The Ridge Babe Ruth 15-year-olds, who already captured the district championship a few weeks ago, won the first game in the statewide tournament on Saturday evening. Following Sunday's rainout, the next step is to play Union City in Weehawken on Monday at 6 p.m., said team manager Peter Matarazzo.
Due to the rain, the final scheduled state championship game has been moved to Thursday, from Wednesday, Matarazzo said on Monday.
Competing against six teams from around the state, the Ridge team won 6-1 in a game against Ridgefield on Saturday night, Matarazzo said on Sunday morning.
If the team wins its next game — seeding into first place for the seedings — Ridge heads directly to the state semifinal game, Matarazzo. A loss means the 15-year-olds play will play another day.
Saturday was the opening of the State Tournament Pool Play. Six teams from around the state are competing after broken down into two divisions, American and National, with Ridge in the National divison.
The division teams will face off in combinations against each other, Matarazzo said. The Championship for the State Title, now rescheduled for Thursday, will be for the opportunity to play in the Regional Tournament, which is the last stop before the Babe Ruth World Series," Matarazzo said last Friday.
The Ridge 15U players won the Babe Ruth district championship a few weeks ago, with the two opposing teams twice invoking the tournament’s mercy rule along the way.
Last Saturday's game was a pitchers duel for the first two innings between Ridge Ace Dylan Crowley and Ridgefield's Vinny Cummella who held the potent Ridge bats in check early, according to a report forwarded by Matarazzo.
However, Ridge made the most of their opportunities in the top of the third inning. Eddie Campbell and Liam McArthur were issued one out walks and then Ryan McLaughlin singled to load the bases. Ian Solomon then plated Campbell with a single, and McArthur was brought home on Connor Scherzer fielder's choice. Ryan McLaughlin completed the scoring in the frame with a steal of home which was the front end of a perfectly executed double steal with Scherzer.
It remained that way until Ridgefield's half of the sixth inning, when Jordan Neira singled, was sacrificed to second and was brought home by number three hitter Santo Guino's single to close the gap to 3 to 1.
However, Ridge put the game away in the top of the seventh with a classic two out rally. Ryan McLaughlin and Connor Scherzer both walked and McLauglin was brought home on a single by T.J. Rusiniak to make it 4-1. Don Komondy then brought home Scherzer with a single and Rusiniak scored the final run of the contest on an error.
Crowley picked up the win with four solid innings of 1-hit ball and Ian Solomon picked up a three inning save, while he himself only gave up one hit from the mound.
The balanced Ridge offensive attack was led by McLauglin, who scored twice and McArthur and Komondy who had two hits apiece. Peter Matarazzo also picked up a hit for Ridge.
The Ridge defense was flawless in wrapping up another team victory, particularly because of Kevin Menarguez, Cole Haiback and Grant Hellings, the report said.