Cavaliers win it all
It had been a few years, but the East Rutherford Cavaliers (10-4, 2-3) regained the championship title of their own Easter tournament Friday night at McNair Field with a 10-5 win over Alexander Central.
“This is something we haven’t won in the last 3-4 years, I almost thought we should name it after South Caldwell they won it so many times,” East head coach Bobby Reynolds joked after the win.
The Cougars threatened in the first with runners on the corners and one out, but East Rutherford starter Brock Helton settled in and retired the next two batters to end the inning untouched.
East got two hits in the bottom half of the frame but couldn’t muster any runs.
Alexander got to Helton in the second inning. After he walked the leadoff man, the Cougars strung together three straight singles. The hits along with a series of East Rutherford errors and wild pitches led to a 3-0 lead for Alexander Central.
The Cavs answered with a rally of their own in the bottom of the third inning.
Starting at the top of the order, Tripp Hamrick walked to lead off the rally. Then Logan Hawkins blasted a triple to the right field corner to score Hamrick and a John Bennett base hit into right field plated Hawkins. Then Jordan Strickland chased Bennett with a double to left to tie the score at 3-3.
The East bats stayed hot as Chase Jenkins, Will Randall and Brandon Wellmon put together another series of hits. After the East Rutherford onslaught finally ended, they sent 13 batters to the plate, recorded eight hits, chased two pitchers off the mound and scored nine runs to go ahead 9-3.
“We got that big inning and it was something we haven’t had all year,” Reynolds said. “We hit the ball well and were able to score a bunch of runs ... it’s refreshing to see some hits.”
The Cougars chipped away at the Cavalier lead in the fifth with two singles and a triple, but timely outs only allowed the Cougars to score one run in the inning.
East got the run back in the bottom half of the frame when Logan Hawkins scored from third on a failed double-play attempt by Alexander Central to restore the six-run lead at 10-4.
Dylan Cromer took the mound for East to start the sixth but was quickly pulled after giving up a triple and a double to the first two Cougar batters of the inning. Wellmon took the bump and stopped the bleeding to preserve a 10-5 lead.
Needing a big rally in the seventh, the Cougars put runners on the corners but Wellmon slammed the door to seal the 10-5 win and the 2013 East Rutherford Easter Tournament Championship.
“We were able to live off those nine runs and hold them off,” Reynolds said. “It was a long week and we’re happy to get three wins.”
Bennett, Strickland and Randall led the Cavs with three hits apiece while Hawkins and Jenkins each had two.
East returns to regular season play Tuesday at Chase. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.