UNION, NJ —For high school baseball players in New Jersey, there are no two words that come any sweeter: Toms River.
On Saturday, Morristown will be heading down the Garden State Parkway for all the marbles after a middle-innings comeback propelled the Colonials to a 4-3 victory over North Hunterdon in Tuesday's Group 4 semifinal at Kean University.
Morristown, now 17-8 on the campaign, will face Hunterdon Central on Saturday. The Colonials look for their first state title since 2006, when the late Harry Shatel’s side annexed the Group 3 crown.
A Morris County school last appeared in the Group 4 final in 2014, when Roxbury fell to Jackson in the title game. The last team from the county to win at the public school’s highest level was in 2010 when Randolph took whome the championship.
The first two innings seemed like a pitchers dual with no runs allowed by starting pitcher Brennan O'Neill of Morristown and John Wilson of North Hunterdon. After spotting a pair of runs to the Hunterdon County school in the third, Morristown drew even in their half of the fourth. Matt Nodoro singled to lead off the inning, and two batters later, brother Jimmy singled him home to trim the deficit to 2-1. After a fielding mishap committed by North, Morristown catcher Jamie Wendel drove in Jimmy Nodoro to even things up
With the game 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Chase Champi singled to lead off the frame. Champi was tripled home two batters later by Sami Cazimoski to give Morristown a 3-2 edge. David Haberman then proceeded to hit a ground ball to short, and Cazimoski took off from home and was ruled safe at a close play at the plate by the umpire to double the lead.
It would ultimately be all Matt Lopez needed to shut down the North 2, Group 4 champion Lions. While North plated a run in their half of the sixth, Lopez worked out of a bases loaded jam to mitigate the damage and preserve the lead.
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