NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - It was a cold and windy Wednesday afternoon/evening at Community Park in North Brunswick, N.J. But, the North Brunswick High School varsity baseball team wasn’t bothered by the elements, taking both games of a double-header against South Plainfield.
With Monday and Tuesday’s games both postponed due to rain and poor field conditions, the two Greater Middlesex County White Division squads battled in a two-game affair.
In the first game, South Plainfield (1-3) took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second thanks to an RBI double by senior outfielder Brian Cullen, but that was all for the Tigers.
North Brunswick (3-0) took the lead in the bottom of the third on a Roger Gomez three-run home run, and scored four more in the bottom of fifth and two in the sixth to defeat the Tigers 9-1. Gomez finished with five RBI’s while a two-run single from Feliz Diaz, an RBI double by Justin Garcia, and an RBI single by Neal Gaeta did damage in that aforementioned fifth inning.
Eric Vasquez (1-0) was sharp, pitching a complete game, allowing only one run and striking out three.
A couple of bright spots shined through for the Tigers in the outfield however. In the third and fifth inning, centerfielder Jack Gillis sprinted and dove left and right respectively making two ESPN Top-10 highlight reel worthy catches.
Game two was much closer, with this time the Raiders squeaking out a come-from-behind 6-3 victory.
The Tigers once again took an early 2-0 lead, scoring one in each the first and second innings, as Mike Stanczak and Jean Sapini scored for the Tigers.
North Brunswick plated a run in the third to cut the deficit to 2-1, and took a 3-2 lead on a two-out RBI double by Rutgers University signee and senior Eric Reardon. Reardon finished the game 2-for-3, and gave up three runs on seven hits, struck out four, and walk four in six innings to earn the win on the mound after playing first base in the first game.
The Raiders picked up another run in the top of the sixth to take a 4-2 lead, but South Plainfield responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning.
However, North Brunswick took back command of the game with two runs in the top of the seventh.
South Plainfield has struggled out of the gate at 1-3 through four games. However, there is no need for panic in Tiger country as the defending state Group 3 championships lost three of their first five games before getting hot near the end of the season which propelled them to glory.
This year is a different team, but the roster is still full of talent such as senior shortstop Nick Polizzano, who through the first two games was 5-for-6 at the plate.
The Tigers will look to get back on track Saturday morning in their extremely-competitive schedule as they travel out to Montgomery in a nonconference contest.