CALDWELL, NJ — Millburn scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and break a tie and went on to a 9-6 baseball victory over Caldwell in the final day of pool play in the statewide Last Dance Tournament Thursday at The Oval.
Jake Delidow singled in the tiebreaking run for a 7-6 lead, then Ben Chrzanowski’s two-run triple to deep center extended the Millers’ lead to 9-6. Caldwell had escaped a bases-loaded jam when Chrzanowski was called out on strikes in the fifth on a borderline call.
Millburn will advance to the North Jersey round of 16 at a site to be determined. The game against Voorhees of Hunterdon County will be played next Tuesday.
Caldwell hit the ball hard throughout the three days of pool play, with leadoff batter George Petrillo, No. 2 batter Nick Bergamotto, Gil Prial, Matt Sarrel and Owen Ayers sparking the Chiefs’ lineup.
“They’re a good team with a really nice young core about to make a run for it over the next couple of years,” Millburn coach Brian Chapman said of Caldwell. “They're dynamic at the top of the order. They were gonna get at least one run every time through the top of that order. They are really tough outs, and they defend well, too.”
Millburn led, 5-2, after two innings, but Caldwell kept coming back. Chapman credited the strong long relief of Class of 2021 Millburn relief pitcher Daniel Cifu, who pjtched last four innings, with giving the Millers the chance to win the game.
“He finished the game after getting cleated at plate covering home on a wild pitch in the seventh,” Chapman said of Cifu. “He was spiked in the knee, got taped up and got the last out. It was like Curt Schilling. We’re already calling it ‘the bloody knee game’.”
Caldwell coach Ryan Miller was upbeat despite the loss, saying, “It was a ton of fun and the atmosphere was great--similar to a GNT (Greater Newark Tournament) type game.”