by Rachel Holtzman
The baseball team played an intense game in the Union County Tournament Quarterfinal, beating Linden 1–0 last Sunday afternoon.
Before heading into the game, the team wanted to make sure its performance mirrored previous victories against Linden. “We’ve beaten Linden twice, so the key [was] not to get overconfident,” said Coach Robert Brewster. “They have a very, very good pitcher who could beat anyone on a given day.”
The game started slowly; Linden pitcher T.J. Santiago and WHS junior pitcher Bradley DeMartino each struck out several batters. The first three innings remained scoreless as Westfield put forth a strong defensive effort, with senior Quinn Dursee catching several fly-outs in left field.
At the bottom of the fourth, the mood of the players and the crowd shifted from calm to competitive in seconds. With Westfield runners on first and second base, senior Jake Greenberg hit a double to right field, allowing senior Tri-Captain Liam Devin to cross home plate and give WHS its first and only run.
“We didn’t hit as much as we usually do, but we only needed one run, and Jake made a great play,” said Dursee.
Westfield kept up its defense the rest of the game. The crowd got tense after a dropped third strike enabled Linden runners to advance to first and third. Dursee, who had relieved DeMartino as pitcher, quickly struck out a batter, bringing Linden to its final out. When junior catcher Michael Ionta realized that “I would have to keep everything in front of me, or they would tie the game,” he caught a pop-fly behind home plate, giving WHS the victory.
Looking ahead, both WHS players and Brewster said that they believed scoring runs would be important in their Thursday game against Perth Amboy. Said Brewster, “Perth Amboy runs bases well and plays a very good game. In the end, we just have to score.”