HS Baseball: Culkin Leads Aviators in Comeback Win Over North Arlington

Mario Gomez drove in three runs, in the Aviators come-from-behind, 8-6 victory over North Arlington on Friday. Credits: Faith C. Armonaitis

NORTH ARLINGTON, NJ  -- Hasbrouck Heights rebounded from a 6-2 second inning deficit to beat North Arlington, 8-6, in North Jersey Interscholastic Conference baseball action on Friday in North Arlington. Travis Culkin and Mario Gomez each had two and drove in three to lead the Aviators comeback.

North Arlington jumped on starter Marcos Ochoa for six runs in the first two innings, before Ochoa settled down, retiring the last 10 batter he faced.

Down 6-2, the Aviators started chipping away, taking advantage of North Arlington starting pitcher Brandon Barth’s wildness.  After catcher Dylan Grisafe reached first following a third strike that could not be handles, courtesy runner Rocco Minichiello advanced to third on two pitches that could not be handles by the Viking catcher.  Culkin then laid down a bunt, knocking in a run, cutting the lead to 6-3.

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The Aviators scored two more in the fourth, as Ochoa singled, and Matt Baker walked, putting two on with one out.  Another passed ball moved the runners up a base, and enabling Ochoa to score on Gomez’s grounder to first. Grisafe then singled in Baker, and it was now a one-run game, at 6-5, bringing in Nick DeGrace for the Vikings.

Shawn Calhoun singled off DeGrace, but he was able to avoid further trouble, getting Peter Neumann to ground out to third to end the threat.

DeGrace breezed through the fifth, and into the sixth, striking out the first two hitters before a two-out rally did him in, as his control suddenly abandoned him,

After a single by Gomez, Grisafe walked (Minichiello courtesy runner), and Calhoun was hit by a 1-2 pitch to load the bases.  Neumann walked, scoring Gomez, tying the game at 6-6, ending DeGrace’s day on the mound, bringing in reliever Joe Witt.

Culkin lined a singled to center field, scoring Minichiello and Calhoun, with Culkin being thrown out at second to end the inning.

Culkin came on in the sixth for Ochoa, and pitched two innings of scoreless relief for the save and an 8-6 Hasbrouck Heights victory.

The Aviators moved to 3-2 in the NJIC Meadowlands with the win, and play at Dwight Morrow in Englewood Saturday morning in a non-league game.

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