MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ -  The U8 Green Machine baseball team made history in Mountainside when they competed in the semifinals of the  Cal Ripkin League Central/Northern State Tournament, making it further than any other Mountainside team -- losing to Cranford, 6-5, last week in Bridgewater.

"Exceeded expectations" is an understatement for this team. Mountainside is considered a small town and only has a population of 6,685 [according to the latest Census data] -- competing against much larger towns with a much larger pool of kids to choose from. Mountainside has about 180 kids participating in their entire program from t-ball to 8th grade.

Mountainside competes in the Cal Ripken League that consists of 12 districts throughout the state. With the odds stacked against them, the Green Machine prevailed going 5-1 in the district and finished one game away from playing in the regional championships in Troy, NY.

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During districts, the Green Machine overpowered their opponents scoring 63 runs and allowing only 26 against. They defeated Greenbrook 18-8; Chatham 13-1; Summit 10-1; and Watchung Hills 10-4.

They met their match when they faced Scotch Plains -- defeating their neighboring rivals, 7-6 ,in extra innings to advance to the district semifinals to play Cranford.

Mountainside's state tournament run ended in a tight battle against Cranford, losing 6 -5.

The Green Machine's success is credited to a complete team effort. "Every player has made solid contributions regardless if they are in the game or helping their team by being a good teammate when they are not in the game," said team manager Steven Filiaci. 

Team highlights:

  • Strong pitching and hitting from Reid Bazydlo, Michael Basile and Ryan Lamera, as well as providing solid defense when they are not pitching. 
  • Matthew Filiaci has been an anchor behind the plate throwing out runners and providing key hitting. 
  • Mateo Liloia, Addison Adornato and Tyce Hanratty have provided some timely pitching and hitting to help their team win. 
  • Loic Naserdine hit well the entire tournament,  and provided the game winning hit in extra innings to advance Mountainside into the states. 
  • Michael Healy and Preston Devieux have hit the ball hard the entire tournament and came up with some key hits. 
  • Michael Donahue, Jacob Minnefor, Christian Pupo, C. J. Cantagallo and Colin Hasselgran all contributed by providing some solid hitting, base running and defense as well.  

Players: Reid Bazydlo, Michael Basile, Matthew Filiaci, Loic Naserdine, Michael Healy, Addison Adornato, Ryan Lamera, Tyce Hanratty, Mateo Liloia, Jacob Minnefor, Michael Donahue, Preston Devieux, C.J. Cantegallo, Christian Pupo, Colin Hasselgran

Coaches: Anthony Basile, Jeremy Bazydlo, Andrew Adornato, Michael Liloia; Manager: Steven Filiaci