Raiders Capture Final Home Game Win Against Dumont
This past Thursday, May 18th, the Raiders beat Dumont 9-4 in their last home game of the season. This matchup was crucial because it determined the Raider’s seed in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament (NJSIAA). Now granted, sitting at a then 5-14 record wasn’t going to determine if they would be a top-five seed, however, it would put them at a lower seed with a potential home game later on in the tournament. Heading into Thursday’s matchup, Dumont was ranked second in the Big North American division and Nutley was ranked sixth in the SEC American division.
High school baseball only plays a regulation of seven innings per game, which is what this match needed. Senior Mike Zitola pitched all seven innings, throwing 109 pitches, striking out ten batters, and allowing four hits and only four runs. Along with his strong performance on the mound, the fielding by the Raider defense, which started off shaky, eventually did well. Over the last five games, the Raiders combined for only 23 hits, most of which didn’t bring in any runs. However, it was time for redemption.
There were no hits in the first inning for the Dumont Tigers; in fact, it only took just 6 minutes for Nutley to get up to bat. The Raiders struck first with hits by Erik Thompson, Justin Ciffeli, and Brandon Lucia which drove in one run at the bottom of the first inning. Then, the Tigers were up to attempt to even the match. Dumont was on fire in the second inning with base hits and even a solo home run by junior pitcher Ethan Chiaramonte which gave them a 3-1 lead. The Raiders managed to drive in another run with hits by Zitola, Derek Lanza, and Drew Slomkowski, cutting the deficit to just one run. The third inning had both teams score one run, making now a 4-3 Dumont lead. The fourth inning was quiet for both sides, but the Raiders hit their stride once they reached the fifth. Along with a few walks and even a balk (when a pitcher makes an illegal motion on the mound that the umpire deems to be deceitful to the baserunners), seniors Lanza and Zitola, junior John Briehoff, and sophomore Drew Slomkowski all hit the ball deep into the outfield, allowing four runs to score. This gave the Raiders a 7-4 advantage over the Tigers. Nutley later tacked on two more runs, leading to a final score of 9-4 in favor of the Raiders.
Prior to the game, the Raiders honored the 1993 baseball team for winning the Greater Newark Tournament (GNT). This ceremony celebrated the 30-year anniversary of their accomplishments.
Nutley’s season will conclude on Tuesday, May 23, on the road against Old Tappan High School.