Secaucus, NJ - The Wayne Valley PAL find themselves one win away from punching their ticket to the North region Round of 16 of the Last Dance Tournament after knocking off Fair Lawn 9-6 at Kane Field in Secaucus.
The team fell behind early after Fair Lawn scored three runs in the top of the first inning, but they battled back with an offensive explosion in the bottom half. Outfielder Matt Krefting got the team rolling with a bases-clearing, three-RBI triple. Infielders Brett Tomback and Justin Saeger each brought in runs with singles to cap off a six-run inning for the Wayne Valley PAL.
“I was pretty much just looking for fastballs,” Krefting said. “It was 1-2, and I just didn’t want to strike out. I got one over the plate and just put a good swing on it.”
Krefting also made contributions on the pitcher’s mound, only allowing 1 hit over two innings. What made it even more impressive was that he typically isn’t used as a pitcher and says he hasn’t pitched since February.
“I just went up there with the mindset of ‘let’s throw some strikes and keep the team in the game,’” he said. “Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m happy to fill that role.”
The bats stayed hot for the Wayne Valley PAL over the next few innings. Designated hitter Zach Kasperowicz hit an RBI single in the second, and catcher Danial Ramos and outfielder Cole Fauerbach each had sacrifice flies later in the game.
The WV-PAL team was able to keep the Fair Lawn offense at bay behind a strong pitching performance from Sean DuBois. DuBois allowed no hits in three innings of relief and struck out the side in the top of the seventh to close out the game.
Aside from the team’s impressive play, what also pleased ‘Coach S’ was how they battled back after facing early adversity.
“It was just them not getting down on themselves,” he said. “The kids believed in themselves. They’re up there having fun and showing some relentlessness.”
They will now squares off against Ridgewood at Paramus recreational field tomorrow at 8 p.m. If they win, they’ll advance to the round of 16 as the winners of the Group 5 pool. Despite the high-stakes game they’re about to play, Coach S emphasized that he just wants the team to focus on having fun.
“We try to keep creating an atmosphere where there’s no pressure at all. Just go out there and play the game,” he said. “They’re all talented kids, and if they stay within themselves, who knows what could happen?”
Fans of Wayne Valley baseball are hoping for the best and a long run for the team in this statewide tournament.