SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Sometimes you just have to hand it to the other team.
Junior Owen Hannigan threw a five-inning no-hitter with seven strikeouts to power seventh-seeded Glen Ridge to an 11-0 victory over top-seeded Dayton in the final of the NJSIAA/Wilson Sporting Goods North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 tournament in front of a packed house at historic Ruby Field in Springfield.
Dayton (18-6), which saw its three-game win streak snapped and lost for just the second time in its last eight games, had just two base runners the entire game on back-to-back hit batsmen (seniors Joe Kastner, Matthew Pavick) by Hannigan in the bottom of the fourth inning.
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Junior Brian Schnack had five RBI on the day, highlighted by a three-run triple deep to center field, in the top of the third inning to propel Glen Ridge to a 10-0 lead. Schnack also had an RBI single in the first inning to give the Ridgers an early 1-0 lead.
“It all comes down to preparation,” said Schnack, who entered the final with a .430 batting average. "We lost in this game last year by a run, which helped us for this year. We haven't had a sectional champion in a long time here, so this feels real special.''
Glen Ridge (12-13) has won four straight and six of its last nine games and advanced to the Group 1 semifinals, where it will face the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 1 sectional champion Emerson Boro at Kean University in Union on Tuesday, June 6. Emerson Boro came back from nine runs down with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to upend Park Ridge, 14-13.
Glen Ridge, which made its second straight NJ, S2, G1 appearance under second-year head coach Liam Penberthy, have outscored its four state tournament opponents, 38-3, with two straight shutouts, both by 11-0 scores. Last season, Glen Ridge lost to Bloomfield Tech, 3-2, in the final.
Kastner, Pavick, and fellow seniors Anthony Monguso, Jonathan Holland, James Patania, and Brian Schramm each played their final game on 116 Caldwell Place as the Bulldogs fell to 2-1 in sectional finals, having defeated Union County and conference foe Roselle Park, 12-2, in 2013 and Secaucus, 8-7, in 2014.
“Baseball is a great sport because it can humble you at any time. Today was a day where a lot of things that could have went wrong went wrong. Although it is tough to lose a championship game, our program has not been built on one game. We will learn from this game and get better as a program; however, I feel for the six seniors in our locker room today,” said Dayton head coach Michael Abbate. “They are championship kids and they do not need a title to prove that. Their hard work, dedication and commitment to their team made it a joy to coach each and every day. They will be missed and their parents and their community should be proud!”
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