SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ — Hitting woes continued for the Scotch Plains-Fanwood baseball team, as the Raiders dropped a closely contested game, 4-1, to the Bridgewater-Raritan Panthers on a chilly Wednesday afternoon in Scotch Plains.
Dan Wilkinson got the start for Scotch Plains-Fanwood, and certainly pitched well enough to deserve a win. The southpaw tossed six innings of two-run ball (one earned run), striking out nine, walking two and scattering six hits while throwing a season-high 104 pitches. Wilkinson was able to throw Bridgewater hitters off balance with a sharp curve ball in addition to pumping the zone with lively fast balls.
While Wilkinson pitched well, Bridgewater’s Greg Verano had the edge. Verano, a sophomore, stymied the Raiders’ bats in a complete game three-hitter, striking out two and walking a pair while efficiently throwing just 94 pitches.
Verano became the fourth pitcher this season to throw a complete game against Scotch Plains-Fanwood. Cranford’s Gordon Graceffo, St. Joseph’s (Metuchen) Mike Farr and Union Catholic’s Brendon Welsh have also gone the distance against the Raiders.
SP-F sophomore Michael Dieu ripped a double down the right field line and scored on Jake Canavan’s groundout to provide the Raiders with their lone run. At the time, the run cut the Raiders’ deficit to just one run.
After collecting just three hits Wednesday, the Raiders' team batting average for the season currently stands at .298. In comparison, it stood at .320 last season.
In a 2-1 game, head coach Joe Higgins called upon star lefty Tim Geissel to pitch the seventh inning. Geissel (1 IP, H, 2 R, ER, BB, K) surrendered a two-run single to Corey Karnilla, which put the game away for Bridgewater.
The loss drops the Raiders’ record to 4-5 on the season. Scotch Plains will look to get back on the beam Friday, when they travel to play Colonia at 4:00 p.m.