By Andy Loigu
In a rare matchup of Division 1 pitching recruits, North Hunterdon defeated Warren Hills in the semifinals of the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex baseball tournament by a 5-0 score on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions move on to the tournament final for the third consecutive year. They will face Newton, a 7-3 semifinal winner over Hackettstown, in the championship game.
Lefthander Anthony Veneziano (who will pitch for Coastal Carolina on scholarship next year) took the loss, but pitched better than the 5-0 final score would indicate. He gave up only four hits in five and a third innings, and fell victim to two fielding errors in the second frame, when the Lions scored two runs without getting a base hit.
Veneziano got the only two Warren Hills hits and also stole two bases against John Wilson, another southpaw, who will pitch for Old Dominion University next year. After a sixth inning pitching change, Veneziano made a diving catch of a sinking line drive in left field.
Veneziano also excelled in basketball in leading the Blue Streaks in rebounds, as they won their first ever sectional championship this year.
Wilson was lights out on the mound for North Hunterdon. Striking out 10 while only walking one, he retired the side in order five times in a seven-inning game.
A positive for Warren Hills (now 9-7) was the defensive play of centerfielder Matt Cummings, who made a run-saving diving catch in the fourth and a running catch of a deep drive in the seventh.
Hackettstown defeated Warren Hills in softball by a 1-0 score on May 2. Nicole Carter pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out eight while walking two.
The game’s only run scored in the sixth inning. Hackettstown’s Kayli Yeisley scored on an RBI-hit delivered by Hunter Ruppel, after Warren Hills ace Madeline Smith had held them hitless to that point.
Hackettstown stands at 11-8 overall, 4-2 in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Freedom Division, where their only losses are to Jefferson, the state’s 12th ranked team.
Warren Hills is 8-5 overall and still is in a close race with North Hunterdon and Phillipsburg for the title in the Skyland Conference Raritan Division.
The Blue Streaks have scored two or fewer runs in their five losses this season.
Smith has pitched four shutouts this season and will pitch next year at Penn State University on an athletic scholarship.
“Madey has been a workhorse for us,” said Warren Hills coach Jeremy Willis of his senior right hander. “If we can give her some runs to work with, we can still do big things this season.”
Scholarships and honors
Also signing on for athletic scholarships are the following Warren Hills athletes:
- Kaeleigh Guth – soccer at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.
- Rachel Phillips – field hockey at the University of Vermont. Phillips recently was honored as a top scholar athlete by the Skyland Conference.
- Kaitlyn Thompson – field hockey at West Chester University. Warren Hills won state championships in field hockey in back to back seasons the past two years.
The Warren Hills archery team, led by Adam Slack and Mark Smith, won the state tournament championship this spring with a score of 3,201. Congratulations for another Blue Streaks success story.
A.J. Lea was recently honored as a scholar athlete by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Hana Cicerelle and Joseph Teddick were honored as scholar athletes by the Hunterdon/Warren/ Sussex Athletic Association.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.