SCOTCH PLAINS – The way Dylan Donohue was dealing for Union Catholic two things were certain.
The Vikings were going to eclipse last year’s win total and they were also going to win a county tournament game for the first time in three years.
Donahue allowed only two batters to reach base, before and after he retired nine straight, and his long fly ball one bounce over the left field fence in the fourth provided Union Catholic with a key insurance run.
The fifth-seeded Vikings scored their first four runs with two outs and also their final two – on a walk-off, two-run home run by junior Jaden McReynolds – to defeat 12th-seeded Dayton 10-0 in Saturday’s first round Union County Tournament baseball game played at Union Catholic High School.
Union Catholic won for the second straight time and for the sixth time in their past seven games to improve to 9-3. The Vikings won their first UCT game since 2016.
Last year’s squad finished 8-16 and did not produce the eighth victory until the season finale on May 21.
Dayton had a six-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-3. The Bulldogs will continue to focus on challenging for the Union County Conference’s Valley Division title – they are presently one game behind leader Oratory Prep – and then turn their attention to next month’s North 2, Group 1 playoffs.
Donohue, a senior right hander who also has a save and improved his pitching record to 2-0, tossed a one-hit, complete-game shutout that included eight strikeouts, no walks and one hit batter.
After mowing down Dayton one-two-three for the first three innings, Donohue – working with a 2-0 lead – yielded an infield single to Bulldog lefty-swinging leadoff batter Darren Teixeira on an 0-1 pitch in the fourth. Teixeira hit a ball to the left of Union Catholic second baseman Alex Gorodensky, who did well to get a glove on it.
Donohue then hit Michael Cacioppo in the back – also on an 0-1 pitch – with Dayton now having runners on first and second with nobody out. Opposing pitcher Zach Gelo attempted to move the runners over, but his first bunt attempt – on the first pitch he saw in the at-bat – went backwards and was caught on a fine play made by Union Catholic catcher Bobby McGuinness.
Donohue retired the next two batters on his seventh strikeout and a pop up to first. He then set Dayton down in order again in the fifth and sixth, tossing a total of 83 pitches.
“I tried to come out throwing strikes and letting my fielders make plays behind me,” said Donohue, a Union resident. “My slider was working really well and I was able to spot my fastball where I wanted it.”
First-year head coach Erik Dial saw Donohue’s performance this way: “I was looking for Dylan to be consistent with his mechanics. He was throwing strikes and the key thing was that he was getting his breaking ball over the plate. He also pounded the zone with his fastball.”
Union Catholic took a 2-0 lead in the first when designated hitter CJ Tomalavage, with two outs and two strikes, blooped a hit to right that found grass in front of the Dayton right fielder. Tomalavage, an Edison resident, reached second with a two-run double.
“I saw a fastball right down the middle of the plate,” Tomalavage said of the pitch he hit. “I knew the whole time it was going to drop in.”
“CJ did a good job of driving the ball the other way there,” Dial said.
McReynolds, also from Union, was the game’s only player with two hits, going two-for-three with a double, a home run and three RBI. He bounced back after Gelo struck him out swinging on an eight-pitch at-bat in the first.
“Both hits came on fastballs,” McReynolds said. “If I don’t think, if I go up there just to hit I do much better. When Dylan got the double in front of me (in the fifth) I had to drive him in.”
“Jaden has been great for us in the 4 spot all year long,” Dial said. “He did well to take the ball the other way twice for us today.”
NOTES: Union Catholic is scheduled to host Johnson Tuesday at 4 p.m. in UCC-Mountain Division play. They are tied for first in the division at 2-1 each. UC won at Johnson 3-2 on April 2.
The squads will meet again Saturday at Johnson at 2 p.m. in the UCT quarterfinals.
“Johnson is a good team, is well-coached and they have guys that can swing it,” Dial said. “It will be a grind. They don’t beat themselves.”
“Our goal now is to make it to Kean for the semifinals,” McReynolds said.
