still lost, but that’s the really good thing about it.”

Sophomore Steve Harrington kept the rally going with a deep flyball to left field for a sacrifice fly, scoring Turek to cut the deficit down to 7-5.

The Crusaders would not be able to push across any more runs, as South Plainfield rebounded by getting the next two outs to close the door and punch their ticket to the next round of the state tournament.

Pending weather, with the Johnson Crusaders scheduled to host Union Catholic HS Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., the careers of seniors Anthony Caldiero, Mike Casalino, Kevin Metz, Ryan Spallone, Zach Thornton and Joe Turek officially come to a close.

Some of the players reflected upon their careers with the Johnson varsity baseball team.

“The bond started from eight-year-old travel [baseball] to now. It was great to play with all of these guys for so long and share so many great memories with them,” Mike Casalino said.

“The best thing was playing with all my friends since I was a little kid and watching us grow as a team was special,” Joe Turek said.

“I feel like what separates the typical athlete is the family a Johnson athlete makes,” Ryan Spallone said. “My brothers were more than supportive and involved in my recovery and they were there for me every step of the way, which only made me want to get back out there faster.”

Spallone pitched three innings out of the bullpen to keep the score as it was heading to the final inning.

“I loved being out there again this year with them and couldn’t ask for a better way to end my career,” he added.

The Crusaders got two runners on base in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings but couldn’t draw closer as they still trailed by six runs heading into the final innings of action.

Earlier on, South Plainfield broke through with two outs in the top of the second inning. In a double-steal strategy, junior starting pitcher Billy Keane stole home to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Junior Chris Born drove home another run on a single to make it a 2-0 lead.

Another run came in on an error in the top of the third inning to give South Plainfield a 3-0 lead. Turek got Johnson on the board with an RBI double in the bottom of the third inning, cutting the deficit to 3-1.

South Plainfield pushed across three more runs in the top of the fourth inning, when senior Mike Stanczak drove home one with a deep double to make it 5-1. Junior Rob Gonzalez drove home two more runs with a double as the lead became 7-1.

The South Plainfield Tigers (19-9) advance to the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 Quarterfinals. They will travel to play at top-seeded Governor Livingston HS Thursday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.

Their next game is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Perth Amboy HS at 12:00 p.m.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Clark

Upcoming Events

Thu, June 28, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Mid-Week Worship & Service

Carousel_image_5215384026d55e2b196a_flour

Thu, June 28, 7:00 PM

Scotch Plains

Learn about Fluorescent Minerals at the Scotch ...

Vine Ripe Markets Now Serving Italian Ices

June 22, 2018

Vine Ripe Markets is excited to serve Uncle Louie G Italian Ices this summer.  Th In addition to already offering gelato in our bakery section, Vine Ripe Markets located at 430 North Ave E. Westfield, NJ now will be serving Ices. Stop in today and take advantage of our spacious outdoor area with our newly added tables, chairs and umbrellas. Pick from the following flavors and ...

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

Benefits and Potential Pitfalls of 529 College Saving Plans

Do you know the benefits and potential pitfalls of 529 College Saving Plans? Do you know when to use them?  Take a listen to Chris Curran's video below as he gives and overview of them and don't forget to check out his book College Funding Secrets.  

 

 

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 8, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Obituaries

Jun 29, 1927 - Apr 23, 2018
Margaret (Peggy) Kirk Leonard passed away Monday, April 23rd, surrounded by her loved ones. Peggy ...
Read more