Baseball: Raiders Keep Rolling; Scotch Plains-Fanwood Downs Cranford, 10-1

Vin Conti pitched a complete game against Cranford and yielded just one unearned run. Credits: File photo
Tyler O'Brien went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI.  Credits: File photo
Peter Warren went 4-for-5 and scored two runs.  Credits: File photo
George Mueller Credits: File photo

CRANFORD, NJ -- Scotch Plains-Fanwood's offensive juggernaut continued in Cranford on Wednesday as the Raiders pummeled the Cougars, 10-1. SPF has outscored opponents by a combined score of 20-1 in the last two games.

"We haven't tried to change much.  The thing we find most important is to help the hitters make themselves comfortable," said Coach Joe Higgins. "Hitting is such a delicate thing--it can turn either way very quickly, and being relaxed and confident helps.  We've worked at getting comfortable and maintaining a narrow focus at the plate."

Hot hitting SS Peter Warren went 4-for-5 and scored two runs. George Mueller contributed 2 hits and 3 RBI. Tyler O'Brien went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI. Matt Fox went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a double.

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Meanwhile, the Raiders benefited from a strong pitching performance by starter Vince Conti. The senior threw a complete game and yielded only four hits and an unearned run. He struck out four and did not walk anybody as he improved to 2-1 on the season.

"Today's win was exciting because Vince Conti bounced back from a rough previous start. He talked to me yesterday and seemed ready for a challenge. He really wanted the ball today," Coach Higgins explained. " We also had 1st inning clutch hits by George Mueller and Tyler O'Brien. That and Vin's aggressiveness set the tone in the first inning."

Higgins believes the key to the pitching has been the competitiveness that all of his pitchers have shown on the mound. 

"Jack DeFouw has been the leader of the staff, and his demeanor and mound presence have probably rubbed off on some of the other guys."

The victory improved the Raiders' record to 13-4 overall. The head coach is pleasantly surprised after losing 12 graduating seniors last year.

"Losing such a deep and talented senior class was tough.  That was a great group of players and people we had in last year's senior class," Higgins said. "But these kids look like they don't know any better.  We may not be the most talented team, but we have a group of competitors who are great teammates to one another.  The word that comes up a lot when my coaches and I talk about these kids is:selfless."

The Raiders next play on Thursday when they host Elizabeth at 4:00 p.m. is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP.

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