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Matrix Dominates Championship Round, Sweeping Aces to Take Home the ABCCL Title

Aug 05 2017 ABCCL League News | Comments Off on Matrix Dominates Championship Round, Sweeping Aces to Take Home the ABCCL Title

2017 ABCCL champions New Brunswick Matrix celebrate their resounding victory after sweeping the Jersey Aces in the seasons final playoff round.

By Emily Winter

Ewing, NJ – The New Brunswick Matrix and Jersey Aces faced off Saturday afternoon for a Championship Round doubleheader. Having captured first place in the ABCCL regular season and defeated the North River Superstars and NJ Angels in the earlier playoff rounds, the Matrix more than lived up to expectations, shutting out the Aces in both games, 12-0 and 10-0 to sweep the series.

An early lead helped propel the Matrix to victory in Game One. In the bottom of the first, Anthony Perconte (Westfield, NJ/ Rutgers U-Newark, NJ) drew a lead-off walk. After stealing second and tagging up on Nick LoGatto’s (Helmetta, NJ/ New Jersey City University, NJ) fly out, Perconte scored from third on Danny Valerio’s (Tinton Falls, NJ/ Southeastern University, FL) groundout. The single run was just the beginning of a championship performance from the Matrix.

In the second inning, the Matrix added two runs to their lead. Dave Cardona (Elizabeth, NJ/ The College of New Jersey, NJ) led off with a line drive single on the first pitch he saw. Matt Leviton (South River, NJ/ Utica College, NY) followed with a fly ball that was misplayed for an error and Austin Chaszar (Bordentown, NJ/ Keystone College, PA) drew a walk to load the bases. Another walk would allow Cardona to cross the plate bringing the score to 2-0. RJ Fanelli (Hillsborough, NJ/ Rowan University, NJ) grounded out on the next play, but Leviton crossed the plate on the roller, giving the Matrix their third run of the game.  

The Matrix continued their hot hitting in the third. LoGatto walked, advanced to second on Valerio’s double to left field, and scored after tagging up on Zach Marzano’s (Edison, NJ/ East Stroudsburg University, PA) fly out. Cardona followed with a single, scoring Valerio, and the team tacked on another run on Austin Chaszar’s (Bordentown, NJ/ Keystone College, PA) RBI single, upping the Matrix lead to 6-0.

Perconte drew yet another walk in the fourth, stole second and moved to third on an overthrown ball attempting to catch him in the act. LoGatto’s line drive to left would score Perconte giving the Matrix a commanding 7-0 lead.

With two outs late in the fifth, Fanelli reached first on an Aces’ fielding error, scoring Leviton who had previously walked and advanced to third on Chaszar’s single. The Matrix was well on the way to a win but they still had more offense left in the tank.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Matrix added three runs when Fanelli and LoGatto both stroked singles and Perconte drew a walk. Bases were loaded for Valerio whose triple gave the Matrix their final three runs of Game 1 and a resounding 12-0 victory.

Hoping to reverse their fortunes in Game Two, the Aces held their own in the beginning of the contest but with their pitching seriously depleted by two drawn-out opening round series, could not stem the offensive Matrix tide.

The Matrix first struck in the top of the third as Fanelli, Perconte, and LoGatto ripped singles past the Aces’ defense to gain a quick 1-0 advantage. Valerio brought in another runner, Perconte, on his line drive to center and Marzano followed suit, roping a single that scored LoGatto.

The Aces continued to battle, but were unable to put a dent in the Matrix’ near flawless machine. Drew Ryback (Mantua, NJ/ Rowan University, NY), provided the only offensive punch for the Aces, going 3 for 3 on the afternoon.

Leviton scored his first run of Game 2 in the top of the fourth after singling, stealing second, and crossing the plate on Slawinski’s ground ball that was misplayed for an error. The bats remained hot for the Matrix as Fanelli and Perconte struck singles to load the bases for LoGatto whose double brought home both Fanelli and Perconte.

The attack continued in the top of the fifth when, after being hit by a pitch and advancing to third on a double by Leviton, Cardona tallied the Matrix’ sixth run tagging up on Slawinski’s sac fly.

It was more of the same in the sixth when LoGatto led off with a walk, stole second and scored on Marzano’s double. Continuing the momentum, Marzano and Cardona added their second runs of Game 2, extending the Matrix lead to 9-0.

With the result no longer in doubt, Leviton led off the ninth with a single, advanced to second on Chaszar’s single, stole third, and tagged up on Slawinski’s fly out giving the Matrix their final run in the 2017 ABCCL season and cementing a 10-0 championship-clinching win.

“I am really proud about the way we went about our business from the first pitch to the last pitch of the season,” said Coach Glenn Fredricks after receiving his 2017 ABCCL Jerry Lillis Championship trophy. “For college kids, it’s hard to find serious commitment in the summer these days and our guys did an outstanding job. Our offense was terrific all season and while our pitchers may have been overlooked a little bit, we were deep on the mound.  To have that kind of depth was huge. While the Aces came up short today, they were very game and never quit despite the scores. We were not about to take them lightly. We learned an important lesson from the Angels in our game yesterday. They gave us a good scare. It reminded us that in baseball, anything can happen, and probably will. So you need to concentrate, play smart and strive for consistency in all aspects of the game. I think we did that very well all year and this Championship is the result.”