MILBURN, NJ - All day Saturday, Gero Park was buzzing over a dramatic Level Five baseball game between the Wildcats and Badgers. The Wildcats staged a heart-stopping, final inning comeback and ended it on a walk-off single by Gus Grove, which gave the Wildcats the 10-9 victory.
The Wildcats started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, when Grove slammed a double to deep left-center field, scoring two runs. But the Badgers quickly answered with four runs in the top of the second as Cassidy Berger, Mack Rodriguez, Jonah Grossman, and Jax Thomases drove in one run apiece.
The Badgers would add two more in the top of the third to go up 6-2. Both offenses would continue to put runs on the board, highlighted by deep shots hit by the Wildcats’ Aadi Bhandari and the Badgers’ Logan Saperstein.
By the 5th inning, the Badgers had a comfortable 9-4 lead. But Saperstein, who had pitched a very solid four innings, had to come out of the game because of pitch count limits. The Wildcats soon fought back, cutting the deficit to just two runs.
At that point, the Badgers brought in hard-throwing right-hander Jonah Grossman, but the Wildcats were able to tie it up with some timely hitting from Christian Zhou-Zheng and Sam Scheck, who went 3-for-3 on the day.
Then, with two outs and runners on first and third, Gus Grove stepped to the plate. Grossman quickly got ahead of Grove, with an 0-2 count. Then, Gus hit a hard shot to third, just beating the throw to first for a game-winning single. Hunter Emrich, who contributed two hits and an RBI on the day, scored the winning run.
From start to finish, both teams showed tremendous effort. The Wildcats combined for 10 hits (a team high) and had great pitching from Eli Balady, Sam Scheck, Hunter Emrich, Selena Yu and Ryan Hoh.
The Badgers defense was amazing and didn’t commit a single error. Pitchers Logan Saperstein, Mack Rodriguez and Jonah Grossman threw well all day and kept the game close.
The ballgame was a great example of local kids playing hard and showing tremendous sportsmanship.