Union County baseball All-Stars come back, but not enough vs. Essex County; Players from both teams excel in annual Underclassmen Game at Kean

MOPs are Essex County infielder Anthony Giachin of Newark Academy and Union County catcher Dan Baroff of Governor Livingston

UNION – After six and a half innings the Union County All-Stars were down by nine runs.
Essex County scored three in the top of the third and then two more in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Union County finally broke through for two runs on errors in the bottom of the seventh to pull to within seven.
Not deterred and feeling a comeback was still possible, Union County scored four more times in the bottom of the ninth and had the tying run at the plate before Essex County finally nailed down the victory.
The Essex County All-Stars defeated the Union County All-Stars 9-6 in Monday’s 7th annual Essex-Union Underclassmen All-Star Baseball Game, which for the sixth time and for the second straight season was contested at Kean University’s Jim Hynes Stadium.
After trailing 9-0 as late as the bottom of the seventh, the Union County All-Stars ended up making a game of it, although too late.
The Most Outstanding Player awards went to Essex County junior infielder Anthony Giachin of Newark Academy and to Union C0unty junior catcher Dan Baroff of Gov. Livingston.
The lefty-batting Giachin was 2-for-2 with a walk leading off the second, an opposite field single to left-center in the third after Essex took a 3-0 lead and an RBI-double to right-center in the fifth to make the score 6-0.
Baroff, also lefty-swinging, produced a two-run single to right with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth to make the score 9-4.
Baroff’s bat and his play behind the plate sparked GL to a 21-10 record and the program’s first Union County Tournament championship on this same field.
Driving in the game’s first run was Millburn junior outfielder Rich Schiekofer with a single to right field – the ball hit the lip of the infield grass and bounced over the Union County first baseman’s head. The other two Essex County runs in that inning came as the result of ground ball outs.
In the top of the fourth, Essex scored two runs on a throwing error and a fielder’s choice.
The speedy Booker led off the fifth with a triple to left-center and scored two batters later on Giachin’s second hit of the game.
Austin Miles of Livingston drove in the Essex County team’s second run that inning wtih a single up the middle to make the score 7-0.
The eighth Essex County run that crossed home plate came after a runner was thrown out attempting to steal second base.
Nick Maldonado of Seton Hall Prep drove in the final Essex County run with a single to make the score 9-0.
Essex County did not score in the final three innings, with GL junior righty Vin Doren holding the squad scoreless the final two.
Doren went the distance in beating top-seeded Scotch Plains 3-2 in this year’s UCT final at Kean.
In the bottom of the seventh, Joe Kastner of Dayton and Jake Vall-Llobera of Westfield began the frame with singles and later scored their team’s first runs.
Both teams produced 11 hits. Of the first five runs Essex County scored, only the first one came as the result of an RBI-hit.
After Baroff produced his two-run single in the bottom of the ninth, Union scored its fifth run on a throwing error.
Driving in the game’s final run was Brearley junior outfielder Jesse Goncalves with an opposie field RBI-single to right field.
After that, Union County had runners on first and second with two outs and the tying run up at the plate before Essex County right hander Marty Higgins – a Nutley freshman – recorded the game’s final out.
Essex County won its fourth straight game in the series and its lead is now 5-1-1.
Starting in center field for the Union County All-Stars was Cranford junior Ryan Bakie. He was 1-for-2, with a walk and an opposite field leadoff single to right in the third.
Bakie helped lead the Cranford football and baseball teams to North 2, Group 3 championships this school year.
“It was a team effort,” Bakie said of Cranford baseball’s fifth sectional title this decade. “We only had a few returning players, but we eventually put the pieces together.”
Known for having a strong throwing arm, Bakie caught a fly ball with a runner at third and then fired a strike in the air to the Union County catcher. The Essex County runner at third base did not attempt to tag up and try to score on Bakie’s arm.
“We had pretty good pitching and our defense was good,” Bakie said.
“It was mainly our offense.
“We had to use the bunt to our advantage.”
Asked which sectional title was more fulfilling, Bakie replied: “they were both very satisfying.”
Bakie will be one of Cranford’s senior leaders this upcoming football season. The all-purpose back will also be considered one of the top gridiron talents in North Jersey this fall.
Cranford is not only the defending North 2, Group 3 champion, but the Cougars are 23-1 the past two seasons and last lost a regular season game in 2013 and to a Group 5 school, Ridge.
 “Winning the state title was a great feeling,” Bakie said.
Cranford dominated the section and will be favored this year to reach the title game for the third straight season.
“It all started with Reggie Green’s junior year (2011),” Bakie said. “We’ve been doing well since.”
Bakie said he does not have a football offer yet, but still has hopes he might attract the attention of Division 1, 2 and 1-AA schools.
Bakie will be on display this summer at football camps at Monmouth, Penn State, Villanova and Virginia Tech.
2016: Essex County 9, Union County 6 – at Kean University
ESSEX MOP: Anthony Giachin, Newark Academy, junior infielder
UNION MOP: Dan Baroff, Governor Livingston, junior catcher
Mike Sheppard Sr., Seton Hall University
2015: Essex County 12, Union County 7 – at Kean University
ESSEX MOP: Anthony Condito, Nutley, junior outfielder
UNION MOP: Matt Meola, Union, junior first baseman
Fred Hill, Rutgers University
2014: Essex County 7, Union County 2 – at Snyder Park, Berkeley Heights
MVP: Anthony Maldonado, North 13th Street Tech, junior infielder-pitcher
2013: Essex County 8, Union County 6 – at Kean University
MVP: Tyler Brandon, Seton Hall Prep, junior pitcher from NYC
2012: Union County 7, Essex County 1 – at Kean University
MVP: Luis Amaro, Roselle Park, junior pitcher
2011: Essex County 12, Union County 1 – at Kean University
MVP: D.J. Link, Seton Hall Prep, junior catcher from Clifton
2010: Union County 4, Essex County 4 (tie) – at Kean University
MVP: Rob Fonseca, Seton Hall Prep, junior first baseman from Madison