by Mark Eisenhauer
In sports, they say it’s not about how you fall, but how you get back up. On May 12, the WHS baseball team got up in a hurry, rallying back from a 3–0 deficit to beat Union 13–3 and capture the Union County Tournament title.
WHS got off to a rocky start when senior pitcher Michael Mondon gave up a single to Union’s first hitter of the game, who would later score the game’s first run after tagging up off a deep pop fly to center field.
Union continued to pile on the pressure in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs, Union hitter Denzell Boyd crushed a ball to deep left field, scoring two runs and expanding his team’s lead to three.
The WHS bats started to produce in the top of the third, when Mondon hustled out a single. Then, Union pitcher Devin Zimmerman proceeded to walk the bases loaded, and senior first baseman Michael Coletta hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Westfield’s first run of the game.
Said Coach Bob Brewster: “You could tell there was a quiet confidence in the dugout. We knew that we were going to start hitting [Zimmerman’s pitches].”
After a quick one-two-three inning pitched by Mondon in the third, the WHS hitters produced again—this time in a big way.
Junior designated hitter Liam Devin started the offense when he ripped a single through the infield. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, junior third baseman Eric Demers hit a deep ball that resulted in two RBIs to tie the game.
The runs kept on coming with RBI hits by seniors James O’Rourke, Brett Ryan, Matt Varakian and Mondon. WHS scored a commanding 10 runs on 9 hits in the fourth to open up an 11–3 lead.
Said Mondon: “We weren’t executing like we had hoped we would, but I think that we were all a little tight and we had some nerves. But once we got in the groove of things we started playing like we could and didn’t look back from there.”
With two more runs scored in the fifth, including one driven in by senior Jon Gribbin’s sacrifice fly, WHS had reached the ten-run mercy rule.
Two more scoreless innings of pitching by Mondon, and WHS had solidified the 13–3 victory and the Union County Tournament title.
Said Demers: “Mike [Mondon] has been lights-out all year. I always know we have a shot of winning when he’s on the mound.”
WHS has now won 11 consecutive games and is gearing up for states. Said Coletta: “We have been working all year round for [States], and after this win, we are definitely ready.”
Their next game is tomorrow at 7 p.m. vs. Kinnelon at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island, NY.