After opening up District play with a 20-0 loss to Matawan and dropping their next two contests to go 0-3, no one could possibly think they’d bounce back and not only win the Districts with 3 straight wins, but then also go undefeated in the States to capture the 2014 Northern NJ State Championship; no one except manager Tony Klich.
“I felt if we could just get that 1st win to qualify for the play-offs, we could do something,” he said. “Once we did, I believed we could pull off the impossible.”
Bayonne completed an undefeated State Tournament in grand style when Julian Gonzalez broke a 3-3 tie with Edison in the bottom of the sixth with a towering walk-off grand slam to give Bayonne a 7-3 victory on its own turf at The Yard at Haddad Stadium. The win gave Bayonne a berth in the upcoming Cal Ripken 11u Regionals in Hockessin, Delaware.
Bayonne will play Maryland, Eastern NY, North Pennsylvania, and Metro NY in a four game pool play with hopes of earning a berth in the playoffs.
Edison drew first blood with a run on three hits off Justin O’Connor in the first, but Bayonne answered right back with an unearned run in the bottom to tie it. They would take a 2-1 lead in second when Dane Lucarelli had an RBI single. They increased it to 3-1 in the fourth when Gonzalez (3-for-3 with 5 RBI’s) hit his first homerun of the game, a solo shot. Bayonne was one out away from victory when Edison’s Danny Marauth stroked a clutch 2-run double to tie the game in the sixth. In the bottom of the inning, three consecutive hits from Justin O’Connor, Anthony Klich, Jr., and Aidan Calcaterra set up the heroics for Gonzalez, delivering Bayonne Ripken’s fourth State Championship in its history.
After losing their first three games of district play by a combined 35-8 score, Bayonne would manage to squeeze into the play-offs with a victory over Holmdel. That gave them the privilege of facing the 3-time defending State Champion Power house, Manalapan, who they had never beaten in 4 years. O’Connor pitched the game of his life, a complete game 4-hit shutout while also homering and knocking in both runs in a 2-0 win, as Bayonne would then face Matawan, the very same team that beat them 20-0, for the District title. That loss was the greatest lopsided defeat in Bayonne Ripken’s 17-year history!
“After beating Manalapan, we had no doubts that we were taking the title,” said Klich. “We knew the 1st game we played Matawan was an aberration. There was no way we were leaving there without the District banner.”
A 7-run first inning highlighted by Santiago Jimenez’s two out grand slam catapulted Bayonne to a 9-4 win. Timmy Worrell went 3-for-3 with a homerun and 3 RBI’s and Gonzalez and Teague Mulcahy combined for the pitching duties as Bayonne completed the improbable! They would take that momentum into the States where they defeated Ridge, 3-2, Edison, 6-4, and Cranford, 5-2 earning them the top seed in pool play. They defeated Chatham in the semifinals, 10-5, behind Gonzalez on the hill and Jimeniz’s HR and 5 RBI’s setting up the rematch with Edison who defeated Wayne in the semis.