MADISON, N.J. - Mike Wallace can only recall a four-run inning to lead off the game for the Madison baseball team this past season.
On Tuesday he was very happy as the team's starting pitcher for the biggest first inning that Dodgers team put together.
After leadoff hitter Dilan Kluge struck out in the bottom of the first inning, Madison would have the next eight batters get on base and in turn the Dodgers collected a 7-0 lead over Lyndhurt.
The big hit came off the bat of shortstop John Costa who cleared the bases with a double in the first inning. Costa was 1-for-2 for the game and also walked. Despite the strike-out Kluge would rebound to go 2-for-3, scored a run and added a RBI.
And the top-seeded Dodgers never looked back as they shutout fifth-seeded Lyndhurst, 11-0, in the Group 2 North 2 state semi-finals in Madison. Madison raised its record to 20-7.
For the Dodgers they were patient at the plate and took advantage of a few Golden Bears miscues.
On the mound Wallace allowed only four hits while strikeout three and walking only one. "No game is out of reach and you have to think that it was 0-0," said Wallace about having a seven-run cushion when he got back on the mound in the top of the second inning. "I was working my two-seam fastball and got a lot of ground balls."
He added that the school scouts said to pitch inside against Lyndhurst.
With the victory Madison will take on sixth-seeded Bernards on Friday at Madison. Bernards upset second-seeded Rutherford, 3-1, on Tuesday. The winner on Friday will head to the Group 2 semi-finals with a berth on the line to head to Toms River the following weekend for the Group 2 title.
Wallace and the rest of the seniors are looking forward to Friday. "The six or seven seniors have been playing together since we were eight or nine years old and if we win it (state sectional title) there would be no other feeling like it," said Wallace.
And the same thing could be said by another senior, Connor Higgins, who will get the nod on the mound for the Dodgers. "We won the state championship in football and it would be phenomenal to win it in baseball in our last season," said Higgins who added about Friday.
"I'm going to have to bring my A game and play good defense."
The key at the plate was to have the pitches come to them. "I think we were all patient at the play and looking for our pitches," said Wallace. "And when got the pitches down the middle of the plate, we crushed it."
For Madison it was just an achievement to win in the semi-final round after losing to Hackettstown last season in the semi-finals.
Higgins was 1-for-2 in the game, but was on base three times including twice in the first inning with a walk and being hit by a pitch.