By Edward Kensik
For the Montclair Local
Things had changed quite a bit in the 30 days since the Montclair High School and Montclair Kimberley baseball teams first took to the diamond against each other this season.
Back on April 6, Montclair scored on a walk in the first inning for what would turn out to be a 1-0 Mounties win despite MKA pitcher Andrew Rosamelia shutting them down the rest of the way.
This time both teams met with bigger stakes on May 4 at Nishuane Park in Montclair for a spot in the Greater Newark Tournament quarterfinals.
While the outcome was the same, the game was much different.
This time the fourth-seeded Mounties offense was able to figure out the same MKA hurler Rosamelia as Montclair defeated No. 13-seeded Cougars, 10-0.
The GNT game only went five innings as the Montclair offense came alive while Mounties pitcher Kyle Miller’s pinpoint pitching with a three-hitter kept the Cougar bats at bay.
Miller got plenty of support from the start as the Mounties jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings against the Cougars in the GNT first round game on Saturday again on the mound.
Ethan Greengrass, who pitched the first time around against MKA, would give Miller all the support he needed with a two-run home run that went deep into left-centerfield in the first inning for a 2-0 lead.
Montclair next hosts fifth-seeded Livingston on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Nishuane Park in the GNT quarterfinal game. It was the Lancers who ended the GNT party for Montclair last season, as the Mounties lost 4-3 in the first round. With the win over rival MKA, Montclair raised its record to 10-4 while the Cougars dropped to 5-10 on the season.
The Mounties offense smacked 11 hits off Rosamelia this time around, led by left fielder Ford Virgin who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two doubles, along with Greengrass, who was 1-for-2 that included the two-run homer in the first inning.
“We had a hard time with the outside pitch,” said Greengrass about the first time they faced Rosamelia. “Since that time we have been working on that in [batting practice].”
Greengrass’s bomb to deep left center turned out to score the winning runs in the game. “It was low in the middle, right in my sweet spot,” said the junior designated hitter about the pitch.
Montclair Kimberley head coach Ralph Pacifico tipped his cap to the rival Mounties for the win.
“Montclair played very well and deserved the W,” said Pacifico. “Our pitcher did a decent job of limiting walks but did not keep the ball down later in counts.”
For the Montclair batters, they were not just doing it with the long ball, but also the small ball as well. The Mounties worked the bunt to perfection in the bottom of the second inning with a squeeze bunt by Mounties shortstop Alex Borelli, which scored Virgin from third base to give Montclair a 3-0 lead.
“We work a lot on bunting in our stations during practice,” said Greengrass, who admitted that he is not a very good bunter.
Miller did not strike out a batter for MHS on the mound, but only walked one MKA hitter as he induced most of the Cougars hitters into the ground.
“That’s my typical game,” said Miller. “In my head I want to strike out the batter, but I can probably count on my hands how many batters I’ve struck out this season.”
Montclair Kimberley had two chances to score as they reached third base twice. Centerfielder Ben Ribicoff reached third base in the first inning while Rosamelia reached third in the top of the third inning, but both were stranded.
“We only managed three hits with a few balls hit right at people, but did very little offensively to produce runs,” said Pacifico.