Angels Halt Rally, Force Decisive Game Three with Matrix

Aug 03 2017 ABCCL League News | Comments Off on Angels Halt Rally, Force Decisive Game Three with Matrix

By: Matt Lamb

 North Brunswick, NJ – The New Jersey Angels were able to outlast some consistent rain on Thursday night at North Brunswick Community Park, as well as a late run by the New Brunswick Matrix, to win 6-5 and force a critical game three between the two, with the Jerry Lillis Cup Championship Series looming in the balance.

Coming in as the number seven seed out of eight ABCCL teams, the Angels upset last year’s champions and this year’s number two seed, the Freehold Clippers, in a two-game sweep in round one. Now they have an opportunity to take down the League’s number one seeded Matrix. In Tuesday’s game the Angels were able to get runs across versus the Matrix, and together with some solid pitching, turn the tables on the team from New Brunswick after being shut out 9-0 in the series opener.

New Brunswick’s Stephen Bloyed and Dave Cardona meet during the fourth inning on Thursday night, while the Angels’ Steven Weisensee looks on from first base.

“We knew today was a win of go home situation and we all wanted to extend the summer here. Fortunately we got a big showing in order to keep playing,” said Angels Head Coach Fred DeFrance. “We knew we were facing the best team in the League, and since we got a great pitching performance, we just rolled from there.”

The Angels got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning. Kyle Oliver (Bernardsville, NJ/ Sacred Heart University, CT) got a single to drop into shallow center field to score Luke Bowerbank (Bernardsville, NJ/ Rutgers University-New Brunswick).  They would extend their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third after Dom Magliaro (Fairfield, NJ/ County College of Morris, NJ) lifted a ball over the center fielder’s head, which rolled to the fence, resulting in a two-run triple.

The Matrix produced its first run in the top of the fourth, when Zach Marzano (Edison, NJ/ East Stroudsburg University, PA) scored on a groundout. With a runner still on base with one out, Angels starting pitcher Zach Frederick (Montville, NJ/ Wilmington University, DE) got two more groundouts to end the inning for the Angels with a 3-1 lead.

The rain also began to pick up in the fourth inning, and in the bottom half, the Angels extended their lead. Two walks put Alex Cappitelli (North Caldwell, NJ/ Wesleyan College, CT) and Steven Weisensee (Clark, NJ/ Misericordia University, PA) on base. With two outs, third baseman Aidan Favia (Short Hills, NJ/ Monmouth University, NJ) drilled a home run to right field to give the Angels a 6-1 advantage.

Heading into the fifth inning, there was a 15-minute delay when the rain was at its worst. Once it eased up, the teams returned to the field, as the Angels continued fighting to stave off elimination. Magliaro continued to flash the leather at shortstop, turning a key double play to end the top of the fifth, and Frederick turned in a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.  Frederick finished his night with six innings pitched, allowing three hits, one unearned run, and recorded one strikeout.

Late in the game, the momentum started to shift to New Brunswick. After Matrix ace Stephen Bloyed (North Brunswick, NJ/ Rutgers University-Camden) exited the game after four innings, Greg Sampson (East Brunswick, NJ/ Rutgers University-Newark) put in a great relief effort. Over four innings of work, he allowed just one hit and no runs to go with five strikeouts.

The Matrix offense really woke up in the top of the seventh inning, with three straight RBI hits, resulting in three runs.  Alex Slawinski (Carteret, NJ/ St. Peter’s University, NJ) singled with two outs to drive in a run and make the game 6-2.  A double from RJ Fanelli (Hillsborough, NJ/ Rowan University, NJ) scored Austin Chaszar (Bordentown, NJ/ Keystone College, PA) and advanced Slawinski to third, cutting the lead to 6-3.  The next batter, Anthony Perconte (Westfield, NJ/ Rutgers University-Newark), drove in Slawinski with a single to right to close the gap to 6-4 but an inning-ending lineout to third left two runners in scoring position.

The Matrix kept the game interesting, however, creating one final chance in the ninth with Mike Decker (Montgomery, NJ/ Rowan University, NJ) on third and Chaszar on first with one out.  Chaszar took off for second following a strikeout and slid in safely and Decker scored from third after the throw, cutting the deficit to one run, 6-5.  But a groundout to Magliaro at shortstop ended the game, allowing the Angels to see another day and leaving both teams at the brink of elimination.  Angels’ reliever Dylan Crowley (Basking Ridge, NJ/ The College of New Jersey) recorded the six-out save, giving Frederick the win and Bloyed the tough loss.

“I like our chances,” DeFrance said.  “We have Mike Walley (Yardly, PA/The College of New Jersey, NJ) on the mound tomorrow and he can pound the zone.  If we get the same kind of offensive performance as today, I think we’ll be in great shape.”

The rubber match of this semifinals series will take place on Friday, August 4, back at North Brunswick Community Park at 5:45 p.m. The winner of this game will advance to face either the Monmouth Monarchs or the Jersey Aces in the Jerry Lillis Cup Championship Series, beginning Saturday with a doubleheader at Moody Park in Ewing. First pitch is scheduled for 11:00 AM.