Errors, Missed Scoring Chances Cost Johnson Crusaders Varsity Baseball in Loss to Union HS

Arthur L. Johnson High School sophomore starting pitcher Nick McCaffery getting set to pitch the ball during Thursday's game. Johnson lost to Union by a final score of 8-4. Credits: Daniel Collins
Union High School freshman starter Andrew Sanborn delivers on the mound during his team;s 8-4 win over the Johnson Crusaders on Thursday, April 13, 2017. Credits: Daniel Collins
Union High School senior Quincy Bryant taking a lead at second base. His two-run double powered the Farmers earlier on, en route to their 8-4 road win Thursday afternoon in Clark. Credits: Daniel Collins
Arthur L. Johnson High School junior Kevin Metz had an RBI double in the Crusaders' rally in the bottom of the third inning, but came up short in the end. Credits: Daniel Collins
Union High School sophomore Zach Fernandez recorded an RBI single to help his team to an 8-4 win, improving the Farmers' record to 3-1 on the 2017 season. Credits: Daniel Collins
Union High School freshman and starting pitcher Andrew Sanborn at the plate during their road game at the Arthur L. Johnson High School Crusaders. Credits: Daniel Collins

CLARK, NJ -  Errors and missed opportunities plagued the Arthur L. Johnson High School Crusaders varsity baseball team Thursday afternoon, ultimately leading to an 8-4 loss against the Union High School Farmers.

The trouble began early in the game after Union junior Richard Jones walked and then advanced to second following a hit-by-pitch. He took off for third base for the steal, but the throw from Johnson senior catcher Vin Crisafi went over the head of Crusaders junior third baseman Kevin Metz. Jones scored, putting Union on top 1-0 at the outset.

Later in the inning, Union sophomore Zach Fernandez drove in senior Nestor Conforti with an RBI single, to give the Farmers a 2-0 lead.

Sign Up for E-News

Union senior Quincy Bryant cashed in with runners on second and third base in the top of the second inning with a long hit for a two-run double and would come in to score on another throwing error by Crisafi, as the lead became 5-0 Union over Johnson.

“Just staying in the game, everybody kept their heads up,” Bryant said of the Farmers’ efforts. “Everybody played hard and made the plays, getting key hits and pitching strikes and just grinding through everything.”

ALJ freshman Max Carmino drove in junior Zach Thornton to put the Crusaders on the board in the bottom of the second. They closed the inning down 5-1.

Union responded by putting up another run in the top of the third inning, as freshman Dren Gocaj drove in senior Marco Vitale.

“We just had good hits and were getting on base,” Gocaj said.

The Johnson Crusaders would get back in the game in the bottom of the third inning, as Thornton connected for an RBI single, scoring junior Joe Turek to cut the Farmers’ lead to 6-2. Metz would get in the mix, connecting for a long hit, scoring Johnson pinch-runner sophomore Brett DeCosta to make it a 6-3 game.

Freshman Max Carmino drove in a run on a ground-out to make the score 6-4 before the inning came to an end.

Despite the Johnson rally, Union kept their focus.

“We just kept grinding, kept battling and we came out of here with a victory,” Union head coach Angel Navarrete said.

The Crusaders’ next major scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the fifth inning. After the Farmers recorded the first two outs of the inning, Thornton would get on base with a single. Metz would walk, putting the tying run on base for the Crusaders. However, they weren’t able to drive home any runs, as Carmino grounded out to end the inning.

On the mound, Union freshman Andrew Sanborn pitched into the bottom of the fifth inning, allowing two earned runs (four runs) as the bullpen took care of the second portion of the game.

The score remained 6-4 with Union out in front as the game moved into the top of the seventh inning, where the Farmers looked to cash in on insurance runs.

Following back-to-back walks to open the inning, a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third base with one out.

Gocaj cashed in on a run-scoring single, giving his team a 7-4 lead.

With two out, the Crusaders were within reach of an inning-ending strikeout.  However, the ball got away from Crisafi on the third strike and went out of play, allowing another Union run to score.  With an 8-4 lead, Union cruised the bottom half of the inning to a win.

In total, the Crusaders left seven runners on base, giving up key chances to score in the third and fifth innings.  Of the team’s three errors, two led to runs scored on wild throws.  

Johnson sophomore pitcher Nick McCaffery struggled early on, allowing six runs. He was relieved in the third inning by senior Mike Sot.

“I just think of how we approached the game today,” Johnson head coach Dave Kennedy said. “We need to do a better job of approaching each and every game. We’ll be better, we’ll be alright. Until something changes on that end, it’s going to be tough, but we’ll grind it out.”

The Johnson Crusaders (1-4) will try to rebound from their loss when they take on Iselin Kennedy HS (Edison) on Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m.

The Union Farmers (3-1) return home to take on Madison HS Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m.

---------------  is Clark’s official electronic news source and the only free daily paper. 

Reach our local readers, advertise your business here, email

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Thu, June 21, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Mid-Week Worship & Service

Thu, June 28, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Mid-Week Worship & Service


Thu, June 28, 7:00 PM

Scotch Plains

Learn about Fluorescent Minerals at the Scotch ...

Reminder: Free Electronics Recycling for Union County Residents, June 30

June 14, 2018

Union County is offering a free electronics recycling event on Saturday, June 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools campus, 1776 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains.

Any Union County resident may bring unwanted televisions, computers, printers, and other electronic equipment to this e-cycling site. There is a limit of six items per ...

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: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...


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