Pascack Hills caps historic season with extra inning win over Raritan by Greg Mattura of The Record
HAMILTON – Pascack Hills had to make an extra effort to secure a baseball season that ranks among the greatest in the history of Bergen County public schools.
The Cowboys closed a remarkable campaign by winning the NJSIAA Group 2 title after outlasting Raritan, 3-2, in eight innings on Sunday afternoon at rainy DeMeo Field in Veterans Park.
“This is a fitting end to the season that these kids had,” Pascack Hills coach Kevin Kirkby said.
Pascack Hills (30-2) celebrated after senior reliever Jack Brodsky – who did not allow a run in the postseason – induced a game-ending, infield pop-up that was caught in foul territory by junior third baseman Mike Rodriguez.
Pascack Hills’ season rates among the finest by a Bergen County public school. The Cowboys went 30-2 and won league, Bergen County, sectional and state titles.
“No matter how much trouble we can get into in a game, we will always find a way to persevere and come out on top,” Brodsky said. “There have been several instances like that throughout the entire season, and I never had a doubt in my mind.”
“It’s an exceptional circumstance,” said junior left-hander Ryan Ramsey. “We have a group of guys here who win baseball games. That’s what we do, and we go out there with the same mentality every single game – winning baseball.”
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Pascack Hills had to scratch and claw for runs. The Cowboys grabbed their 3-2 lead in the eighth after senior Chris Lum was hit on the foot with a pitch with a full count, one out and the bases loaded. That scored Rodriguez, who led off by legging out an infield single.
Ramsey was not at his best and departed after tossing 91 pitches over four innings. The Maryland-bound Ramsey allowed just a single while striking out six, but he walked four and hit a batter. He walked in a run in the third, then followed with a wild pitch to allow Raritan to tie the score, 2-2.
“It was a tough time on the mound for me earlier,” Ramsey said. “But it’s all about the team here. We came back, we had Brodsky on the mound. We won this as a team. It wasn’t an individual, it was all as a team today.”
Brodsky was magnificent, tossing four scoreless innings in relief. Brodsky allowed two singles, struck out four and walked one. The right-hander’s biggest pitch came in the seventh, when he erased a leadoff single with a 1-6-3 double play. In the eighth, he allowed a two-out single and a walk before finishing it.
“The same old Jack Brodsky as he’s been,” Kirkby said. “He’s been unbelievable in the state tournament.”
Pascack Hills scored its first two runs in the second inning and the bottom of the order did the work. Lum, the No. 7 hitter, doubled to left to score junior Chris Curcio, who reached on an infield error. Junior Marc Hernandez, the No. 8 hitter, doubled to left-center to score Lum. The Cowboys did not get a hit over the next five innings against Raritan right-hander Zack Johnson.
Pascack Hills had to scrape in the eighth for its winning run. Rodriguez pulled a grounder into the hole on the left side and beat the throw. Junior Brandon Siegenthaler walked, and Ramsey followed with a sacrifice bunt. Curcio then walked to load the bases and Lum was hit on the foot by reliever Dan Vanmeerbeke.
Kirkby said, “We found a way to get it done.”