By Andy Loigu
The end of the season came sooner than expected for the second seeded Hackettstown baseball team on May 26.
The Tigers only got three base hits in a 3-1 loss to Hanover Park. They were beneficiaries of four bases on balls, but none of those baserunners scored. Meanwhile, pitcher Anthony Carida did not have overpowering stuff, but was a bulldog in keeping Hackettstown in the game.
After giving up two runs on four hits in the first and second innings, Carida held the Hornets scoreless over the next four frames, stranding seven runners. Four sparkling plays by shortstop Dom Desiderio kept runs from scoring.
“Anthony has been pitching out of tough spots all year,” said veteran Tigers’ coach Gary Poyer. “I just kept waiting for an explosion out of our hitters, which never came. They weren’t squaring up on the fastball today. Both teams played real well on defense. It was a good game for a fan to watch. We just didn’t do as good a job of executing as they (Hanover Park) did today.”
In the first round of the North 2 Group 2 playoffs, on May 23, the second seeded Tigers eliminated visiting Ridgefield Park by a 9-3 score.
Carida went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer, Matt Buchanan went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Mike Castellano went 2-for-2 with two runs batted in for the Tigers.
On May 18, the Tigers defeated North Warren 4-1 in a Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference game. John Franco pitched a four-hitter and Matt Buchanan went 2-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs.
Jake Hall broke the school record for home runs in a single season, with his ninth four-bagger, a two-run blast. Homer number 10 came in the sixth inning of the Tigers’ elimination loss on Thursday.
Hall, as a junior in his first varsity year, had one of the greatest offensive seasons ever put together by a Hackettstown Tiger. In addition to hitting homers, he batted .478 (33-for-69) with an on-base percentage well over .500. Pitchers often walked him when runners were in scoring position, but he still drove in 39 runs. Two thirds of his hits went for extra bases.
“His bat was huge this year,” Poyer said. “He put in a lot of off-season work on his skills and physical conditioning and the results show it.”
In North 2 Group 3, Warren Hills was eliminated by the visiting Huskies of Matawan 3-2 on May 23, with the deciding run scoring in the seventh and final inning. A two-run double by Thomas Moore scored Jack Fenner and Anthony Veneziano for the Blue Streaks in the sixth, to tie the game.
This followed a dazzling win five days prior when the Blue Streaks rallied with four runs in the seventh and final inning for a win on May 18.
Matt Cummings went 3-for-4 in that game with an RBI and played his usual stellar centerfield. Jon Fleck went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in to power the Blue Streaks.
Cummings went 2-for-4 in an 8-4 Skyland Conference loss at Phillipsburg on May 24.
Softball and Lacrosse
In softball, seventh seed Hackettstown won its first round North 2 Group 2 battle by a 12-2 score over visiting Leonia on May 23.
Molly O’Brien was 3-for-4 with a three-run homer, Kayli Yeisley was 3-for-4 with four runs batted in to put a Tiger into Hackettstown’s tank.
In the next round, the Tigers went on the road and Nicole Carter pitched a four-hit shutout with six strikeouts in eliminating second seed Rutherford. Yeisley clouted a solo homer.
Meanwhile, Carteret eliminated Warren Hills 5-4 the same day.
In boys lacrosse, Warren Hills was eliminated in North 2 Group 3 in a 13-6 loss at Mount Olive on May 18. Nick DeTore scored four goals and Ian Berry had two assists for the Blue Streaks.
The Blue Streaks got a regular season win on May 24 against Jefferson. DeTore scored four goals in the 13-9 win over the Falcons, and Charles Sergeant and Kyle Pienik each had a three-goal game against the J-town squad.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.