Pascack Valley wins pitchers’ battle over Demarest by Greg Mattura of The Record
HILLSDALE – Riley Weis eclipsed 100 pitches for Pascack Valley and so it was time for the right-hander to take a seat after six innings.
In came Nick Verost, and the closer did not allow Northern Valley at Demarest to put the ball in play.
“I had confidence to leave it in my boy Nick Verost’s hands to shut them down to win the ballgame,” Weis said after Pascack Valley won a pitchers’ battle, 2-1, Wednesday in Big North National Division baseball.
Weis had confidence, allowing four singles, walking three and striking out five to earn the win. Verost, also a senior right-hander, struck out the first two batters in the seventh, issued a walk, then ended it with a strikeout.
Weis was the first pitcher for Pascack Valley (6-1) to crack 100 pitches this season, credited with 104. There was no way he was coming out for the seventh on a damp afternoon in April.
“Riley bulldogged all day long,” Pascack Valley coach Will Lynch said. “He’s given us two very good starts in a row now. He knew we wanted the [five innings], and we were going to give him the sixth, and we were going to try to hold on for Verost for the seventh if we had to get there.”
Weis and Verost needed to pitch well because senior Jaime Gonzalez pitched almost as well for NV/Demarest. Over his six innings, the right-hander allowed two earned runs against a team that two days earlier had beaten his Norsemen, 12-0. Gonzalez allowed five hits, walked three and struck out six.
“To shut down that offense, like he did today, make them get out of their zone, like he did, just shows if you’re effective in the zone at the this level, with a breaking ball and a fastball, and he works in his change-up, you can be OK,” said Norsemen coach Marc Houser.
“[Gonzalez] kept us off balance,” Lynch said. “We’ve been hitting the ball well lately, and he kept us down to where we had to scrap a little bit to fight this one out.”
Pascack Valley scored twice in the third thanks to a pair of doubles, a walk, and a sacrifice fly. The doubles came from seniors Alex Criscuolo and Frank Cascio, who both had two hits.
Criscuolo may be one of North Jersey’s best No. 9 hitters. He led off the third with a double to deep center, moved to third on a groundout and scored on the double by senior Cascio. Senior Jack DeVanna drove in Cascio on a sacrifice fly.
Weis had a brief bout with his control in the fourth and it cost him a run. Facing the bottom of the order, Weis issued back-to-back walks, with the second coming with the bases loaded, scoring sophomore Matt Hefter from third and giving junior Endrit Kaleci an RBI.
Weis escaped trouble in the sixth. With two outs and runners on first and second via a pair of singles, Weis induced an inning-ending strikeout.
“I just went out there, had to throw first-pitch strikes, get them in 0-and-2 counts, try to put them away,” Weis said. “I had a lot of confidence in my defense to make the plays, so it was just ground balls and fly balls and I’d be fine.”
“Our pitcher gave us an opportunity to win a baseball game,” Houser said, “but four times with runners in scoring position we were striking out, and you can’t beat a team like that.”