WARREN, NJ – The Hustlin' Warriors 10 game winning streak and record setting season is over after Cinderella North Hunterdon, the No. 14 seed, knocked off Watchung Hills to win the North 2, Group 4 championship, 3-1.
Watchung Hills ended the season 27-5, the most wins by a baseball team in Watchung Hills history, and took second place in both the county and sectional tournaments.
It was one of those games where luck was with North Hunterdon and bad bounces plagued the Warriors.
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And besides the unlucky breaks, Hustlin' Warriors' fans will also remember the game as the one where the opposing coach wouldn't stay in the coaches box, sometimes seeming to be almost on third base.
The Lions finished with just six hits.
Junior Kevin Sylvestri allowed only two hits, walked three, hit one and struck out three allowing one unearned run in relief for the Hustlin' Warriors.
Matt Mastrobattista slammed a double to right-center with one out in the first but ended up stranded after Ed Poggi's seemingly perfectly placed drive to deep center was caught over-the-shoulder.
Luck seemed to be changing for the Warriors In the second when Poggi dove for a ground ball at first that bounced to Mastrobattista who threw to starting pitcher Tyler Lombardo who ran from the mound to cover the bag to get the out and prevent another Lion run.
But the bad bounces continued. What could have been two runs ended with none in the second after Chris Roth singled and John Port's possible in the park home run ended up as a ground rule double when the ball hopped the fence , on an unbelievable second bounce, and sent home bound Roth back to third.
The Warriors got on the board in the third when Poggi singled with one out and scored on Brandon Hylton’s double down the right-field line.
The season is over but remember it as the record setting season it was. 27 wins. They played together. They believed in one another. And remember, Hustlin' Warrior Baseball has always represented and will always stand for....."Hustle-Pride Team-Family."