FIRST ROUND UCT BASEBALL AT UNION CATHOLIC
12-Dayton (7-3) 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 1 3
5-Union Catholic (9-3) 2 0 0 0 2 6 – 10 7 0
Dayton left two runners on base.
Union Catholic left four runners on base.
DAYTON STARTING PITCHER
Zach Gelo, junior, LH (2-1)
5 innings complete, 95 pitches
Pitch count: 1-29. 2-24. 3-10. 4-13. 5-19. Total: 95.
4 runs (2 earned), 4 hits
8 strikeouts (5 swinging, 3 looking), 3 walks (3-1 and 2 3-2),
1 hit batter (0-2), 2 wild pitches
Pitched 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth.
Retired 7 in a row from second inning to fifth.
UNION CATHOLIC STARTING PITCHER
Dylan Donohue, senior, RH (2-0)
6 innings complete, 83 pitches
Pitch count: 1-22. 2-15. 3-11. 4-11. 5-11. 6-13. Total: 83.
0 runs, 1 hit (infield single)
8 strikeouts (4 swinging, 4 looking), 0 walks, 1 hit batter (0-1)
Pitched 1-2-3 innings in the first, second, third, fifth and sixth.
Retired first 9 batters he faced and last 9 batters he faced, beginning
with a nice play by his catcher – Bobby McGuinness – who caught a
bunt attempt that went foul behind home plate toward the third base side
with Dayton’s only two baserunners of the game on first and second
with nobody out in the top of the fourth.
DAYTON HIT (1):
12-Darren Teixeira: infield single to second
leading off the top of the fourth on 0-1 count
UNION CATHOLIC HITS (7):
22-CJ Tomalavage: opposite field bloop 2-run double
to right on 2-2 count with two outs in bottom of first.
18-Liam Quinn: infield single to shortstop in second.
30-Dylan Donohue: grounds rule RBI-double in fifth,
ball goes over left field fence on one bounce.
7-Jaden McReynolds: opposite field RBI-double to
right field just inside the line past first base.
27-Michael Fox: single to right in sixth.
2-Patrick Hartnett: RBI-single to center in sixth.
7-Jaden McReynolds: opposite field, 2-run,
inside-the-park, walk-off home run to the
right-center gap with two outs in bottom of sixth.
Liam Quinn drove in Union Catholic’s seventh run
on a sacrifice fly to center in the sixth.
UC’s fifth and sixth runs scored as the result
of wild pitches in the sixth.
12-Darren Teixeira, junior, second base
2-Michael Cacioppo, junior, third base
11-Zach Gelo, junior, pitcher
9-Vinny Pulice, senior, shortstop
3-Aidan Elgrably, senior, catcher
24-Jack Conway, senior, right field
22-Tommy Saverino, junior, center field, RP
7-Dan Madden, senior, first base
8-Jacob Pereira, senior, designated hitter
Did not bat:
15-Tommy DeSarno, left field
5-UNION CATHOLIC VIKINGS:
1-Richie Gonzalez, junior, center fielder
2-Patrick Hartnett, senior, shortstop
30-Dylan Donohue, senior, pitcher
7-Jaden McReynolds, junior, left field
22-CJ Tomalavage, sophomore, designated hitter
27-Michael Fox, junior, first base
13-Bobby McGuinness, senior, catcher
8-Alex Gorodensky, junior, second base
18-Liam Quinn, junior, right field
Did not bat:
39-Robbie Camisa, senior, third base
UCT FIRST ROUND
Saturday, April 27:
Cranford 5, Linden 1 – at Cranford
Union Catholic 10, Dayton 0 (6 inn.) – at Union Catholic
Scotch Plains 2, Oratory Prep 1 – at Scotch Plains
Johnson 11, Brearley 3 – at Johnson
Gov. Livingston 14, Roselle Catholic 13 – at GL
Union 16, Plainfield 1 – at Union
Monday, April 29:
9-Westfield at 8-Summit, 4 p.m.
10-Elizabeth at 7-New Providence, 4 p.m.