Secaucus, NJ - After a three-month wait and with the New York City skyline in the background, a team consisting of players from Wayne Hills High School finally took the field in 2020. The team, named the Wayne Hills PAL (WH-PAL) team because of sanctioning issues, fell to Fair Lawn at Kane Field in Secaucus in their opening game of the Last Dance Tournament, 8-1.

It was a pitcher’s duel early on with the WH-PAL’s Anthony Losito and Fair Lawn’s Jayson Cohen each in control from the get-go. The game sat at 1-0 heading into the four inning when Fair Lawn scored three runs to extend their lead. Cohen was instrumental at the plate for his team as he hit two doubles in the first four innings, allowing pinch runners Harry Winnick and John Burek to come around and score for him.

The WH-PAL offense showed signs of life in the bottom of the fifth inning when catcher Dylan Heinold doubled to centerfield. He scored three batters later on a fielder’s choice from Michael Derricks to give the team their only run of the day

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“Their pitchers did a good job of making it hard on us,” Wayne Hills PAL coach Steve Rubino said. “We obviously didn’t get that many hits, and it’s hard to win games if you’re not getting on base.”

Already leading 5-1, Fair Lawn put two more runs on the board in the top of the sixth when catcher Ryan Perez hit his second triple of the afternoon.

While the team struggled, Rubino, who said his main goal was that the boys have fun, was pleased with how the team handled themselves.

“I actually thought our pitchers did a pretty good job,” he said. “We had a few calls not go our way, which I think frustrated our guys a little bit. Our attitudes were pretty good, but I think we just lost that fire when we went down 4-0.”

With today’s loss, the team is unable to advance out of the pool play round of the tournament and only has two games left. While they did not get the result they were hoping for, Rubino is encouraging his team to stay positive.

“We got to flush this one down the toilet,” he said. “You’re going to have bad games. We just need to move on, get back to work, try to win the last two games and go out in a blaze of glory.”

The team is back in action at Kane Field tomorrow at 1 p.m. against the Gladiators, a team consisting of players from the Passaic County Technical Institute, DePaul Catholic and others from the surrounding area.

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