SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Reeling from a tough loss against GL on the road on Friday and a lopsided home-opening defeat against Cranford on Wednesday, the Raiders needed a rebound and got one in the form of a dramatic, come-from-behind, 8-7 victory against Union on Saturday.
It was a big win for several reasons, according to Raiders coach Joe Higgins.
"It's the first close game we won, so it'll make us a bit tougher," Higgins told TAPintoSPF. "They (Union) were 4-1 and had just come off big wins against GL and Westfield. We had came out of (COVID) shutdown and started with tough week on our schedule. We had a deflating loss vs. GL, 3-2, on Friday, so this was a big win for us."
Against GL, the Raiders jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but after the opposing pitcher settled down, the Raiders didn't hit.
"Joey DiQuollo pitched a great game, and we played good defense, but we left runners on base Friday," Higgins said.
Another loss on Saturday could have dealt a body blow to the Raiders, but they proved to be resilient.
Trailing by a run in the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Jones started the inning with a triple. Shawn Martin walked and stole second, leading Union to intentionally walk Dallas Lorrenzetti. The move backfired when Ryan Beauregard walked to force in the tying run. Jason Trivisonno then delivered the game-winning hit.
Higgins said that the biggest hit of the contest was a two-out double by Lucas Mackey to keep the game alive in the bottom of the seventh. Mackey, who went 2-for-4 on the day, drove in two runs and sent the game to extras.
"Lucas is a leader on this team. He, plays with a lot of confidence and is a tough competitor," Higgins said. "We have a lot of quiet kids; he gets us up."
Alex Fazzino picked up the win. Matt Drubulis pitched the first 3 1/3, and John Schults kept Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the game well enough to be able to make the comeback.
Union's Jalen Bryant went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored, and Matt Silvestre went 4-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored. Joe Rivera reached base three times on two hits and a walk. Sophomore Aiden Baiardi pitched a strong game for Union.
The Raiders (2-3) take the field again on Monday for a road game against arch rival Westfield. Union (4-2) faces Elizabeth on Monday.
Prior to the game, Scotch Plains-Fanwood retired Eddie Reilly No. 26. Robinson was a star player for the Raiders and later played professionally in the Houston Astros organization. (Separate story to follow.)
TAPintoSPF.net is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily local news source. Sign up for our free daily eNewsletter and “Like” us on Facebook and Twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.
Are you a business interested in reaching our audience? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.