Jefferson Township baseball coach Jason Kalish temporarily put his vacation to Lavalette on hold to oversee the second of his team’s Last Dance World Series journey. His squad ensured he would be back at the beach in record time.
Jefferson pounced on Roxbury in the early stages of Wednesday morning’s showdown at Skylands Stadium, scoring six runs before recording a single out. It was part of a seven-run barrage in the opening frame, allowing Jefferson to cruise to an 11-0 victory in their second Last Dance contest. The game ran for only five innings instead of the usual seven due to mercy rule protocols that end games early if a team goes up by 10 or more runs.
“We have a ton of depth. It’s different guys each game (who step up),” Kalish said after the win. “Yesterday we won a pitcher’s duel, today we brought the bats.”
“Obviously our pitching and defense have been incredible over these two games. (But) today was more of what I know our offense is capable of. We’re showing that we can win in a couple of different ways. That’s what I love about this team.”
Less than 24 hours after topping Randolph with only two hits and one run, Jefferson wasted no time in lighting up the Sussex scoreboard. Their designated status as the “visiting” team allowed them to break Roxbury’s will before they could truly ever muster it. The biggest blow was a three-run double into left-centerfield by catcher Austin Jack, while Zack Roskowsky, CJ White, and Johnny Knox all drove in runs as well.
An RBI single for Kris Mankin increased the lead in the third, while run-scoring sacrifice flies by Knox and Mike Studnick set Jefferson up for mercy rule privileges. The final run came when Ethan Wendling scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth.
Urbano Stymies Hitters
Even if Jefferson failed to light up the runs column, they would’ve been in more than decent shape with Jack Urbano on the mound. Pressed into service after Knox closed out Randolph on Tuesday, Urbano threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits in the victorious effort.
“My curveball was really good when I was trying to throw a first strike,” Urbano said after his stellar performance. “I was keeping the ball down as much as I could so they would just hit ground balls.”
Jefferson has allowed no runs over their first pair of tournament games, outsourcing their opponents 12-0 thus far.
Having won the Upper Morris Regional pool, Jefferson now moves on to prime time, as they’ll take on the champion of the Sussex portion of the bracket on Thursday night. The potential opponents for the final are known as Sussex White (consisting of athletes from Newton, Hopatcong, and North Warren) and Sussex Red (High Point/Wallkill). First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Skylands Park.
“We’ve just got to approach (Thursday) with a winner’s mentality and play as hard as we can,” Urbano said. “(This tournament) has been great because we missed out on our whole spring season. To play on a field like this in front of everybody has just been great.”
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