GLEN RIDGE – The Glen Ridge High School varsity baseball team had a roller coaster season.
There were peaks and valleys throughout the course of the campaign.
But as the postseason began, the Ridgers found themselves climbing again, raising hopes that they could win their first sectional title in more than two decades.
Shutout victories in the first two rounds, followed by another convincing win, put the Ridgers in the championship game of the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 tournament.
But the second-seeded Ridgers couldn’t sustain that momentum, as they lost a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to top-seeded Bloomfield Tech in the sectional final at the Kiwanis Oval in Caldwell on June 3.
The Ridgers finished the season with a 12-13 record.
After the Ridgers tied the game 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning, Bloomfield Tech answered in the bottom of the fifth as starting pitcher Jonathan Toribio helped his own cause by hitting the game-winning infield single. Toribio pitched a complete game. Bloomfield Tech, which improved to 21-4, defeated Glen Ridge, 4-2, in the teams’ other meeting this season April 16 at Hurrell Field.
The Ridgers won their first three games and four of five to start the season. A five-game losing streak was followed by a four-game win streak. GRHS then lost four straight and six of seven games heading into the postseason.
But the Ridgers got back on track just in time as they managed to shut out 15th-seeded Weequahic, 10-0, in the first round and seventh-seeded Weehawken, 2-0, in the quarterfinals before finally giving up a run in the 5-1 win over 11th-seeded Secaucus in the semifinals on May 31.
The Ridgers were appearing in their first sectional final since 1994. They also was looking to win the sectional title for the first time since 1993.
Despite falling short, it was certainly a nice season for GRHS first-year head coach Liam Penberthy. The Ridgers received solid contributions from a strong senior group that included catcher Griffin Cancro, shortstop Rob Spitaletta, right fielder Mac Kotrey, center fielder Matt Buchmann, and first baseman Keeler Patton.
The Ridgers hope to build off this year’s inspirational postseason run with a good returning corps that features junior pitcher Matt Myles, junior pitcher/left fielder Max Thompson; sophomore third baseman Brian Schnack and sophomore second baseman/pitcher Owen Hannigan.