LIVINGSTON, NJ - Brady McLaughlin pitched a complete game with eight strike outs while giving up only four earned hits for the Livingston Lancers, but gave up a three-run homer in the bottom of the second en route to a 3-2 loss to Nutley High School in the first round of the Greater Newark Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Livingston High School.
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, errors plagued Livingston in the top of the second. Jack Kraft of Nutley led the inning off with an infield hit to short, but Jordan Farber could not make the play to get him out at first.
“We needed to limit the mistakes. (McLaughlin) deserved better out there today,” Livingston Head Coach Scott Schroeder said.
That mistake proved costly for Livingston. McLaughlin walked the next batter he faced, but then got John Llano of Nutley out on a sacrifice bunt. Then, with runners on second and third, Matthew Smith of Nutley came up and took McLaughlin’s fastball to deep left center for a three run shot to put Nutley up 3-0.
Livingston was able to get out of the inning without giving up any more runs, although they did make one more error when catcher Brian Witt overthrew a ball to second base.
A few batters later, Phil Condito of Nutley was thrown out at home as Witt did a solid job of blocking the plate and applying the tag after the throw from McLaughlin. Later in the inning, Witt was able to throw out Nutley’s Luke Kelly who was attempting to steal second base.
The Livingston bats came alive in their turn at bat in the bottom of the second. Brian Drapeau started things off with a monster double to right center. He was then knocked in by Matt Rehm’s single as Livingston drew to within two runs.
John Sorrentino hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Rehm to make the score 2-3. However, Brandon Levy was struck out by Nutley pitcher Mark Gualtieri to end the inning as Livingston left a runner stranded on base for the second time in the game.
Livingston had a chance to tie the ballgame on several occasions. In the bottom of the sixth, Farber led off with a single up the middle. He would find himself on third base a few batters later, however, with two outs, Rehm flew out to centerfield to end the inning.
“We needed to hit the ball better. You got to hit in order to win a ball game,” Livingston Head Coach Scott Schroeder said. “We didn’t do that today,” he continued.
In fact, as a team, Livingston had only five earned hits against Gualtieri on Thursday afternoon.
With the score still 3-2 in Nutley’s favor Livingston had one last chance to come away with at least one run in their last at bat in the bottom of the seventh. Things looked good early when Witt laced a single to right field, but then Nick Grande popped out to third on a bunt try to make the first out.
Next, Sorrentino flew out to centerfield. Levy kept the inning alive for Livingston when he hit a ball back up the middle for a base hit. However, with two outs and two runners on, Connor Kimmel was caught looking at strike three to end the ball game.
With the loss, Livingston now holds a record of 7-7. They are eliminated from the Greater Newark Tournament, but will continue regular season play when they host Montclair High School tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m.