Raiders Stun Liners With Late Rally
**Editor's note: recapping losses are always tough and sometimes not timely. Especially tough losses. However, this author would like to document as many games as possible to highlight the positive accomplishments and provide a complete picture of the season at year's end.
It was a typical windy day at the PAC when Matty Gice got the ball to face the undefeated Hillsborough Raiders fresh off their victory over defending Group 4 State Champs Hunterdon Central. To say it was a rocky start would be an understatement. The pesky Raider leadoff hitter turned an 0-2 count into a leadoff walk laying off extremely close pitches that we've seen called strikes before. A nice bunt followed by an error and the Raiders were threatening before the blink of an eye. After that first blink the score was 2-0. One more blink and the Liners were retired in the bottom of the first and the Raiders were back harassing Pretty Boy with back to back walks. With the game seemingly hanging in the balance, the next batter laid down a beautiful bunt down the third baseline. Matty Gice barehanded it and threw to third to get the lead runner in a play that turned the game around. He would work out of the inning and Pburg went to work in the second. Motts Apple Sauce would get his first career hit followed by a Big Mike blast that beat the wind and the center fielder for a double. After a strikeout, Sunshine did what Sunshine does. With the bases loaded and one out the Magic Conch stepped into the box. After falling behind 0-2 he drove in a run on an E5 to get the Liners on the board. Two wild pitches scored two more runs to put Pburg ahead 3-2. After a quick top of the third Nice Guy Nick Helman lead off the bottom half by getting Patel'd. After a fielder's choice error type of thingy Motts-a-ball soup would get to first and promptly steal second and take third on a great worm killing read. Speaking of worm killing, worm activist Mike D'Alessandro then stroke a line shot up the middle to put the Liners up 4-2. G-Money would continue to roll until an unearned run hit the scoreboard in the top of the 5th. Unfortunately the Stateliner D would uncharacteristically struggle and Pretty Boy was forced to extend his pitch count. In the bottom half Big Mike Walmart Kramer Salmon Blue Donut coaxed a leadoff walk. DPR (Dominant Performance Rick) made the ROP (Rare Offensive Performance) as a pinch runner. Bryce-Aroni then bunted to set up the Liners with a scoring threat. A strikeout led to two outs and CoCo stepped up to the plate. AlexCo then singled in the 5th Liner run of the day. Sailor Stem followed with a single of his own to put the Liners up 6-3 and take command of the game. Unfortunately for the Garnet and Gray faithful, the Baseball Gods had other plans for the day. After a very very quick sixth inning, Phillipsburg only needed three outs to finish the game. Somehow, someway, a game that was about to be over got flipped upside down. The Raiders had one out and nobody on base and in a matter of minutes struck for 6 runs to shock the Liners and stay undefeated. When trying to make sense of what had just happened, all that could be heard from the Pburg dugout was, "That's baseball Suzy." It was a crushing defeat for sure but the good thing about baseball is there almost always another game right around the corner. The Liners bunch have proven to be a resilient bunch in the past (reference 7-0 deficit comeback win the game after Easton in 2018) and will look to bounce back on Friday vs the Ridge Red Devils (who are green).