SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Tyler Stines broke a 0-0 tie in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single to give the Raiders a lead they would not relinquish in their 10-2 victory over Columbia HS in the first round of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 Tournament.
Danny Wilkinson started and his fastball was humming, but he battled wildness in an outing in which he gave up 2 runs, walked 4 and struck out 5 in 4 2/3 innings of work. In the fifth inning he walked the first two batters, who moved over on a bunt. A run scored on a ground out and then an RBI single on a hanging curveball drove him from the game. Cucurullo came into the game and benefited from a caught stealing to end the inning.
The Raiders offense added on more runs in the bottom of the fifth when speedster Willy Gale tripled, Jon Ramos walked, and both scored on Dean Kirian's RBI single. Angelo DiNizo singled and drove in a run. Michael Dieu smashed a ball that hit the very top of the fence and plunked over the other side for a home run.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood tacked on four runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game out of reach. Nick Merkel finished the game on the mound.
The No. 4 seeded Raiders will host J.P. Stevens on Thursday, May 23, in the quarterfinals.