Belleville HS 18U baseball team enjoys solid progress while finishing runner-up in league playoffs this summer

BELLEVILE, NJ – The Belleville High School 18U baseball team concluded the summer season on July 20 after advancing to the championship game of the Silver Division of the Essex County High School Development League.

The Bucs advanced to the finals by beating Glen Ridge in the semifinals, 9-0, July 18. Justin Klus pitched a complete game shutout. “Justin has been impressive this summer,” said summer head coach Derek Lombardi. “Justin can be strong starter on the varsity team next spring for (head) coach (Joe) Sorce.”

The offense was led by Anthony Liggins, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

The Bucs lost in the finals to West Orange, 8-4. “Danny Pinedo started the game and ran into some bad luck,” said Lombardi of the hurler. “Danny will be a top pitcher for the varsity next spring.”

Belleville will take a couple of weeks off and then begin getting ready for the fall season.

“Although we lost in the finals, and it would have been nice to win, it’s not really about that,” said Lombardi. “The players gained a lot of valuable experience and made tremendous progress.”

Lombardi highlighted a few key players on the team.

“Evan Torres is getting better every game,” Lombardi said. “He has a strong throwing arm and is getting more consistent at the plate. Anthony Liggins is becoming a force at the plate. Derek Lombardi is developing into a pitcher who constantly throws strikes, as well as catching and playing all three outfield positions. Derek also played some second and shortstop. Juistino Cerere is developing into a steady infielder, who is constantly on base. Brandon Sagrista pitched eight innings in relief without giving up a hit.

“Overall, I was very happy with the growth of the team as they played error-free baseball in most of the games, making very few errors overall.”