MADISON, NJ - Unlike most of this week, the weather was perfect for Community Night at Dodge Field for the Madison Dodgers baseball team and their fans.
In an attempt to build increased interest in the sport and the program, Madison High School and the baseball community has slated one Saturday night to play at Dodge Field, right off Main Street.
And while there might be a few dozen friends, parents and students at a typical 4 p.m. Madison game, there were a few hundred friends, parents and students at Saturday's game under the lights.
"It was a great feeling to play in front of everybody," said Madison pitcher Michael Wallace. "We want to put Madison on the baseball map."
For both seniors, Wallace and third baseman Connor Higgins, they want to make the 2012 the biggest season in Madison baseball history.
And both Dodgers pitcher Wallace and third baseman Connor Higgins made sure that it would end on a successful note as the senior pair propelled Madison to a 4-2 victory over Livingston sending the local faithful home happy.
And winning on Community Night was a great night to display the team's talents to the hundreds of Madison residents.
Also included in the crowd were members of the Drew University baseball team that received a bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.
Wallace would outduel Livingston pitcher Luke Rodino who was taken out in the sixth inning after he reached a pitch count.
Higgins went 2-for-4 on the night including a two RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 4-2 lead. The triple turned out to be the game-winning hit as Madison raised its record to 16-4. Livingston dropped to 10-8 on the season.
"It was a slider," said Higgins who poked the pitch between centerfield and right field off of Livingston relief pitcher Justin Tepper.
In the top of the seventh inning Wallace would shutdown Livingston. The senior right hander scattered eight hits while allowing the two runs in the fourth inning.
As for Wallace, he was determined to go the distance. "At first my fastball was working and then I used my curveball," he said. "I was getting tired as the game went along so I was using my two-seam fastball."
The independent battle was also a preamble to what is hoped that the team would wrap up a Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference title on Monday against Dover.
In addition they are looking to grab a trip to Toms River for the Group 2 state title game in June.
Livingston head coach Scott Schroeder said he was not going to pitch Rodino the whole way. "He threw too many pitches," said Schroeder. "He's only a junior so we are looking ahead."
One of the few bad pitches that Wallace threw was to Lancers third baseman Jake Dock who parked a Wallace pitch over the left field fence in the top of the fourth inning. "It was a hanging curve ball," said Wallace after the game and Schroeder added. "Jake has been tearing the cover off the ball."
But it was the key hits from Madison that help boost their record in the end on Community Night.