By Matt Schkolnick, Staff Writer
After another successful season, the 2014 Governor Livingston Highlander baseball season came to a close after a disappointing loss to Nutley in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 quarterfinals.
Led by senior captains Ryan Jennings, Pat Mahoney, and Nick DiSarno, the Highlanders jumped off to an incredible start to the season, eventually cracking the top 10 teams in the state. This senior-led team was able to lead the Highlanders to a 21-6 record, as well as an appearance in the Union County Championship at Kean University.
The Highlanders started the season with an outstanding 16-1 record that included wins over New Providence, Westfield, Cranford, and Dayton. Junior ace Ethan Frohman threw shutouts against Westfield and Cranford, two of the top teams in the state.
Junior third basemen Ian Lynch started off the season on a tear, winning the Star-Ledger Athlete of the Week. At one point in the season, Lynch was hitting .742 (23-31), with three home runs, seven doubles, 16 RBI’s, 15 runs, and an on-base percentage over .800. In a win over Cranford, Lynch led the team to victory going 2-2 with a double, RBI, and a run. He also got hit twice. In addition, Lynch hit a go-ahead two run double in the sixth inning to propel the Highlanders past cross-town rival New Providence.
The Highlanders also had a huge win over Dayton in the Union County Tournament semifinals. Frohman pitched an unbelievable game, as junior first basemen Mike Falk, second basemen John Tedesco, and senior shortstop Steve Duda added contributions through their hits. Falk hit a two-run triple down the right field line in the second inning and then scored on a wild-pitch. In the fourth, Duda hit an RBI single, followed by a two-run hit by Tedesco. After this game, Frohman improved to 6-0 with a 0.59 ERA.
The teams success continued leading into the state tournament with an incredible come-from-behind win over Union. After being down 4-1 in the sixth, Mike Falk delivered for his team in the clutch, hitting a two-run home run to cut down the deficit. Senior captain Ryan Jennings then doubled in the ninth inning and scored the game winning run to give the Highlanders a 5-4 win.
While there was an enormous amount of success on this years team, next year the team will look for even more. Frohman will look to continue to be one of the top pitchers in the state of New Jersey, and Lynch one of the best infielders. Also returning is first basemen Mike Falk, who came on and became an everyday starter for the Highlanders after starting off the season on the bench.
Catcher Rob Dilly will return next year and him and Frohman will attempt to continue to dominate opponents. Other players such as Ryan Zucker, John Wills, and Dan Belfer will look to make an impact next year with the loss of a majority of the starters. The Highlanders are bound for success in the 2015 season, and with the experience they have will look to win another state championship.