The Long Valley Boys 14U Wolfpack travel baseball team showed its strength to area teams recently, winning the Memorial Day Weekend Tournament over the top-seeded Mt. Olive squad.
Despite starting the tournament with a loss to Mt. Olive, the Wolfpack battled back and worked its way to the title game. Below is a recap from the coaching staff of the team’s performance from the weekend.
The Long Valley Wolfpack 14U travel team began the Mount Olive Memorial Day tournament on the Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend with a tough loss to rival Mount Olive. After victories over Andover and a tie with Sparta they entered the playoffs with a 1-1-1 record and the #3 seed.
On Memorial Day the team began the day against Sparta, the #2 seed. The combination of pitchers Bryce Sokolowski and Chris Gutowski and battery mate Tom Pellegrino along with solid defense from the Wolfpack squad held the Sparta bats in check allowing only 1 run through 6. Sparta however was up to the challenge holding the Wolfpack to only one run of their own, an RBI single by Sokolowski in the 3rd, scoring Grant Jenkins.
In the seventh inning Sparta struck with the tying run, forcing extra innings. In the top of the 8th, Jenkins singled and then stole second. He proceeded to third on a fielder’s choice and Patrick Harrington drove home the go ahead run on a sacrifice fly, giving the Wolfpack the 2-1 lead they would not relinquish and sending them to the tournament championship game.
Following their victory there was little time off as the team moved to Mount Olive HS to face #1 Mount Olive in the tournament finals. Pitcher Patrick Harrington held the Mt. Olive team in check for the first three innings as the score remained 0-0 heading into the top of the fourth. In the top of the 4th the Wolfpack bats came alive as they posted 6 runs, keyed by Harrington, Cory Wanic, Pellegrino, and Trey Zgombic.
Mt. Olive answered with 7 runs in the bottom of the fourth. Jenkins and Sokolowski came on in relief and kept the game close allowing only a run in the 5th . Down 8-6, the Wolfpack answered with two runs in the top of the 6th keyed by RBIs from Ryan Hall and Jacob McFarland. With the score tied entering the 7th the Wolfpack bats struck again, delivering five runs on 5 hits keyed by Hall’s second RBI of the game and two more from McFarland (who finished with 3 hits and 5 RBIs in the game), Joey Bietka’s offense was critical in the team’s success delivering a 3 for 3 day with 3 runs scored.
In the bottom of the 7th Cory Wanic stepped to the mound with a runner at first and a 13-8 lead and retired the next three batters to secure the championship.
Players on the team are: Joey Bietka, Cory Wanic, Trey Zgombic, John Hartman, Jacob McFarland, Bryce Sokolowski, Ryan Hall, Chris Gutowski, Grant Jenkins, Patrick Harrington, Tom Pellegrino and Matt Schroeder. Coaches are head coach John Gutowski, and Assistant Coaches Ted Sokolowski and John Zgombic.