Sports

Gibbons Strikes Out 8 as Scotch Plains-Fanwood Beats Union, 7-4

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Chris Gibbons allowed four runs through seven innings, and struck out 8 batters. Credits: Michael Bruchert
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Scotch Plains-Fanwood's roster features 12 senior players.  Here they pose with their parents prior to the game. Credits: Michael Bruchert
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SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ – There could not have been a more perfect stage for Chris Gibbons on Tuesday evening, as the Raiders’ ace pitched all seven innings, earning a big win on Senior Day.

The Union Farmers did not make it easy for Gibbons and the Raiders however, posting up two runs in the first inning alone.

“They came out playing at the beginning of the game,” Gibbons said. “Eventually, I just found my rhythm.”

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Scotch Plains-Fanwood was quick to retaliate, as Chris Gibbons and Matt Marino drove in three runs in the bottom of the first. Union would swap out their starting pitcher halfway through the inning and cycle through three more options throughout the game.

Zach Lipshitz continued his hitting streak Tuesday, going 2-for-2 with two lead off doubles.  His second hit allowed Gibbons and Marino to tally another RBI each, taking a 5-2 lead in the second inning.

Union inched closer in the third, scoring two runs before Gibbons ended the inning on a strikeout.

Gibbons continued to deliver the heat all game, striking out 3-of-4 batters in the fifth inning.

“I found my curveball and they kept swinging at my changeup,” the senior said.

In the fifth, an error would allow Lipshitz to score and extend the Raiders’ lead. Kevin Maxwell drove in the final run for SPF with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

The win puts the Raiders at an impressive 17-5 on the season, after bouncing back from a loss to Middletown North on Monday.

“Chris was able to minimize the damage a couple times today,” coach Higgins said. “It’s the sign of the a good No. 1 pitcher and a leader on the mound.”

With a roster chockfull of soon-to-be graduates, the win was bittersweet for coach Higgins.

“This is a really special senior class, they’re just really good kids. The only bad thing about today is that we have more than nine seniors so I couldn’t start everybody,” he said. “This has been a great group to have for my first year as head coach.”

Scotch Plains-Fanwood will take to the diamond again on Friday, going on the road to face Spotswood High School. The game is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.

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