Northern Burlington vs. Mainland: Game Recap

Sean McGrath
Scouting Director, New Jersey

Northern Burlington 6 – Mainland 4

Game Played June 3
Northern Burlington and Mainland matched up in semi-final action of the 2015 NJSIAA Group 3 Championship at Rutgers University. Coming into this week’s set of playoff games, Northern Burlington and Mainland were both ranked in our Top 25 Power Rankings; #5 and #7 respectively. This game was a featured matchup simply because it was an elite Northern Burlington lineup going against a very quality high school ace and quality division one prospect, Kyle Gerace. Unfortunately, the game was dictated largely by poor defense and the team that played worse defensively lost.

In the top of the first inning, Mainland was not able to capitalize on back-to-back errors to start the inning. With two on and no outs, Northern Burlington’s 2015 RHP Eric Stinglen bailed his squad out with three strikeouts. In the bottom half, senior 3B and Delaware commit Tyler O’Dell would lead off with a single but Gerace would get a 5-4 fielder’s choice, a caught stealing, and a strikeout to end the frame.

The second inning would come and go with no offense but was highlighted by a pair of Kyle Gerace strikeouts. The third inning brought the first offensive action of the game; starting with a leadoff double by Mainland’s SS Matt McLaughlin. After an error on a sacrifice bunt, Gerace would hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to plate the game’s first run. In the bottom half, Mainland’s right-hander would get two consecutive groundballs to start the inning; the first for an out and the second for an error. With one out and a man on first, Gerace would strikeout the nine hitter to bring O’Dell up to the plate. O’Dell would hit his 2nd of three singles and 2016 OF Zach Wright would single home the tying run.

With the even score and having scored most recently, Northern Burlington’s senior righty would sit Mainland down 1-2-3 to get his team back into the dugout. The 4th inning started much like the 3rd for the Mainland defense. Two groundballs; the first for an out and second for an error. With one out and one on, Gerace would get a fly out to centerfield. With two outs, 2016 OF Michael Wainwright singled home Adam Rapp, senior catcher and Delaware commit. 2016 SS Kevin Welsh would single and 2016 DH Mike Cottrell would knock home the second run of the inning. Another error by the Mainland infield would bring home the third run of the inning to make the score 4-1.

Mainland would respond in the fifth inning, plating 2 highlighted by a leadoff walk and RBIS from a Jack Loefflad 1B and Nick Trifiletti 2B. With two outs in the inning, Northern Burlington would go to ace Ryan Shinn, a LHP/OF committed to Florida Gulf Coast. He would give up the 2B to make the score 4-3 but would strike out the next hitter to end the inning.

With the score 4-3 going into the bottom of the fifth, Shinn would start a rally. He led off the inning with a hard single to leftfield and was followed up by a hard double by Rapp ad an RBI single by Brett Parlante. Gerace would retire the next hitter but give up another groundball error to bring up Cottrell who would get his second RBI of the game on a ground out to Gerace, who went a long way and made an excellent glove flip play to get the out. Gerace would strikeout the next hitter for the 3rd out of the inning but the damage had been done. It was now 6-3.

In the bottom half, Mainland would get one back on a leadoff HBP, a single by Nick Droponiku and an RBI single by McLaughlin. Mainland went to a reliever in the bottom half of the inning and he quickly retired the top of Northern Burlington’s order. In the bottom half of the inning, Shinn struck out the side against the heart of the Mainland order to seal the 6-4 victory.

Northern Burlington’s potent lineup proved to put too much pressure on the Mainland defense who had 4 errors on the day. Kyle Gerace had a tough luck kind of day in the loss going 6 innings, giving up 10 hits, 6 runs (only 1 earned), no walks and 5 strikeouts. He lived at 85-86 for the first four, often utilizing a tight two-plane slider at 73-76. Northern Burlington’s Tyler O’Dell went 3-4 in the leadoff spot and set the pace for the offense much of the day. Cottrell went 1-3 with a pair of RBIs. Ryan Shinn would go 2.1 innings in relief, giving up 3 hits, 1 run, 0 base on balls and 6 strikeouts.

Northern Burlington advances to the NJSIAA Group 3 Championship, which will take place on Saturday in Toms River.