BERKELEY HEIGHTS — Jack Pires continued his stellar season on Monday for the Gov. Livingston baseball.
The talented senior ignited the offense again as he went 4-for-5 with a double and finished with two RBI, two runs and four steals to help the Highlanders forge a 13-6 victory over Johnson Regional.
It marked the fourth straight decision for Gov. Livingston over Johnson and fifth in the past six contests between the two Union County opponents. The last setback against Johnson came four years ago to the day in a 9-5 loss.
For the Montclair State-bound Pires, consistently good baseball was expected, but Highlanders’ veteran skipper Chris Roof is certain Pires has exceeded them spectacularly thus far.
“We definitely expected him to be a good player this year,” said Roof, who is just three wins shy of 400 for his career (the past 18 years at Gov. Livingston and three at Millburn). “But these are all-county type numbers he’s putting up. Jack’s a very competitive player, one of the most competitive I’ve coached in all my years.”
Indeed, Pires is hitting .484 with a .556 on-base percentage, 19 RBI, 10 runs and 15 hits. He’s also flashed his speed in stealing eight bases in nine attempts.
The Highlanders had plenty of contributors as well on Monday besides Pires as they improved to 7-1 in winning their fourth straight game. Senior catcher Murowski was 2-for-3 with a double and a home run, two RBI and one run scored. Senior designated hitter Michael Shaffer had two hits, including a homer, and finished with two RBI and a run while freshman Matthew Kosuda belted a two-run home run.
Gov. Livingston’s last defeat came against Union, 10-7, on April 27. The Highlanders piled up 13 hits and six earned runs in the triumph.
Junior Dan Bass earned the decision over Johnson and improved to 3-0. Shaffer is hitting .500, Murowski is batting .462 and Truncale is hitting at a .440 clip.
The Highlanders hit the road on Wednesday to face their toughest task yet, taking the field against Cranford, the state’s top-ranked ball club.
“Cranford is one of the best teams I’ve seen in a while,” Roof acknowledged. “But we can’t get too caught up in that. We have to look at it as just another league game, and we have to focus on playing our best. If that’s good enough we can win, and if it’s not, we won’t.”