CRANFORD, NJ — The Cranford baseball program will look to add another trophy to its display case.
On Wednesday, Will Gallagher tossed six innings and allowed just two runs on eight hits to lead second-seeded Cranford past third-seeded Somerville, 7-2, in the semifinal round of the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 tournament. With the win, Cranford advances to take on top-seeded Millburn in the Sectional Final this Friday.
Whether Cranford or Millburn wins on Friday, it will be a bittersweet time in the Chapman household. Millburn head coach Brian Chapman will be leading his team from one dugout while his two sons, Jake, a senior and Matt, a sophomore, are in the opposing dugout.
"It's funny," said Jake on the upcoming matchup. "It's not the first time I've played against (my father), but it's the first time me and Matt will be going up against him together. There's going to be a lot of jokes at the dinner table."
The sectional championship game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Friday at Millburn.
In typical Cranford fashion, the Cougars strung together hits (6), stole bases (4), laid down bunts (1), and drew walks (6 walks, 3 hit-by-pitches) to manufacture runs, including three in the first inning. Lucca Limeira went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Ryan Jaros ripped a ground-rule double to right field and was intentionally walked twice. Shane Van Dam muscled a solo home run to left in the bottom of the sixth.
"It's what we've been doing since the Last Dance Tournament," said senior Marcus Johnson. "It's Cranford baseball. Every one fights. Every one grinds at bats."
Following Gallagher's six innings of work, Joe Carrea pitched a 1-2-3 seventh.