SUMMIT, NJ - Three games. Three last at-bat wins - by a total of three runs. The Summit High School Boys Varsity Baseball Team is doing their darndest to earn the nickname 'Cardiac Kids'.
The latest palpitating installment was a 4-3, nine-inning win over Union Catholic. Reliever Kunal Sengupta, who knocked in the winning run in the Hilltoppers' April 3 win over Watchung Hills, did it again this time,
As in their previous two victories, The Maroon & White got strong pitching with senior Will Schaffer, who fanned seven out of the first nine batters he faced, also driving in Summit's first run with an RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third
Andrew Miller would then plate Matt Mormile to give the Hilltoppers the 2-0 advantage.
Union Catholic came back, however to post a three-spot in the top of the fourth to take a 3-2 with relief pitcher Pat Smolyn entering the game to end the inning. Smolyn would go on to 'K" seven opposition batters in 3 2/3 innings work.
Back-to-Back two baggers in the bottom of the fifth from Grant Douglas and Smolyn would knot things at 3-3.
Another key component to Summit achieving early-season joy has been multiple players chipping in key plays at key moments and -- after three scoreless innings -- shortstop Matt Reddy saved the day, making a miraculous throw to first to send the game farther into extra innings.
Sengupta, who finished the game at the mound for Summit, drove in the winning run after a Trevor Mutolo single and Douglas double. A third dramatic victory called for a third wild celebration as the team met Sengupta at first base and rejoiced.
"Solid defense and throwing strikes are what have kept us in these games," said Summit Head Coach Kevin Zaleski. "We have not put up a lot of runs the last two games, so defense and pitching kept us close. Can't say enough about Pat Smolyn and Kunal Sengupta's job coming in relief today. Grant Douglas has been crushing the ball to help us offensively.”
Summit is back on the diamond April 7 taking on Plainfield at Memorial Field. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
Kyle Standing is a Summit High School sophomore.