SUMMIT, NJ - A four-run sixth-inning by the Summit High School Boys Varsity Baseball Team was not enough to lift themselves from a five-run ditch they found themselves in, and the Hilltoppers fell 8-7 to Rahway at Memorial Park. The loss eliminates The Maroon and White from the Union County Tournament.
Save for the rare blowout, Summit has been engaging all season long in one-run games. Early in the campaign, the Hilltoppers were finding a way to win those contests but, lately, the nail-biters have not gone the way of the boys from the 07901, with last three one-run games favoring the opposition.
On this day, the opponent was Rahway in the Union County Tournament and the Indians staked themselves to two runs in the first inning, a lead they would never relinquish. Two consecutive Rahway triples did the damage before the Hilltoppers would end the Inning with a Ben Lim strikeout and a double play turned by the Summit infield.
The Hilltoppers looked to bounce back in the bottom of the inning, however Will Schaffer and Trevor Mutolo were stranded at second and third after a Schaffer double.
After the Indians increased their lead to 3-0 in the top of the second, Summit got one back behind a Greg Vlass single that would drive in Matt Reddy and make the score 3-1 heading into the third.
Rahway tacked on two more runs to take a 6-1 lead after the top of the fourth, but then the Hilltoppers clawed back to make it 6-3 in the bottom of the inning with Vlass doubling in another run -- this time it was pinch runner Matt Mormile after catcher Justin Weiss was able to notch a single -- followed by senior captain Matt Murdock delivering an RBI single.
Unfortunately for Summit, Rahway got the pair of runs right back in the top of the sixth, but then the Hilltoppers made things quite interesting when they plated four runs in the bottom of that frame.
A pair of walks and Vlass' third RBI of the day cut the lead to four leaving two Summit runners on base. Consecutive walks to Murdock and Mutolo would plate another run, and Schaffer and senior captain Grant Douglas would then each slap RBI singles to make it an 8-7 game.
What looked like a massive inning and the makings of an equally-sized comeback win did not materialize, however, as the visitors got out of the inning with their one-run lead intact.
Summit delivered a clean inning in the top of the seventh, but could not threaten in the bottom of inning, leaving Head Coach Kevin Zaleski to lament the tough start that eventually did his team in.
”It’s really hard when you start off like that to come back. I thought our guys did a good job of fighting. It’s also tough though when you cut it to one and can’t capitalize. Credit to Rahway they played well.”
Summit, now 8-6 on the season, next heads to take on the Elizabeth Minutemen in 'enemy territory' May 2. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
Kyle Standing is a Summit High School sophomore.