PARAMUS, NJ – The South Plainfield Tigers baseball team rebounded from a poor performance on Thursday and went toe-to-toe with a New Jersey powerhouse, the Paramus Spartans, in a 13 inning marathon game on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers collected 12 hits and placed 15 runners on base before Paramus won the game by getting to reliever Jake Alba with two hits in the bottom of the 13th. Sophomore Jean Sapini started for South Plainfield, striking out two and walking two while allowing five runs on eight hits. Chris Graves, who started the contest at third base, came in to pitch for Sapini to start the seventh inning. Graves fanned six and walked three but didn’t allow any runs while only surrendering one hit in his six innings of work before turning the ball over the Alba in the 13th.
Down 5-1 heading to the top of the fifth inning, the Tigers knew they didn’t have much time to get back into the game. Catcher Justin Marks doubled, and first baseman LJ Scarpitto advanced Marks to third by way of a groundout to first. Left fielder Tommy Dunn reached first after the Spartan catcher couldn’t corral strike three. Second baseman Bryan Gillen singled Marks home to cut the deficit to 5-2. Shortstop Nick Polizzano grounded out to move the runners over, and, as Chris Graves stepped up to bat, a pickoff play went awry for Paramus and another South Plainfield run scored. Graves then promptly hit an RBI single to make the score 5-4.
The Tigers tied the game in the top of the 6th when center fielder Jack Gillis singled and Marks’ single turned into two bases on a Spartan Error. With runners on second and third, Scarpitto laid down an RBI sacrifice bunt.
The teams then traded zeros on the scoreboard for 14 consecutive frames before Paramus singled in the game winner that started a raucous celebration for the home team at first base.
The Tigers, who drop to 5-5 on the season, begin a home-and-home series against White Division rival Woodbridge on Monday with a game in South Plainfield at 4:00 PM.