Ridgewood clinces second straight league title

Thursday, May 4, 2017

HACKENSACK – Ridgewood overcame a sluggish start to its game against Hackensack and kept up its torrid start to the season in an 8-1 victory that gave the Maroons an outright league title and a 13-2 overall record. In the last game that counted toward state tournament seeded and three games from filling out its Bergen County Tournament resume, Ridgewood showed once again why it is going to be a tough out in the postseason.

“It took us a little while to get going. It was a 1-0 game heading into the fifth,” said Ridgewood head coach Kurt Hommen. “Our pitcher was very good today, Sam Favieri threw the ball well out there, we got a couple of RBIs and base hits. Then the home run by Andrew Eng opened things up for us.”

Hackensack was giving Ridgewood all it could handle through the first four innings, but the Maroons hit their stride in the fifth inning when they plate three runs and broke open the game. A leadoff walk drawn by shortstop Chris Symington, who then stole a base, came around to score on a single by Favieri. A two-run home from outfielder Andrew Eng gave Ridgewood a 4-0 lead and the Maroons never looked back.

Meanwhile, Favieri was locked in from his first pitch on the mound. He struck out six strikeouts and only gave up three hits and one run.

“All I did was throw strikes, kept my composure when things weren’t going my way and just kept my cool,” said Favieri, who also had a big day at the plate going 3-for-4 with a double and 3 RBI. “We will use things from this game to prepare for our next one and just keep rolling.”

With an experienced group, Ridgewood has been to keep its focus on each game as it comes. The Maroons are building an impressive body of work that now includes a divisional title for the second straight season.

“We were ready to go because it meant the league championship was on the line. It was big for us to come out and get a lead and hold on,” said Hommen. “To win the league title was a big accomplishment.”

Ridgewood can now look ahead to county and state tournament games and it will bring with it the lessons it has learned in the last five weeks.

“Each time you go out you see different arms it prepares you for what you’re going to see down the road in the counties and it helps,” said Hommen. “We have to be better at the plate facing good arms in the county and states; that is one thing we are going to have to get better at: swinging the bat.”

Hackensack has not gotten the results that it might have wanted when the season started, but the Comets are still engaged and are getting what they can out of a playing such a difficult schedule.

“We always talk about the process and the process is never giving up, always competing,” said Hackensack head coach Frank DiLorenzo. “The best way to keep everyone focused is to talk about the future. If you’re a senior, what do you want to do when you graduate? What is it you want to do at the next level? If you’re an underclassman you’re always fighting for a spot and want to show you belong on the varsity level.”

The experience gained by a Comets team that has played against some of the top teams in the state is sure to help as the program continues to grow.

“We can compete with teams. It was 1-0 in the fifth inning today and we know we can play with teams in our league. It is a matter of bouncing back and getting that one win that turns the season around and gives us some confidence,” said DiLorenzo. “Baseball is a reflection of life. You can’t quit when things are going downhill. Every day is a new opportunity and we say win the inning, win the game and win the moment which helps keep them focused.”

Tyler Drakeford is a 2013 graduate of Hackensack High School who is finishing up his Associate Degree at Bergen Community College this spring. This is his first effort as a NorthJerseySports.com intern.