SOMERVILLE, NJ  - It  took 114 years, but the Somerville High School Pioneers baseball team finnaly  achieved elite status this season, winning its first-ever NJSIAA Group III championship.

The state champions were honored by the Borough Council and Mayor Ellen Brain Monday night, with each member of the team and coaches receiving a proclamation recounting their successful season.

The Pioneers also won the North 2 Group III title on their way to the state championship game.

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The team had a regular season record of 20-5, and beat the defending champion Allentown Redbirds on a neutral field in Hamilton on June 10 by a score of 3-2 behind their dominant starting pitcher, senior Thomas Babalis, who went 9-2 during the regular season.

He pitched six innings in the championship game, giving up two runs, striking out 8 while walking one batter. He was relieved by junior right hander Bobby Wortman who worked himself out of a bases loaded, one-out situation in the bottom of the seventh inning to earn the save, striking out the side.