Marcus Eusebio's two-run double in the first inning help set the tone for Passaic Tech, which stayed unbeaten with a 19-4 win over Wayne Valley on Friday.
WAYNE – The moments are indelible in the minds of the Passaic County Tech players. In the 2017 Passaic County Baseball Tournament final, the Bulldogs were whooping it up as they built a six-run lead only to see Pompton Lakes roar back for nine runs in the sixth inning to snatch away the county championship trophy. As the final out was recorded in that game, on the Bulldogs’ own home field no less, all they could do was watch the opposing team celebrate a title that seemed like it was surely going to be theirs.
With most of the team returning this season and having just received the top seed in this year’s Passaic County Tournament, certainly have plenty of motivation to take care of business inside the county.
The Bulldogs set a tone early with eight first-inning runs highlighted by a two-run double from Marcus Eusebio. Christian and Miguel Silfa each drove in four runs as PCT remained unbeaten with a 19-4, five-inning win over Wayne Valley on Friday at Passaic County Tech.
PCT’s initial go-round at the plate started innocently enough as leadoff batter Andy Rodriguez busted it down the line and beat out a routine grounder to short for an infield hit. Three walks in the inning allowed the first run to come home before Eusebio’s double to left made it 3-0. Christian Silfa followed with a two-run single and then a defensive miscue broke the game wide open. With the bases loaded and two out, Anthony Noesi’s grounder was thrown away with all three runs scoring for a commanding 8-0 lead.
Jack Feit hit a solo home run for Wayne Valley, which fell to 5-5 on the season.
PCT starter Anthony DiBrino ran into trouble in both the second and fourth innings. He did not have his best stuff but gutted it out to avoid trouble and record the outs he needed.
“We were very patient, we were smart at the plate and being disciplined at the plate,” said PCT head coach Robert Nutile. “When you do the little things at the plate, work the count and run the bases well, you have a chance to score some runs. We’ve won some games in a lot of different ways and I think that’s helped our confidence.”
The Bulldogs kept piling it on with another eight-run inning in the third. Arpert Cipion got the offense going again with an RBI single. They received an unlikely source of power with the bases loaded and No. 9 batter Miguel Silfa up at the plate. After striking out in his first two plate appearances and falling behind 0-2 in his third at-bat, Silfa changed his approach at the plate and it paid dividends. He got a hold of a curveball and golfed it out to straightaway centerfield for a grand slam and an eye-popping 17-0 lead.
All nine players in the starting lineup for PCT (10-0), led by three from Rodriguez, scored at least one run. DiBrino allowed just two hits, one earned run, with four walks and four Ks to pick up the win. Zach Kasperowicz hit a two-run shot and Jack Feit added a solo shot, both in the fifth inning, for Wayne Valley (5-5).
With a senior-laden squad hoping for Passaic County Tournament redemption, the opportunity will come shortly with preliminary-round play beginning this weekend. Passaic County Tech has not won a county title since 2004. Now having that bitter taste out of their mouths from a year ago the Bulldogs look forward to what they hope is a championship journey through the remainder of the season.
“Coming back as seniors with most of us having played since we were sophomores we know what’s at stake this season,” said Cipion. “We have a team that’s built to be a championship team. It’s about pitching the way we’ve been, playing solid defense, and keep mashing baseballs. We’ve been doing that all season but we have to keep doing that because we don’t want to go home empty-handed.”