MILLBURN, NJ — Matt Hollender drove in all the runs and Steven Echavarria made them stand up as the Millburn baseball team defeated Ferris of Jersey City, 3-2, in the Section 2, Group 3 semifinal Tuesday afternoon.
Millburn beat Ferris and the impending thunderstorms by starting the game early, at 1:00, but now must wait until Wednesday to find out its opponent in the sectional championship game. The other semifinal between Somerville and Cranford was postponed until Wednesday.
Hollender hit a two-run home run in the first inning, then unloaded a long RBI double to left-center in the third inning for the Millers, who led, 3-0, going to the fourth inning. Ferris scored both its runs in the top of the fourth, then threatened to tie the game in the top of the seventh.
With one out and a man on first base, the next Ferris batter hit a groundball that the Millburn infielder threw wide to first base. The Ferris batter was safe on the play, but the Ferris runner attempted to continue on to third base. Millburn first baseman Matt Weiner threw across the diamond and third baseman Jake Zirlin applied the tag for the second out.
Echavarria, a sophomore right-hander who finished with a three-hitter, struck out the last batter on a high fastball, stranding the potential tying run at second base. He struck out six batters, walked one and did not allow any earned runs. Echavarria also had two hits in three at-bats.
Weiner went 2-for-2 and Hollender was 2-for-3.