Cavaliers fall in pitchers' dual
Thursday night at East Rutherford High School the air was frigid and the Cavalier bats were just as cold.
The T.C. Roberson duo of Braxton Davidson and JD Cook held the Cavs to just three hits while striking out 10 combined batters in a 3-0 win over East Rutherford.
"We had every intention of competing for seven innings and I think we did," East head coach Bobby Reynolds said after the game. "We had a chance to get a hit here and there to maybe get on the board but we didn't get them. This was just two good teams going at it."
The Cavs threatened in the bottom of the first but couldn’t manufacture any runs.
The Rams drew first blood in the top of the third by capitalizing on an East miscue.
With one out, Roberson’s Tanner Bush reached on an error by East Rutherford first baseman Trent Self. Davidson followed with a double into right field to put runners on second and third.
Bush scored on a wild pitch from Brock Helton and Davidson scored just a few pitches later on a Dominic Cammarata single into right to put Roberson up 2-0.
Helton walked the next batter but Conner Lind knocked another base hit up the middle of the infield to score Cammarata as the Rams grabbed a 3-0 lead.
Helton eventually got out of the inning but the damage was done.
From there, Helton settled in with a handful of strikeouts but the Cavalier bats struggled to find open against Davidson, the big Rams lefty.
After Helton sat down the first two batters in the top of the fourth inning with backwards Ks, Davidson matched him with a four-pitch strikeout of Self in the bottom half of the frame.
Davidson left the game and Cook, another southpaw, took the mound for the Rams starting in the fifth inning. Unfortunately for East, the results were the same. Cook retired the Cavs I order in the fifth and sixth innings.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Helton began to unravel giving up a base hit, hitting the next batter and walking the next to load the bases. Luckily, he got Nate Blaylock to ground out to second base to end the threat and give the Cavs a chance in the bottom of the seventh down three runs.
Helton finished the night allowing two earned-runs on five hits while striking out eight batters.
"I thought [Helton] located all three of his pitches well," Reynolds said. "If it wasn't for that one booted ball it could've very easily have been 0-0 in the seventh."
The Cavs had their 5-6-7 batters up in the seventh but John Bennett was the only Cavalier to get solid contact on a Cook pitch, unfortunately he hit a rope directly into the mitt of the Roberson centerfielder.
Cook retired the next two batters on strikes to close out the 3-0 win.
East got one hit apiece from Self, John Padgett and Brandon Wellman.
"This game is a game where being a perfectionist is not easy to do because it's a game of failure," Reynolds said. "You have to have a little bit of amnesia to forget it and go."
East Rutherford returns to action Monday night when the host Cherryville. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.