NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Will Faucher lined a base hit to left field in the bottom of the 8th inning to send the Pioneer faithful home happy as New Providence edged Union Catholic on a brisk Tuesday afternoon, 5-4.
It was an unusual start to the day, as a game from last month was resumed in New Providence, as both teams were tied at 8 in the 8th inning. After a scoreless top of the inning from New Providence, Union Catholic, acting as the home team, won the game on a single by the Vikings, giving Union Catholic a 9-8 win in merely 20 minutes.
About 15 minutes later, game two of the day started, as New Providence looked to bounce back after a quick loss.
Union Catholic struck first in the top of the 2nd inning, as a run scored on a throwing error from New Providence, but the Pioneers bounced right back when seniors Max Rivkees and Michael Magnani ripped RBI singles to put the home side ahead 2-1 after three innings of play.
It was smooth sailing for New Providence heading into the fifth inning until starting pitcher Greg Lambert, who was cruising for most of the game, exited after allowing two runs that tied the score, but Ryan Sherman entered and righted the ship for NP and got out of the inning with no further damage.
“Greg did a really nice job today,” said New Providence head coach Chris Brodeur. “He’s been working up his pitch count and getting stronger along the way and he did a good job seeing when he was done for the day.”
“Sherman came in and was very steady for us. He’s been steady for us all year and I was proud of the way he came in and pitched the way he did.”
Sherman proved to be the stopgap the Pioneers needed as he went 3 2/3 innings and only gave up one run, keeping New Providence in the game throughout.
The Pioneers jumped ahead in the bottom of the fifth when Stanton Leuthner’s two out RBI single put the boys in white ahead 4-3.
The lead would not prevail for New Providence, as Union Catholic scratched a run across the board in the top of the 7th to knot the score at four.
The tie would not last long, thanks to great fundamental baseball on display from the Pioneers. After a leadoff walk by Sherman in the bottom in the 8th, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Tommy Jankowski, Faucher was able to give New Providence the win after he laced a single to left for a walk-off winner.
“I was just looking for something that I could barrel up and hit it hard somewhere,” said Faucher. “I really liked that even though we dropped the first game we came back and fought hard to pull out a much needed win.”
“We’re trying to preach the process and the idea that if you do the little things over and over and you take everything one pitch at a time, everything else will take care of itself,” said Brodeur, speaking on his teams play in crunch time. “We got some good bunting, some good situational hitting, and when we needed the big hit we got it.”
It was a much-needed win indeed for New Providence as the victory snapped the Pioneers’ three game losing streak, giving New Providence a boost towards their playoff hopes.
The push towards post-season play continues Thursday when New Providence travels to Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School to take on the Raiders, with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.