|VIDEO: Dreznin, Northern Highlands edge Ramapo for section title|
As the eighth seed, Northern Highlands was a definite dark horse heading into the North 1, Group III baseball sectional playoffs. But the Highlanders had the one thing most important at tournament time--quality pitching.
Zach Dreznin battled through control issues to pitch a complete game six-hitter to lead Northern Highlands to a 6-4 win over Ramapo in the sectional final. The senior, committed to play next year at Notre Dame, worked his way through a nervous final inning as he stranded the tying and winning runs on base.
Northern Highlands came out swinging in this game, scoring four times in the top of the first. Matt Dipasupil had an RBI triple, and Andrew Keenan drilled a three-run home run to cap the rally.
The Highlanders scored additional runs in the fourth and sixth. In the fourth, a trio of walks led to a run without benefit of a hit. In the sixth, Kieran Flynne doubled, then scored when Tyler Shedler-McAvoy stayed in a rundown long enough for him to scamper home.
Northern Highlands needed those runs because Dreznin ran into some trouble of his own. He walked in a run in the second, then gave up two more in the third.
K.C. Hunt started that third inning for Ramapo with a triple, and scored on Greg Latushko's RBI double. Latushko later came home on a groundout.
In the fourth, Chris Moran singled and scored on a throwing error to bring the Green Raiders within 5-4.
Second-seeded Ramapo didn't threaten again until there were two outs in the seventh and final inning, when Latushko delivered another double, sandwiched between a pair of walks. But Dreznin induced a flyout to right to end the game.
Ramapo finishes the season at 19-11.
For Northern Highlands, this North 1, Group III crown is its first baseball sectional title since 1985. The Highlanders, now 20-10, next play on Tuesday in the Group III state semifinal.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school baseball state tournament sectional final, click play in the box at left.