WEST CALDWELL, NJ — A 4-0 victory over Montclair in Caldwell on Wednesday got the James Caldwell High School varsity baseball team back on the winning track after losing two games in a row, first to Cedar Grove, then to Seton Hall.
The Chiefs’ starting pitcher Evan Dyer, who entered Wednesday’s game with a record of 0-2, was looking for his first victory of the season.
The game's first runs came in the bottom of the third inning, when Caldwell hit a hard grounder to center field and the Montclair shortstop made an unsuccessful dive for the ball, bringing in a runner from second home. This also brought a runner from first base to second, but nothing came from that advancement and the third inning ended with Caldwell leading, 1-0.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Caldwell was beginning to get the ball on the bat consistently. Charlie Fierro flied out to center field, putting runners at the corners after a hit by a pitch and a steal of second.
The Chiefs were not just on fire on offense, but also had some sparks in the field. The second baseman for Caldwell made an impressive backhand grab to throw the runner out at first in the fifth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Montclair’s pitcher walked a Chiefs batter, making it his third walk of the game. Just after, the pitcher threw a wild pitch that the catcher could not handle and Caldwell ran a double steal successfully as a result, putting runners in scoring positions at second and third.
Minutes later, No. 20 for the Chiefs hit a double that he was called out on, but he was able to get two RBI from that, advancing Caldwell's lead to 4-0. The Caldwell second baseman remained on point in the field, diving for a ball that rolled to the edge of the outfield and throwing out the runner at first in the top of the sixth inning. He also caught a grounder that bounced off the mound and flicked it to second base to end the first half of the sixth.
Caldwell’s high-powered offense and stellar defense was a major factor in their victory over No. 5 Montclair, which is now 14-10. Another contributing factor to Montclair’s loss was it four errors, in which a few of those errors led to runs for Caldwell.
The Caldwell Chiefs are currently riding on high confidence going into their last home game of the 2016 season against the No. 1 team in the SEC-American league, Millburn, on May 19.
This article was written by Justin Kuczborski, a James Caldwell High School sophomore, as part of the TAP into West Essex internship program.