The Warren Wolverines 8U Boys Baseball Team won the 2012 Cal Ripken North Jersey title yesterday, beating the Maplewood/South Orange Cougars by a score of 10-4.
The Wolverines advanced to the final game by beating Ridge on Friday night, 5-4. That semi-final game against Ridge began on Thursday night, but was stopped in the bottom of the 2nd due to rain.
When play resumed on Friday, the score was tied 3-3 and Ridge had bases loaded with one out and a 2-0 count on their batter. That batter eventually walked giving Ridge a 4-3 lead.
Wolverine’s pitcher Kaden Everly then struck out the Ridge leadoff hitter making it two outs with bases loaded. Ridge’s next batter, Alex Kim, hit a hard groundball to the shortstop, Shane Kelly, who stepped on second base for the force out to end the inning.
Everly pitched a scoreless 3rd inning holding the Ridge lead to one. Luke Malfetti then took the mound for the Wolverines retiring all six batters he faced in the 4th and 5th innings.
In the top of the 5th, Blake Kominsky worked a walk with two outs and reached third base on a single by Dan Ittycheria. Kaden Everly then singled home Kominsky tying the game at 4.
In the top of the 6th, Luca Cianfano ripped a single to left and went all the way to third on a throwing error. Luke Malfetti followed up with a groundball to third, but the throw home was not in time as Cianfano slid safely into home giving the Wolverines a 5-4 lead.
The Wolverines' closer, Luca Cianfano, took the mound in the bottom of the 6th and had to face the 2-3-4 hitters of Ridge. Cianfano struck out the first batter and the second batter hit a groundball to the shortstop, Shane Kelly, who threw across the diamond to first baseman Ajay V. Patel for the second out.
Cianfano then struck out the final batter looking giving Warren a 5-4 win and advancing them to the State Final.
The State Finals game was played between the Warren Wolverines and the Cougars of Maplewood/South Orange.
The Wolverines struck early scoring the maximum of five runs in the top of the 1st inning. Dan Ittycheria led off with a single and was then forced out at second on a Kaden Everly ground ball. Shane Kelly walked and was followed by a Justin Helbing single which scored Everly. With Kelly and Helbing on second and third, Luca Cianfano lined a single into left driving in both. Luke Malfetti singled and was followed by a walk to Ajay H. Patel. With the bases loaded, Blake Kominsky grounded to first allowing Cianfano to score.
C.J. Stout capped off the scoring by stroking a single up the middle bringing Malfetti home to give the Wolverines an early 5-0 lead.
Luke Malfetti took the mound for the Wolverines and got off to a bumpy start as the defense made two errors allowing Maplewood/South Orange to score three runs. However, the Wolverines offense got those runs back and more in the top of the 2nd. Vincent Lee led off with a walk and later reached third on a line drive single by Ajay H. Patel. Patrick Brennan was called out looking on a borderline strike call by the home plate umpire. Dan Ittycheria then singled home Lee to make it 6-3. Kaden Everly grounded out to the pitcher allowing Patel to score.
The throw home was wild and got past the catcher allowing Ittycheria to score as well. Shane Kelly then beat out a throw from the third baseman for an infield hit. After stealing second, Justin Helbing drove him home on a double to right giving Warren a 9-3 lead. Kaden Everly came in to pitch the 2nd inning and walked the bases loaded due to a very tight strike zone by the home plate umpire.
Maplewood/South Orange’s John Grant then hit a hard line drive towards the shortstop, Shane Kelly, who snagged it for the first out of the inning leaving the bases loaded. The next batter grounded to the third baseman, Luke Malfetti, who fired home to the catcher, Vincent Lee, for the out. The next batter walked, cutting the Wolverines lead to 9-4. Everly then bore down and struck out the Cougars cleanup hitter looking to end the inning. Everly went on to pitch a scoreless 3rd inning and Malfetti shut down the Cougars in the 4th behind a strong defense that didn’t make an error for the rest of the game after the two in the 1st.
In the top of the 5th, the Wolverines tacked on an additional run when Dan Ittycheria hit his third single of the game, stole second and third, and was driven home on a hard line drive into left center by Shane Kelly making the score 10-4. The Wolverines commanding lead was more than enough for the closer, Luca Cianfano, who came in to pitch the 5th and 6th innings.
In the 5th, Cianfano struck out one and gave up two ground balls for easy outs to first. After striking out the first two batters in the bottom of the 6th, the Cougars Hunter Arnott drew a walk. With a 1-2 count on the next batter, Cianfano fired a pitch that was called a ball and the runner took off for second. However, the Wolverines catcher, Vincent Lee, was having none of that as he fired to the shortstop, Shane Kelly, who applied the sweep tag for the final out of the game giving the Warren Wolverines their first State Title in the league’s history.
With the win, the Warren Wolverines advance to the Mid-Atlantic Region Tournament which begins on Aug 3. This year’s regional tournament is being held in Basking Ridge and is made up of teams from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North and South Jersey, Eastern and Western New York as well as metro New York.
The Warren Wolverines are managed by Kevin Everly who is assisted by coaches Walter Lee, Todd Kelly and Jeff Malfetti.
Submitted by Todd Kelly.