RANDOLPH, NJ- Randolph Rampage 11U travel baseball team was crowned champions fter defeating the Long Valley Freaks 11-9 in a back and forth six-inning game on Monday, May 28, 2018 at Turkey Brook Park in Mount Olive, New Jersey.
The Randolph Rampage, a 50/70 youth travel baseball team, managed by Rob Dobres and coaches Dan Brown, Marc Laqui and Doug Frick, entered the Memorial Day Tournament with one simple mission, to give their team an opportunity to play four baseball games, as a large part of their spring season was a washout due to rainy weather. The players, however, had even grander plans for the long weekend, and topped everything off by securing the Championship trophy out of the eight teams competing for the title.
The Rampage concluded pool play with a record of 2-1 after squeaking out hard fought victories over Lincoln Park (5-4) on Friday and Montville (9-8) on Saturday evening. The Rampage’s only loss in preliminaries came in their 2nd game when Randolph came up just short, losing against Mount Olive (4-5) in a closely fought game Saturday afternoon.
After securing a spot in the semi-finals by defeating Roxbury (6-4) in the quarter finals on Sunday, the Rampage found themselves once again the perceived underdog, facing Mount Olive on Monday morning. This time the opponents faced off in a single elimination game at Mount Olive High School. The Rampage turned up the heat on the Marauders with a strong showing at the plate from the entire roster, exceptional fielding, and a stellar pitching performance by Zack Allen, who threw a complete game, leading the team to a 10-2 victory that poised the Rampage for home field advantage in the Championship finals. Catching for Allen, and all of the Rampage pitchers throughout the six-game weekend tournament, was the dynamic duo of Jack Smith and Darren Laqui.
In the Monday afternoon finals, the Rampage faced the Freaks of Long Valley, who won their semi-final game against the Denville Dragons. Randolph jumped out to an early lead 4-0 after one inning. By the top of the fourth, the Rampage were ahead 8-3. However, Long Valley managed a six-run rally in the top half of the frame, all with two outs, to take the lead, 9-8. The resilient Rampage did not give up, answering back in the bottom half of the inning by plating two men of their own to reclaim a 10-9 advantage.
Zachary Moorhouse, the Rampage’s starting pitcher in the championship game held Long Valley scoreless in the 5th while his teammates tacked on another run in the bottom half of the frame to give the Rampage an 11-9 edge going into the sixth. That’s when closer, Andrew Dobres, and a solid Rampage infield sealed the victory for Randolph. Bedlam then ensued. Players jumped around with delight despite the fatigue they felt having played six games in a weekend. Coaches and parents high-fived, hugged one another, and applauded both teams as all of the Rampage's cheering section headed onto the field for the trophy presentation and photographs.
The Rampage’s eleven (11) player roster includes 5th graders from all of the Randolph elementary schools: Dylan Polesuk (OF, 2B) and Kevin Tinio (OF, 2B) from Fernbrook; Zack Allen (SS, P), Max Brown (3B, P), Andrew Dobres (1B, P), and Nate Frick (OF) from Shongum; Cole Cabatic (3B, OF) and Jack Smith (C, OF, P) from Center Grove; and Darren Laqui (C, OF), Zachary Moorhouse (3B, P, 1B) and Adam Wilson (2B, OF) all from Ironia. With such a small roster, all the players shared responsibilities for multiple positions, especially when there was a great demand for pitching in a short timeframe. More importantly, they all worked as a team to contribute when called upon, bringing a championship home to Randolph.