Bad luck too much for Bombers to overcome

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

Entering the season the Sayreville War Memorial High School baseball team looked like one of the teams to beat in the Greater Middlesex Conference’s (GMC) White Division.

The Bombers were coming off of a 12-8 season and a second-place finish in the division. But things began to unravel before the campaign began. Second baseman Rob Galante, who hit .389 as a junior, hurt his knee playing soccer and missed the season.

Four games into the schedule, shortstop Jeff Toth, Sayreville’s top player who will attend Rider University, Lawrenceville, in the fall on a baseball scholarship, underwent an emergency appendectomy. Shortly thereafter pitcher Brandon Aich came down with mononucleosis, and first baseman Dan Louis injured his foot.

Toth’s injury occurred as the Bombers entered a stretch where they played 12 games in a little more than two weeks. As the other injuries piled up Sayreville struggled, going 2-10 during that period.

"We had a lot of rain early and the [makeup games] started getting backed up," coach Mike Novak said. "Then the injuries started, and it was downhill from there."

Novak lauded senior Mark Poore, who stepped in and willingly pitched on short rest trying to help the team. Poore also played short in Toth’s absence.

"Mark was outstanding, he did everything he could," Novak said. "Even though his own numbers took a hit, he kept right on going."

With the season winding down, the Bombers finally got healthy. Sayreville downed Woodbridge and then defeated St. Joe’s in the opening round of the GMC tourney. The Bombers lost a tough, 4-3, decision to Edison in the second round, despite a strong performance by Poore.

On a positive note, Louis leads the team in hitting with a .362 mark, while compiling a pair of homers and 12 RBIs. In just nine games, Toth is batting .357, and sophomore second baseman David Donner is hitting a healthy .354 and leads the team with 14 RBIs.

Outfielders Ken Lyons and Kris Brus are hitting .283 and .280, respectively. Junior catcher Rob Arvanites did an excellent job behind the plate and drove home 11 runs, despite hitting just .224.

Tim Ballard led the pitching staff with three wins, while Poore had two, and Aich, one. Novak noted that freshman Ed Goldman showed promise on the hill in 16 1/3 innings of work.

"I think we showed some people that we could compete once we got our guys back," Novak said. "Unfortunately, it was too late."