CRANFORD - It's been quite a week for Cranford resident and Millburn head baseball coach Brian Chapman.
On Thursday, the 11th-year head coach of the Millers reached his 200th career victory with a 3-2 decison over West Essex.
That came 24 hours after his son, sophomore Matt Chapman, picked up his second varsity victory in less than a week pitching for Cranford, which is currently the top-ranked team in New Jersey. Senior Zack Chapman also plays for Cranford and is batting close to .300.
Another sophomore, left-hander Drew Oppenheim, picked up his second victory pitching for Millburn in coach Chapman's milestone win. Oppenheim allowed one earned run on seven hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking three for Millbun. Senior Dan Cifu pitched a hitless seventh inning for Millburn to get the save.
West Essex (2-2) almost spoiled the celebration, taking a 3-2 lead in the second inning on RBIs by Joe Visaggio and Mike Girardi. But Millburn (4-2) scored three runs in the bottom of the second on an RBI triple by Jake Zirlin, an RBI triple by Alex Wilson and an RBI double by Copeland Culp.
After that, the game settled into a pitchers' duel between Oppenheim and West Essex starter Tyler Sorrentino, who allowed five hits and no walks and struck out three in five innings before giving way to Stephen Zerance, who pitched a hitless sixth inning for the Knights.
"It's a great win for our program, but it's not about me," Chapman told TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills Thursday night. "I am just one spoke in the wheel. It's a credit to this great community of supportive parents, our incredible youth baseball league, an amazing administration at MHS, great assistant coaches--and above all else, talented and driven young men that love baseball and put their personal agendas aside for the greater good of the program.
"And, yes, Matt's 2-0 record is way more meaningful to me than (my) '200'."
Chapman's 200 career coaching victories includes Group 4 state championships in 2015 and 2017.