FORT LEE, NJ - The all-stars from Nutley East suffered their first postseason defeat during Game 1 of the 14-and-under Junior League Baseball Section 2 Championship Round, losing to Saddle Brook 8-2 last night (July 19) at Lewis F. Cole Middle School Field in Fort Lee.
With both teams now having one loss apiece in the tournament, they meet in a finals rematch tonight (July 20) to decide who qualifies for the State Tournament that begins Tuesday, July 24, 6 pm at Lyndhurst Recreation Field.
After Nutley drew first blood in the top of the first inning, they were held scoreless until they plated another run in the sixth inning.
Saddle Brook scored a run in every inning.
Nutley right-handed pitcher Chris Lamond went four innings, gave up six runs (five earned), and suffers the loss.
Saddle Brook’s JP Kuczik, who was wild early but settled down in the second inning, pitched four and two-thirds innings for the win, giving up only one run.
Nutley (2-1) entered the finals undefeated from the winners bracket. Earlier in the double-elimination tournament, they shutout Secaucus 9-0 on Friday, July 13, and overpowered Fort Lee 11-1 on Saturday, July 14.
Meanwhile, Saddle Brook (3-1) - the District 5 Champions, lost their opening game to Fort Lee 10-4 on Friday, July 13; then defeated Secaucus 12-10 on Saturday, July 14, and beat Fort Lee again 7-4 on Wednesday, July 18 to make it to the finals.
Nutley advanced to the Sectionals after defeating Belleville 3-1 in the District 8 Championship on Tuesday, July 10 at Owens Field in Nutley. Nutley was undefeated in district play.
The Nutley team is comprised of graduates from both East and Nutley American.
The teams face off again tonight (July 20) on Lewis F. Cole Middle School Field in Fort Lee at 7 p.m.