LIVINGSTON, NJ — Following two high-scoring defeats early in the week to Nutley and Millburn, the Livingston High School baseball team made an impressive comeback against a strong Mount Olive team on Thursday, defeating the section rival 2-1.
“Not only was it important for us to win this game, but it was really important for us to get back to playing good, solid baseball again,” said head coach Mickey Ennis. “We had just finished a week where we had played the best baseball of the year, and then the first two games this week, all of a sudden we did not play very good baseball and the result was two high-scoring losses.”
Since the 2017 varsity team is built on strong pitching and overall defense, Ennis said the two defeats—12-8 to Nutley and 12-7 to Millburn—were not “what the team is about.”
Mount Olive came into this game with a strong 15-4 overall record and is favored to be the No. 2 seed in the state section.
“Playing good baseball and beating a team of that caliber was really important for our guys,” said Ennis.
Livingston junior Tom Kelly pitched six strong innings for the Lancers against a team that is known to have a strong offense.
“Tommy Kelly has really produced on the mound for us his last couple of outings, and that really will be a big boost for our pitching staff,” said Ennis. “So that was big for us.”
With bases loaded and no outs in the first inning, Kelly turned the game around by getting a pop up into the in-field and a fly ball to right field, which Ryan Cardona caught and fired home to get the runner out.
“We were able to escape that inning without giving up any runs and I think that was really important for us to kind of get back on track,” said Ennis. “It pointed us in the right direction for that win and hopefully for the GNT and throughout the rest of the year.”
The Lancers were seeded at No. 3 for the Greater Newark Tournament (GNT), which is scheduled to begin on Saturday against Montclair Kimberley Academy (MKA), but could be postponed due to rain in the forecast.
Livingston is currently expected to be seeded somewhere between No. 10 and No. 12 for the state tournament based on the team’s first 15 games, but the Lancers’ priority is to concentrate on the GNT.
Ennis said he is proud of the victory over Mount Olive but hopes the two losses encourage the team to “focus on the smaller things” and improve upon them in the upcoming tournament.