ENGLISHTOWN, NJ - The East Brunswick Bears could not come through with timely hitting, resulting in a 5-2 loss to the Manalapan Braves in the semifinal of the NJSIAA State Tournament.

The Bears struck first in the top of the first inning after the Braves’ made two errors. James Schuld grounded out to the shortstop but was able to bring a run in to score. In the bottom half of the inning, Manalapan was able to tie things up after an RBI single. Both teams couldn’t plate another run until the fifth inning. For East Brunswick, Mike Falco got the start on the mound and had a solid outing, pitching five innings, surrendering two earned runs and striking out three batters.

In the fifth inning, the Bears loaded up the bases with two outs after a walk and a couple singles by Kevin Schuster and Brad Edwards. Junior Mike Sutton was able to capitalize and hit a ground ball single to give the Bears a 2-1 lead. However, the Braves quickly answered back in the bottom half of the inning, tacking on a few singles and a sacrifice fly, to go-ahead 3-2.

In the sixth inning, the Bears drew three straight walks with two outs but they were unable to take advantage and they were held scoreless. In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Manalapan added on a few insurance runs resulting in a 5-2 lead. It came down to the last inning for EB, as they got two early base runners. However, the Bears were unable to bring the runners in to score and the Braves recorded the last three outs of the game.