The Toms River South Indians defeated the Triton Mustangs 7-3 to advance to the South Jersey Group III Semifinals on Friday. Anthony Carfora and Ray Liguori combined for 9 strikeouts, but it was the big bats of TRS that produced 7 runs and 10 hits overall.
In the first two innings it seemed like these teams were going to be deadlocked. TRS got singles from Austin Gonella and Carfora, but Triton pitcher Pat Ryder would have his way as three hitters would fly out.
Anthony Carfora got off to a hot start, pitching a 1-2-3 first inning, and striking out two batters in the second. Triton would leave the field with two runners on after getting a single from Jesse Ludwick, and a double from Dylan Gallagher.
One thing I can say about the TRS offense, is that they don’t stay cold for long. The third inning proved to be the momentum changer in this game.
Triton pitcher Pat Ryder got into trouble after walking two batters, and Jake Ryan hit an RBI single. This would set the stage for the big hit that would turn the game. Ray Liguori stepped into a pitch and on 3-2 count blasted a grand slam into left field that went all the way into the woods. Just like that, TRS cruised to a 5-0 lead and Triton were on there heels.
Dylan Gallagher would fight back, ripping a solo home run in the fourth to put the Mustangs on the board. Gallagher also hit a double in the second and was consistent for Triton.
The Indians would continue their powerful surge into the bottom of the fourth. Corey Nase drilled a solo home run 330 feet into the edge of left field. TRS also got singles from Gonella, Carfora, and Ryan Shiffer. TRS added another run as Austin Gonella scored after Ryder overthrew the catcher at home. TRS would take a 7-1 lead and it was going to take a miracle for Triton to come back and win.
Anthony Carfora would exit the game with a 7-1 lead, throwing 86 pitches and striking out 4. It would be up to another ace, Ray Liguori to protect the lead. Liguori has been very strong on the mound all year for the Indians.
Triton would score on a throwing error, and also got an RBI single from Dan Venella, but Ray Liguori would work through the jam, striking out 2 to get through the 5th. Triton had the lead down to 7-3.
Liguori would continue his strong performance through the 6th, striking out two more batters, but it was Jake Ryan who made the biggest play of the inning. Pat Ryder blasted a long shot that nearly went to the wall, but Ryan used his athleticism to make the grab, and end the inning.
Triton would have one last opportunity, and looked to be taking advantage of that. Darren Aupperle hit a ground ball that was overthrown. Aupperle would get to 1st on the error. Ray Liguori walked Jesse Ludwick, and all of a sudden Triton had two runners on. However, Dan Vanella would fly out, and Liguori would take down Dylan Gallagher on strikes.
TRS only needed one more out, and the crowd waited as Tyrique Carrey stepped to the plate. Carrey would never get a chance, as TRS picked the runner off first to end the game. The crowd went nuts, and TRS was headed to the SJ Group III Semifinals with a 7-3 victory.
Ray Liguori had the hit heard around Ocean County on Friday. Liguori crushed the 3rd inning grand slam far enough to hit the County Jail. He finished 2/3 and pitched the final 2 and 2/3 innings, earning a save with 5 strikeouts.
Anthony Carfora picked up the win for the Indians, pitching over 4 innings and finishing with 4 strikeouts. Carfora now has the last two decisions in a row for TRS.
Corey Nase finished 1/2 and hit a solo home run in the 4th.
Austin Gonella also had a great day for the Indians, finishing a perfect 3/3 with 3 singles and a run scored. Gonella has been dependable as a lead off hitter all year.
Jake Ryan continued to do what he does best and hit consistently. Ryan finishes 2/2 with 2 singles and an RBI.
Next up for the Indians will be the SJ Group III Semifinals where they will take on the #2 seeded defending Group III State Champion Mainland Mustangs. Mainland defeated Highland 3-2 in the quarterfinals. Tyler Wray was the hero in that one, with a game winning 2 run double. This will surely be quite the contest with two of the best programs in the state.
TRS will also be back on the field tomorrow for a non divisional game with St Rose. This is also a great match up worth checking out! First pitch at 11 AM.