His team had just defeated Bloomfield, 10-3, in a Super Essex Conference (SEC) cross over game on April 22, but Livingston coach Jason Daily wasn’t in a celebratory mood.
“I don’t want to see them again,” said Daily, as highly a respectful coach toward other opponents as there is in the SEC. “That team flat out hits. They’re really good.”
Bloomfield, which plays in the Liberty Division this year, a conference considered strong, but not as tough as the American, where Livingston resides, came into its game at top-ranked Livingston with an 8-1 record. With Livingston pitcher Jess Peslak shelved by an illness for the game, it appeared Bloomfield might have an edge as it hoped to gain a few spots in the seeding for the upcoming Essex County Tournament.
The game went back and forth, as both teams made errors, and was tied at two heading into the bottom of the fifth. There, Bloomfield’s defense faltered and Livingston, a team you can’t give additional outs to in the first place, scored six unanswered to make it 8-2.
Bloomfield, however, battled back in the sixth, scoring a run and loading the bases with two outs before Daily called on Jazzy Pignatello to put out the fire and the senior right hander did just that, inducing a pop up to end the threat. Sophomore Sami Passeri had pitched the first 5 2/3 innings, showing good control, before Pignatello entered.
Some of Bloomfield’s outs were of the long fly variety, but since Livingston doesn’t have a fence and sports a solid outfield led by All State centerfielder Kyle McLaughlin, some of those 200 foot-plus fly balls were outs. Livingston’s infield defense also saved some runs by snaring hard hit Bloomfield drives, as well.
There’s no way of knowing how hard Bloomfield would have hit had Peslak pitched, but the bottom line is the Bengals can play, as long as its defense holds up.
As far as rankings for the upcoming Essex County seeding meeting tonight, there are some slight changes to the FMTC Top 10. Most notably, Glen Ridge drops down after losing to West Orange and Newark Academy is up to No. 7 after beating Caldwell. In my opinion, these are the top 10 seeds, as well.
Bear in mind, if Glen Ridge beats Bloomfield today, then Newark Academy moves to 6 and Bloomfield would fall to 7, with all the other rankings remaining the same.
2-Mount St. Dominic (11-3)
4-West Essex (7-5)
5-Cedar Grove (7-4)
7-Newark Academy (8-4)
8-West Orange (6-9)
9-Glen Ridge (7-4)