NUTLEY – Andrew Santos delivered an RBI squeeze bunt with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Nutley High School varsity baseball team to a thrilling 5-4 walk-off win over Seton Hall Prep, ranked No. 2 in the state, on May 18 at the Park Oval in a Super Essex Conference-American Division game.
The teams will meet again for the Essex County championship in the 84th Greater Newark Tournament final on Saturday, May 21, at Verona High School’s Doc Goeltz Field at noon.
Anthony Condito, headed to Rutgers University, singled to lead off the ninth, moved to second on Andrew Connor’s single, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Santos’ squeeze bunt.
The Raiders scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, all with two outs, to tie it 4-4 and force extra innings. Santos’ two-run single cut it to one before Connor scored on an error for the tying run.
Nick Miller and Raul Ortega each went 2-for-3 for the Raiders.
Sean Bernardo threw 1 2/3 hitless innings with one strikeout and one walk in relief for the win. Josh O’Neill allowed one run on two hits with six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings in relief.
Ryan Toohers, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI, hit a solo homer in the top of the fifth inning to put Seton Hall Prep up 4-1. Jack Zyska went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored and starting pitcher Jamil Vanheyningen threw 4 1/3 innings of two-hit ball, allowing one run while striking out seven and walking five for Seton Hall Prep.
The Raiders improved to a 17-8 record. Seton Hall Prep had its seven-game winning streak snapped and moved to 21-3.
In the first divisional meeting between the teams, Seton Hall Prep won, 9-7, April 18.