Governor Livingston baseball off to a 3-0 start

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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — Not getting too excited about a win in baseball is just as important as moving a runner over or completing an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Governor Livingston High School began 3-0 last week and outscored the opposition by a whopping 34-2 margin.

However, the teams Governor Livingston beat, Oratory Preparatory School, Union High School and Morristown High School, all began the week with 0-3 starts.

It was a good beginning for the Highlanders, no doubt, but one that Governor Livingston will temper a bit.

“We’ve gotten off to a nice start, but that doesn’t mean anything now,” Governor Livingston head coach Chris Roof said.

This week’s schedule began with a game at New Providence High School on Tuesday, April 9, continued with a home game against Arthur L. Johnson High School on Wednesday, April 10, and will continue with home games against Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School on Friday, April 12, at 4 p.m. and vs. Lyndhurst High School on Saturday, April 13, at 2 p.m.

Governor Livingston opened with a 10-2 home win against Oratory Prep on Monday, April 1, and then downed Union 10-0 at Union on Friday, April 5. Win No. 3 was a 14-0 triumph at Morristown on Saturday, April 6.

“We have a one-game mentality,” Roof said. “Our focus is always on our present opponent and then only shifts to our next.”

The win over Union was Roof’s 450th. This is his 20th season as the head coach at his high school alma mater, Governor Livingston, after serving as head coach at Millburn High School for three years, from 2001 to 2003. Roof, who played for his mentor Bill Howard at Governor Livingston, is a 1992 Governor Livingston grad who just turned 50 in November.

Roof is the fifth winningest baseball coach in Union County history. The list goes: Bob Brewster of Westfield High School at 655 wins, Ray Korn of Roselle Catholic High School and Elizabeth High School–Frank J. Cicarell Academy at 651 wins, Gordon LeMatty of Union High School at 641 wins and current Cranford High School head coach Dennis McCaffery at 500 wins as of Monday, April 8.

Next week’s slate for the Highlanders begins with a game vs. Summit High School on Tuesday, April 16, at 4 p.m., continues with another home game against Elizabeth on Wednesday, April 17, at 4 p.m., and extends with an Autism Awareness game vs. Middlesex High School on Saturday, April 20, at 1 p.m., at North Brunswick’s Community Park.

Governor Livingston was only scored on in one of its first 19 innings, when Oratory Prep produced both of its runs in the top of the fourth of the season-opener. Since then, Governor Livingston held its opponents scoreless in 15 straight innings heading into the scheduled game at New Providence on Tuesday, April 9.

Against Oratory Prep in the season-opener, up on the hill in Berkeley Heights, starter Matt Diskin threw one-hit ball for six innings, striking out five, walking one and hitting one batter in a 72-pitch winning effort.

Governor Livingston extended a 4-2 lead with four runs in the fourth inning and its final two in the sixth. Matthew Shaffer was 3-for-4 with three runs and three singles. Alex Adornato was 2-for-3 with a run and three RBI. Both of his hits were doubles.

Zach Geertsma went 3-for-4, scored two runs and drove in a run at Union. He banged out a single and two triples. Dylan Gardner was 1-for-3 with a run and two RBI.

Keith Mann earned the mound victory, tossing 63 pitches in a four-inning stint. He allowed two hits, struck out seven and walked one. Ben Smookler struck out two batters in the fifth.

The Highlanders led 3-0 going into the top of the seventh at Morristown, when they broke out with an 11-run inning. Dominic Labisi and Adornato both produced three hits.

Labisi was 3-for-5, with one run and one RBI, and Adornato was 3-for-4, with two runs and one RBI. Shaffer, Michael Novotny and Gardner each connected for two hits.

Novotny pitched the first five innings for the win, striking out nine, walking none and hitting four batters. Anthony DeNora and Vinny Graham each pitched one scoreless inning.

Governor Livingston began the week 0-0 in Watchung Division play, since its wins were against Mountain Division foes Oratory Prep and Union and out-of-county opponent Morristown.

The seven-schools Watchung Division this year includes Cranford, Governor Livingston, Arthur L. Johnson, New Providence, Scotch Plains–Fanwood, Summit and Westfield.

The Union County Conference also has Jonathan Dayton, Elizabeth, David Brearley, Union Catholic, Oratory Prep, Roselle Catholic and Union in the Mountain Division and Roselle Park, Hillside, Linden, Plainfield and Rahway in the Valley Division.

File Photos