Edison squad proving to be among GMC’s best

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EDISON — The Edison High School boys baseball team played its way into the NJSIAA North Jersey Section II Group 4 State Tournament with a 2-1 victory over Old Bridge Friday.

With the win, the Eagles improved to 10-5 and earned enough victories to guarantee a spot in the states. The team didn’t rest on its laurels, but won back-to-back road games on Saturday at Spotswood and J.P. Stevens.

The Eagles took care of Spotswood Saturday morning with a 12-3 victory. Senior left-hander Kevin Dalton pitched six innings to earn the win and improve his record to 2-2. Dalton scattered four hits and three walks while fanning seven. He also enjoyed a productive day at the plate with three hits and one RBI.

"Kevin was locating his pitches really well," Edison head coach Vin Abene said. "He was setting them up with his change and sitting them down with his fastball."

Dalton’s other half of the day’s battery, senior catcher Derek Gianakas got things started with a two-run blast in the first inning. Gianakas ended the day with three RBIs and two walks.

"Offensively, the Spotswood game was one of our better games of the season," Abene said. "One through nine gave us quality at-bats. They were patient at the plate and drew nine walks."

After the win, the Eagles boarded the bus and headed to J.P. Stevens to top the Hawks 9-6. Senior right-hander Ryan Klouser improved to 5-0 with the complete game victory. Klouser struck out four, walked two, and allowed nine hits.

"Ryan has been our bulldog all year," Abene said. "He throws strikes and he’s around the plate all the time. He makes guys hit it where we are fielding and he pitched well with a lead, allowing few walks."

Gianakas continued to carry the hot stick and went yard in the second inning with a three-run homer.

"Derek is patient at the plate and he is swinging at his pitch," Abene said. "Kevin and Ryan had nice days, too, with three hits apiece."

In Friday’s 2-1 win over Old Bridge, sophomore Nick Rieder tossed a complete-game victory, allowing eight hits, three walks and striking out three.

"Nick has been showing a lot of poise this season," Abene said. "He is now 3-1 on the season and throwing the ball really well."

Prior to Friday’s meeting with the Knights, the Eagles beat Woodbridge 8-7 on Tuesday. Klouser got the win, senior designated hitter Keith Lorfing hit a solo home run and shortstop Tim Ryan went 3-for-3. The following day the team won perhaps their biggest game of the season, beating Piscataway 8-5.

"The Piscataway win was the turning point of our season," Abene said. "Going against Carlton Smith is always a challenge. Carlton is a dominant high school pitcher with a 90-mph fastball. He can beat anybody in any game. It was a big win for us."

Senior Billy Alec earned his first victory of the season after being sidelined with a nagging blister. Alec scattered seven hits and seven walks while striking out seven.

"Billy has been battling his injury all season," Abene said. "He gave up a lot of walks, but he was able to pitch his way out of trouble."

Alec helped himself out with a two-run double to put the game out of reach in the late innings. Gianakas went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.

With just two losses in the Greater Middlesex Conference’s Red Division, the Eagles hope to catch up to St. Joe’s and East Brunswick.

In their first meeting with the Falcons, the Eagles fell 6-4. It took East Brunswick nine innings to beat the Eagles 10-8. Edison and East Brunswick square off for the second time today at 3:45 p.m. in Edison.

Wednesday evening is also the seeding meeting for this year’s GMC Tournament, and the Eagles can secure a high seed with victories over the Falcons and Bears.

"We would obviously like a high seed," Abene said. "It doesn’t matter, though, because you have to play the best teams to win."