By Steven Knapp
Freehold, NJ (July 30th, 2014) – The Freehold Clippers entered the ABCCL semi-finals on a high note after knocking off the top seeded Matrix in their opening round series. However, they ran into another tough test as they faced the second seeded Medford Starz in round two. This series would prove to be a tall order and would stand in the way of their Cinderella run. After winning game one, the Starz were looking to advance to the finals while the Clippers battled to keep their season alive.
The Starz put the first run on the board in the top of the first. Vaughn Champion (Wagner College; Galloway, NJ) started the game off by ripping a single down the third baseline. Mike Elfreth (Widener University; Sicklerville, NJ) then got on with a walk and then reached second after Champion was tagged out in a pickle off of a pick off move. Elfreth came in to score on an error to put the Starz up 1-0.
The next four innings would be pitchers duel between the Starz’ Michael Coliagno (Carson-Newman University; Delran, NJ) and the Clippers Adam Lawsky (University of Massachusetts Amherst; Bradley Beach, NJ) as neither pitcher gave up a run.
In the top of the sixth, the Starz offense came alive in a big way. Eric Spires (Seton Hall University; Medford, NJ) led off the inning ripping a line drive that was knocked down by the third basemen, but he was unable to make a play at first. He moved to second on a passed ball and then to third on a sac fly. With a runner in scoring position, Bobby Romano (Rutgers University- Camden; Glassboro, NJ) blasted an RBI triple to deep center that scored Spires and made the game 2-0. Michael Kendall (Kean University; Columbus, NJ) then followed it up with a single that scored Romano to give the Starz a 3-0 lead. David Moreno (Monmouth University; Voorhees, NJ) doubled over the right fielders head to put runners on second and third, and Jon Gonzales (Gloucester County College; Winslow, NJ) singled up the middle to score Kendall. Ed King (Rutgers University- Camden; Medford, NJ) added a two-RBI double that brought home Moreno and Gonzales leaving the Starz up 6-0.
The Clippers answered back in the sixth and seventh innings and would not go down easily. Brian Healy (University of Scranton; Middletown, NJ) doubled over the left fielder’s head in the sixth that scored Matthew D’Ercole (Keystone College; Warwick, NJ). In the seventh, Troy Sutton (Rutgers University- New Brunswick; Pine Brook, NJ) homered over the left field fence to make the game 6-2.
But the Starz would control the game the rest of the way both offensively and defensively. They put three more runs on the scoreboard and Zach Youngberg (Neumann University; Delran, NJ) closed out the eighth and ninth on the mound. The 9-2 win completed the sweep of the Clippers, advancing the Starz to the ABCCL championship.