Teaneck wins rivalry game against Hackensack

Monday, May 8, 2017

TEANECK -- A battle between two longtime North Jersey rivals saw the Teaneck Highwaymen bounce back and earn an 8-5 victory over the Hackensack Comets. A back and forth affair between two teams that have struggled this season gave a glimpse of each club’s promising future.

“At this point of the season it’s hard to take seniors out when they work hard and play,” said Hackensack head coach Frankie DiLorenzo. “Obviously you are looking to next year, which will give the underclassmen more of an opportunity. We have five games left so were looking for more of an opportunity for our young guys in these last five games.

Hackensack is going through a youth movement as it started seven underclassmen, but still jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run scored on a passed ball. That lead did not last long and was relinquished in the bottom of the inning on a double to center by Teaneck shortstop August Samek; who had two hits on the day, a couple of walks, and a run scored.

Teaneck starter Raymon Sarza finished with12 strikeouts in the game, but when Hackensack put the ball in play it made the most of it. The Comets tallied two runs on a RBI single to left field from catcher Lou Gomez.

Teaneck, which came in with a 2-13-1 record, had a big fourth inning. An RBI single from senior center fielder Lawrence Ortiz got the Highwaymen to within 3-2 and first baseman Lawrence Ortiz then gave the Highwaymen a 4-3 lead on the very next at bat with a screaming double to left field that no one could catch up to.

“My kid [Sarza] pitched great. He had 12 strikeouts, but we gave up a lot of runs,” said Teaneck head coach Ed Klimek. “Should have been 10-0.”

But it wasn’t because, in the top of the fifth inning, Hackensack drew a leadoff walk and got an infield single to start a rally. That would eventually lead to a double to center by Angel Reyes that drove in two runs and gave Hackensack a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the fifth.

Teaneck, which showed resilience throughout the game, kept battling until it could put together a late rally in the bottom of the sixth inning. They strung together four runs on mishaps by the Comets and used them to forge the 8-5 lead, the final margin of victory.

“We have to understand that if we don’t make the plays other teams will capitalize off them,” said DiLorenzo. “We had two guys not play today because they missed practice. That really hurt our team because they put themselves first over the team.”

For Teaneck they can use this win as a stepping stone and always look at the positives that come with a victory over a rival.

“They’re a tough team. Always have been,” said Klimek. “Well-coached team, well-run program and always a good rivalry when we meet. So there are always positives to take out of this game.”

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.