by Danny Kuhn
High humidity and humming cicadas did not distract the baseball team from pulling out a 2–1 win against Perth Amboy in the sectional semifinals. Although the game was low-scoring, the intensity was high. Great pitching along with a few clutch plays paved the way for the Blue Devils’ success.
Westfield got off to a good start in the bottom of the first inning, with junior Anthony Perconte hitting a line drive to be the first one to get on base. With two runners on base, junior Chris Arena went up to bat, and hit an RBI that resulted in the 1–0 lead at the end of the first inning.
Westfield had the chance to capitalize later in that inning, as the bases were loaded after Perth Amboy walked senior Jake Greenberg. However, the Blue Devils were unable to take advantage of this situation, keeping Perth Amboy close for the rest of the game.
Senior Tri-Captain Kevin Galasso pitched, blowing away several batters early and tossing a complete game.
Galasso said: “My approach against Perth Amboy was different from what I usually do. I pitched the hitters backward, which meant that I started them off with off-speed pitching, like change-ups and curveballs before throwing fastballs. They like to run a lot, so I just needed to keep them [off] the bases. I didn’t give up any walks, so my accuracy was on that day, too.”
Perth Amboy struck back during the top of the fifth inning. With two runners on base off of two consecutive singles, a sacrifice pop fly allowed Perth Amboy to score and even the score at 1–1.
The game came down to the last inning. A throwing error in the seventh inning resulted in senior Tri-Captain Eric Demers moving to second base, and then another throwing error resulted in Demers stealing third base. A walk-off bunt by Perconte in the seventh inning resulted in Demers making it to home plate for Westfield to win the game.
Junior Matt Storcks said: “Galasso had his best stuff against Perth Amboy and shut down their hitting for the whole game. Anthony Perconte came up clutch by winning the game with his suicide squeeze in the bottom of the seventh.”
The Blue Devils won their next game against North Hunterdon in the sectional finals as a result of more great pitching—this time from junior Brad DeMartino.
Storcks said, “DeMartino lead us to the victory by shutting down [North Hunterdon’s] lineup and pitching very well in one of the biggest games of his life.
According to Coach Bob Brewster, “This team is beginning to play to its potential [and] our pitching has really come of age.”
He added: “This bodes well for the rest of the season as well as next season.... Our seniors...are truly putting the team on their collective shoulders and carrying the team. Each senior has contributed in his own way to pace the team to our successes in the county and state tournaments.”
The Blue Devils carried this momentum to the Group IV Sectional Semifinal where they beat Randolph to advance to the Group IV Final. Regardless of the outcome, Brewster said that he viewed this as a successful season and has high hopes for the returning team next year.