RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph high school baseball team enjoyed a highly successful season in 2017, posting a 20-5 record and advancing to the Morris County and State Sectional finals. Unfortunately they ran into arguably the hottest team in the state in Ridgewood, and couldn’t withstand the barrage of hits and runs that the Maroons threw at them.
Ridgewood had posted 12, 13, and 13 runs in their first three state playoff games, and they completed the pattern by book-ending another twelve run game in the finals, defeating Randolph 12-2 on Friday June 2. The Rams didn’t do themselves any favors however, allowing Ridgewood to score eight unearned runs, two by wild pitch, and adding three fielding errors that kept their pitchers on the hot seat and allowed runs to score.
“We didn't play well defensively, and we didn't pitch well either,” said Rams coach Doug Anderson. “However you have to tip your cap to Ridgewood, they are extremely talented everywhere with solid pitching, and they are well-coached. In my three years coaching at Randolph they are the best hitting team I've seen by far.”
The Maroons grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first, and although both runs were unearned they did collect three hits in the inning; a sign of things to come. After a quick inning of four up and three down for Randolph, the game blew open in the top of the second, when Ridgewood put up four more runs including a three run homer to take a 6-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Ridgewood pitcher Parker Scott kept the Rams bats in check, moving through the first four innings with precision and only getting in a bit of trouble in the bottom of the 5th when he already had a 10-0 lead. In that inning, singles by Jack Carroll and Connor Sullivan led to two runs off a sacrifice fly by Robbie LaPenna and a single from Ryan Mulligan.
“Rutgers was at the game watching him ( Scott ) pitch,” said Anderson. “He was 85-88mph with good off speed and he didn't walk anybody. He relied on his defense to make plays, and his defense certainly made the plays behind him.”
Any momentum Randolph picked up from cutting the lead to 10-2 quickly dissipated when Ridgewood took those two runs back the very next inning, with one again being unearned.
For the game, Ridgewood cranked out 14 hits, with six players getting a multi-hit game.
It was a tough way to end the career of a large group of Randolph seniors who had worked hard, although the group won a lot of games and accomplished much in their four years.
“I told them I was extremely proud of them, they put together one of the better Randolph high baseball seasons ever,” said Anderson. “I also reminded them that with their leadership, dedication, and hard work they have left the Randolph baseball program in a better place. That's a tremendous honor and accomplishment and something they can be proud of for the rest of their lives.”
With seven of nine starters and numerous role players graduating, opportunity abounds for many of the underclassmen in the program.
“My message to the returning players is to learn from the example the seniors set and how they played the game of baseball,” said Anderson. “Learn how well they bonded together as a team, however, also learn from the mistakes that were made. Work hard on your own at baseball and learn to be a good teammate, and you can have a successful baseball season if everybody buys in and is unselfish.”