UNION – For the host team, which had the honor of playing the first game at the refurbished facility, just about everything that could have gone wrong for it did.
Following a first-place regular season finish, Union Post 35 ran into quite a formidable foe.
Bordentown Post 26 from the Mercer County town Hamilton, which finished third in the Mercer County American Legion League, excelled in all three phases of Saturday morning’s opening district contest: pitching, hitting and defense.
Sparked by a dominating complete-game performance by right hander Matt Million and an offense that included all but one player in the starting lineup banging out at least one hit, Bordentown Post 26 rolled to a 17-2 triumph in Saturday’s opening District 2 Senior American Legion baseball clash at Teener League Field.
Million tossed a six-hitter, striking out 12 and walking three. He struck out the side in the first and the third innings and pitched 1-2-3 frames in the fifth and seventh.
“I was in a good groove in the beginning,” said Million, a 2015 Florence graduate. “My game plan was just to get ahead.”
Union, which won the Essex County League’s National Division title, actually produced four of its six hits against Million in the first two innings and answered Bordentown’s two runs in the top of the first with one in the bottom of the inning to pull to within 2-1.
Then Bordentown, which improved to 19-6 this summer, gradually added to its lead by scoring three more times in the third and single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings for an 8-1 lead.
Bordentown then poured it on in the top of the eighth, scoring nine runs on eight hits for a 17-1 lead.
Union, which fell to 17-3 overall this summer, scored the game’s final run in the bottom of the eighth, which is where the game ended (because of the 10-run mercy rule) once Bordentown got the third out.
“I got a lot more confidence once we scored all those runs,” Million said.
Despite such a huge lead, Bordentown Manager Doug Moore sent Million out for the eighth inning so he could finish what he started.
“I wanted to go back out for the eighth,” Million said. “I just felt good. I felt no fatigue and really wanted it.”
Million played at Montclair State this past school season – he pitched briefly – and this school season plans on playing at Mercer Community College – where he plans on pitching again.
“Matt only pitched five innings his first year in college this year,” Moore said. “In our second game he had a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He’s been back and forth with some walk issues.”
That wasn’t the case for Million Saturday as he issued only three bases on balls and improved to 4-2 this summer.
“He was pumping the strike zone,” Moore said. “His out pitch is his splitter and he had success with that pitch and his curveball.”
To go along with a stellar mound performance, Bordentown produced 17 runs on 18 hits and did not commit an error.
“We can hit, 1-9,” Moore said. “Playing in our league we feel that we’re battle-tested.”
The only player in Bordentown’s starting lineup that did not have a hit was leadoff batter Tyler O’Dell. However, O’Dell reached base three of the seven times he came up to the plate, going 0-for-4 with three walks. His last walk came with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Bordentown designated hitter Bret Parlante, a 2015 Northern Burlington graduate, was the game’s only player to bang out four hits. He went 4-for-6 with two doubles, two singles and two RBI.
Teammates Shawn Allen and Alex Popovich each connected for three hits, Allen with two doubles and a single and Popovich with two singles and a double.
Driving in Union’s runs were Jaime Olivo with a double in the first inning – Matt Pavick, who singled, scored – and Brian Tumblety with a single in the eighth – Kevin McDonough, who reached on an infield single, scored.
Olivo ‘s double reached the bottom of the left field (340 feet) fence. Tumblety’s single was an opposite field hit to right.
Hitting singles for Union were Pavick, Jalen Boyd, Jake Pittius, McDonough and Tumblety.
Pittius started on the mound for Union and came out in the fourth inning after one out. He gave up Bordentown’s first six runs.
Also pitching for Union were lefty Michael Jacoby for 3 and 2/3 innings, Brandon Bedlivy for 1/3 and Olivo for 2/3.
NOTES: Union will next play in Sunday’s first game at 10 a.m. against the loser of Saturday’s third game between BCAL Ridgewood Rebels vs. Hillsborough.
Union will need to win Sunday to advance to Monday’s games. If Union loses its season is over.
Bordentown Post 26 will play the winner of the Ridgewood vs. Hillsborough game in Sunday’s third game, scheduled for a 4 p.m. start.
Hamilton Post 31 defeated Vailsburg Post 395 by the score of 5-0 in Saturday’s second game. Hamilton will next play in Sunday’s fourth game and Vailsburg in Sunday’s second game.
DISTRICT 2 AT UNION’S TEENER LEAGUE FIELD
BORDENTOWN POST 26 (19-6) 2 0 3 1 0 1 1 9 – 17 18 0
UNION POST 35 (17-3) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 – 2 6 4
Matt Million (RH)
8 inning complete game
6-hitter: 12 strikeouts, 3 walks, 115 pitches
Jake Pittius (RH)
3 and 1/3 innings
6 runs (3 earned), 4 hits, 1 strikeout, 6 walks, 68 pitches
Bordentown 26 – Bret Parlante (2), Alex Popovich (2), Ben Jones (2), Mike Wainwright, Kevin Welsh, Cody Schroeder, Shawn Allen, Zach Wright.
Union 35 – Mike Pavick, Jalen Boyd, Jake Pittius, Kevin McDonough, Brian Tumblety.
Bordentown 26 – Bret Parlante (2), Shawn Allen (2), Alex Popovich, Zach Wright,
Union 35 – Jaime Olivo.
Bordentown 26 – None.
Union 35 – None.
Bordentown 26 – None.
Union 35 – None.
BORDENTOWN POST 26:
4-Tyler O’Dell, left field
15-Kevin Welsh, shortstop
12-Zach Wright, center field
25-Bret Parlante, designated hitter
21-Mike Wainwright, first base
5-Shawn Allen, right field
6-Ben Jones, catcher
1-Cody Schroeder, third base
22-Alex Popovich, second base
47-Matt Million, pitcher (did not bat)
Manager: Doug Moore
UNION POST 35:
1-Kenny Matta, catcher
14-Kevin McDonough, center field
22-Matt Pavick, second base
16-Jaime Olivo, third base
4-Quincy Bryant, shortstop
13-Nestor Conforti, first base
3-Jalen Boyd, right field
7-Jake Pittius, pitcher
20-Allex Camacho, left field