Jim Rosa @jrosa519
Today marked another day closer as we inch our way closer to the end of the NJSIAA baseball season.
At Toms River North High School, game one of the South Jersey Group 4 semi-finals was underway. Both games featured three of the top four seeds in the bracket.
As for the Williamstown Braves, they came in as the three seed and paired up against the two seeded Mariners squad from Toms River.
Coming into the game the Mariners offense had been rolling and considered by many to have one of the best lineups in the Shore Conference.
Someone must have forgot to tell that to Denny Brentley, the Braves standout junior pitcher.
In a complete game effort he allowed only four hits and zero walks. His team simply needed to score in which they themselves scored six to break open the game.
The offense started in the first inning of the ball game. Toms River North pitcher Ryan Larsen issued a walk to second baseman Dan Musilli. Once Williamstown had a man on a pass ball allowed Musilli to advance.
The next batter was catcher Ross Micka. After getting ahead of him, Larsen was able to strike him out swinging.
Micka, however, was able to reach base will a great hustle down the first base line after the ball could not be handled cleanly by TRN catcher Owen Sulfrain. Once again Musilli would also take a base.
Then, with only one out in the in the inning and Musilli on third a chopper to short off the bat off Zach Martinez drove in Mussilli for a 6-3 RBI putout . The ball was hit too slow which allowed Micka to advance to third.
This gave way to the 5th hitter in the lineup, Tyler Apt, who drilled a two out single driving home Micka. The score was now 2-0 Williamstown before North would even come to bat.
As for North they had limited chances. Bentley struck out 7 with 4 coming at the end of the game.
His two best innings of the day came in the fifth and sixth as he completed both innings in just 20 pitches giving up one hit and one walk.
The most questionable play of the day came in the first inning when TRN third baseman Joe rose hit one down the third base line. It was not fielded properly at third base.
However, the ball did hit glove. Subsequently the home book had ruled a hit for Joe Rose. This was the first charged hit against Bentley.
In the end it did not affect him as all of his hits given up were spread out and he was helped by some great defense.
This included a few great plays by shortstop Tommy Gibson as he showed off his great arm. Also, in the fifth inning a sensational diving catch by Jaime Mick prevented North from gaining any momentum.
Most importantly it kept North from obtaining baserunners and eventually driving them in. As the game went on Williamstown would continue to use their speed and hitting abilities to get men on base and advance them.
The Braves would go on to score four more runs throughout the game. Multiple stolen bases by Nick D’ Allesandro put him in scoring position twice.
This would allow for RBI opportunities from Ross Micka as he also drilled a two run home run over the wall in left field. This would essentially end the day for Ryan Larsen as Doug Mulnar finished out the game for TRN. Nick D’ Allesandro also contributed with a RBI base hit in the first inning.
The final score was 6-0. Williamstown will now host Cherokee in the South Jersey Group 4 sectional final. That game will be on Friday.