NUTLEY, NJ – The second-seeded Nutley High School varsity baseball team defeated seventh-seeded Chatham, 4-3, in dramatic fashion in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 state tournament, May 24, at the Park Oval.
Nutley trailed 3-2 with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning when junior star Marty Higgins hit a home run to tie the score. Then with two outs, Kevin Hogan homered to give the Raiders the victory. Hogan finished 2-for-4.
Higgins got the win in relief, allowing no hits and no walks in 1 1/3 innings. Trevor Santos came in to pitch in the third inning, throwing 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief. John Luberto started the game for Nutley. He lasted two innings, allowing two hits and three runs while striking out three.
Later that day, the Raiders traveled to Yogi Berra Stadium on the campus of Montclair State University and defeated Belleville, 13-4, to improve to a 21-8 record.
In the first inning, Higgins doubled on a 1-2 count to score a run. The Raiders scored six runs in the fifth inning, led by doubles from Josh O’Neill, Higgins, Dan Caraballo, and Justin Lucia, a single by Pete Lopez, and a sacrifice fly by Hogan.
Wesley Gardner pitched Nutley to victory. He allowed one hit and no runs over two innings, striking out five and walking one. A number of pitchers entered the game in relief, with Jose Abreu, Wayne Wittmann, Lopez, and Caraballo all securing outs and ultimately the victory.
Nutley collected 10 hits on the day. Lopez, Lucia, and Higgins all managed multiple hits for the Raiders. Lopez went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead Nutley in hits.
The Raiders will host third-seeded Somerville in the North 2, Group 3 state semifinals on May 29. The winner will face either No. 1 seed West Morris or No. 4 seed Colonia in the final on June 1.