BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Fifth-seeded Bernards turned in an inspired effort against a heavily favored opponent, but fell short on Wednesday.
Top-seeded Gov. Livingston defeated the Mountaineers, 8-5, in the semifinal round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 baseball tournament.
Bernards (15-10) actually broke on top first against GL right-hander Sean Savage in the top of the third inning. With two out and none on, Nick Booher reached on a hard ground shot that handcuffed the third baseman. Phil Mahlik followed with a double into the right-field corner that sent Booher to third. Left-handed swinging Timmy Lallis followed by lining a two-run single to center field.
Gov. Livingston (25-3) got those runs back for a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the third when consecutive walks with one out preceded Stephen Reid's two-run double to right-center. Bernards starting pitcher Daniel Ball had sailed through the Highlanders' order the first time around, allowing just one hit and striking out four of the first eight batters he faced. Ball allowed just two hits and two runs in his first five innings.
Bernards took a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning on Kyle Levine's RBI single and added a run in the top of the fifth inning for a 4-2 lead on Lallis' RBI single before Gov. Livingston erupted for six runs in the bottom of the sixth to grab an 8-4 lead. Bernards, which outhit the Berkeley Heights powerhouse, 8-4, scored one final run in its last at-bat in the top of the seventh.
Lallis went 3-for-4 with three RBI and Mahlik had two hits, including a double, and scored three runs. Ball also had a double and a single for the Mountaineers.