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Dream Season Ends: Ridge 12s Out of LL Tourney

Basking Ridge falls to Paramus in state semis.

The dream season for the 2011 Basking Ridge 12-year-old team came to a close Friday night with a 5-4 loss to Paramus. The game, played in Wayne, was only the second loss for Ridge in the postseason, but their second in two nights.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th FINAL Ridge (2-2) 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 Paramus (3-1) 1 0 0 0 4 – 5

This game had great importance to both teams: it determined who would get the chance to play unbeaten Mendham for the North New Jersey Sectional Championship. Both were coming from the loser's bracket, each having lost a game. Both teams logged three run home runs–Ridge in the third inning and Paramus in the fifth.

Ridge starting pitcher Matt Rusiniak pitched two innings, holding Paramus to one run and giving up two hits and two walks in the game. He was relieved by Tyler Starr, who held Paramus scoreless until the fifth inning, when Paramus rallied on the strength of the eventual game-winning home run by Danny Criscione. 

Paramus starter Nick Denigris pitched five strong innings, holding Ridge to a single inning of scoring in the third and coming back to hold off a potential rally in the fifth inning. James Rendine came in to close out the game for Paramus, giving up two hits, but striking out two in the sixth inning with Ridge baserunners on second and third.

Ridge has relied heavily on its success at the plate and it looked like the offense would come through again Friday night. Matt Rusiniak went 3-for-4 and scored a run to lead Ridge. Mike Ardiff went 2-for-3 with a massive three-run home run in the third inning. Kevin Walker went 2-for-4 in the game and scored a run. 

Paramus got key hitting from Conor Heim who was 3-for-3 and scored a run. Mike Daniele was 2-for-2 with a double and a single and scored a run. The game-changer came in the fifth inning from Danny Criscione who was 1-for-3 in the game, but rocked a three-run homer that traveled over the center field scoreboard.


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