SPRINGFIELD – Last year Dayton baseball finally exorcised the demon of beating Ridgefield in the states and then, as the top seed, lost at home to Glen Ridge in the sectional final.
On Thursday, the eighth-seeded Bulldogs will now be the team seeking to knock off the top seed as they will play at No. 1 New Providence in a North 2, Group 1 quarterfinal.
“We were the top seed last year and look at what happened,” said Dayton senior right hander Ryan Lashuk, referring to Dayton’s 11-0 title contest setback to seventh-seeded Glen Ridge. “If we play our game anything can happen.”
Lashuk pitched Dayton to the second round after he beat ninth-seeded Belvidere 11-1 in five innings in Monday’s first round contest at Ruby Field.
Lashuk tossed a complete-game, seven-hitter that included three strikeouts and one walk.
Down 1-0 going into the bottom of the fourth, Dayton erupted for seven runs – all earned – in the frame and then scored four more in the bottom of the fifth – aided by the game’s only two errors – to win by the 10-run mercy rule.
Dayton senior catcher Jack Quinn had two of Dayton’s four hits in the fourth inning. He led off with an opposite field single to right and then after Dayton went ahead 4-1 he cleared the bases with a three-run double that he drove over the head of the Belvidere left fielder.
“The second time up in that inning I was just trying to find the zone,” Quinn said. “I thought he might catch it.”
Dayton, which has not played New Providence this year, improved to 10-6. It was Dayton’s first game in 11 days. The Bulldogs began the year at 0-3.
“We know that New Providence is a good team,” Quinn said. “We’re capable.”
On Wednesday Dayton has its final Union County Conference-Valley Division game re-scheduled at Rahway. The Bulldogs are 4-5 in the division. Rahway is 8-1 and if the Indians win they will capture the division title outright.
Lashuk pitched a perfect first inning on just seven pitches and then ended up scattering seven hits in topping the County Seaters. Belvidere leadoff batter Brett Dalrymple blooped a hit to left that drove in his team’s only run and the game’s first in the top of the third. Nicholas Rosania led off with a double to center and was sacrificed to second before he came home on Dalrymple’s hit.
“You have to be ready,” Lashuk said. “I just wanted to throw strikes and if they hit the ball I had faith in my fielders.
Both teams did well to execute 6-4-3 double plays while the game was still close.
“We knew that we were going to win, even if the score would have been 2-1,” Lashuk said. “We were not going to go away today.”
Driving in Dayton’s first four runs were senior designated hitter Jeff Carrier on an RBI-double over the center fielder’s head, senior William Hodic getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, leadoff batter Michael Cacioppo walking with the bases full and then pinch hitter Evan Weinberg reaching on an infield single to plate a run while the bases were still loaded.
Sophomore right fielder Zach Gelo led off the fifth for Dayton with an opposite field single to left and then senior Anthony Santucci reached on an opposite field bloop single to short right. A sacrifice bunt attempt by junior Vinny Pulice saw him reach base as well to load the bases once again for the Bulldogs.
Hodic followed with an RBI-single to left to make it 8-1. A fly ball hit to right by Bryce Forys was dropped, giving Dayton another run. Cacioppo then hit a ball that went through the legs of the shortstop, with the game’s final two runs scoring on the miscue.
“This was a big win for our program,” said Dayton head coach Mike Abbate, who is in his ninth season at the helm of the Bulldogs.
Dayton is now 20-8 in the state playoffs under Abbate, including the program’s first and second sectional championships (both in North 2, Group 1) captured in 2013 and 2014.
“In the fourth inning we had some better at-bats and the ball landed where their fielders weren’t,” Abbate said. “Our seniors really played well and came through.
“New Providence is very good, but we look forward to the challenge.”
NORTH 2, GROUP 1 FIRST ROUND BASEBALL
AT SPRINGFIELD’S RUBY FIELD
9-Belvidere (9-10) 0 0 1 0 0 – 1 7 2
8-Dayton (10-6) 0 0 0 7 4 – 11 9 0
Dayton senior RH Ryan Lashuk (5-2)
5 innings complete, 68 pitches: 1 run (earned) on 7 hits,
4 strikeouts (3 swinging, 1 looking), 1 walk
Was perfect in first inning, retiring 3 batters on 7 pitches.
Belvidere senior RH James Geier (3-4)
4 innings complete, 69 pitches: 7 runs (all earned) on 6 hits;
3 strikeouts (2 swinging, 1 looking), 3 walks, 3 hit batters
9-BELVIDERE COUNTY SEATERS (9-10):
21-Brett Dalrymple, center fielder
11-James Geier, senior RH pitcher
7-Ryan Kokawski, senior shortstop-RH relief pitcher
25-Casey Sena, junior left fielder
5-Quinn Melofchik, junior third baseman
12-Matt Dunaj, junior designated hitter
8-Mike Tingole, junior catcher (did not bat)
6-Cole Bienes, junior second baseman
14-Nicholas Rosania, first baseman
22-Gio Sirianni, freshman right fielder
8-DAYTON BULLDOGS (10-6):
2-Michael Cacioppo, sophomore third baseman
3-Adam Wuest, senior second baseman
15-Evan Weinberg, senior pinch hitter
26-Jack Quinn, senior catcher
33-Jeff Carrier, senior designated hitter
8-Ryan Lashuk, senior RH pitcher (did not bat)
5-Zach Gelo, sophomore right fielder
13-Anthony Santucci, senior first baseman
9-Vinny Pulice, junior shortstop
6-William Hodic, senior left fielder
7-Bryce Forys, senior center fielder
31-Aidan Elgrably, junior
24-Jack Conway, junior
1-Tommy Saverino, sophomore courtesy runner
11-Darren Teixeira, sophomore pinch runner