MONTGOMERY: Cougars clear county No. 1


Pictured are members of the Montgomery High baseball team

By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
What better way to prove you are the best than to beat the best.
On its way to winning the Somerset County Tournament title, the Montgomery High baseball team knocked off the top three seeds in succession to claim its third county title.
The Cougars used the depth in their pitching staff to defeat third-seeded Somerville, second-seeded Ridge and top-seeded Watchung Hills on the road to the championship.
“You don’t know what to expect going into the tournament,” Montgomery coach Peter Mueller said. “Some years it just works out and some years it doesn’t. We knew if we had a chance for anything it started on the mound. We knew we had a depth of arms we haven’t had in a few years. We don’t have a 1-2-3. All of our guys are pretty darn good and we’re comfortable with whoever we throw out there.
“I wish we could day go out and score five to seven runs a game, but we are not really built that way. Our pitchers when they throw have given us a chance in every game. It’s such a luxury when know you don’t have to be perfect every game.”
The Cougars topped Ridge, 2-1, in the semifinals and then defeated Watchung Hills by the same score in Monday’s championship game. In the final, Montgomery scored first when Gavin Sudano reached on an error and later scored on a bases-loaded walk to Ryan McKenna. The lead went to 2-0 in the fifth when Sudano tripled and scored on a balk.
Gavin Hollowell went 6Ò innings before Matt Gannon came on to record the final out and give the Cougars their third SCT title.
“It was very exciting,” said Hollowell, who allowed just two hits and struck out nine. “We knew we had it in us. It was one of our main goals and we followed through and got it done. I love the pressure situations and I love pitching out of them.
“Everyone contributed and it was amazing. We were the sixth seed and we proved a lot of people wrong.”
Mueller had faith in his starter to get the job done on the mound.
“Gavin went 6Ò and only allowed two hits and they are one of the best hitting teams around,” said Mueller, whose team won its first title since 2010. “To hold them to two hits, that does not happen every day. He kept them off balance and they finally scored in the seventh and had the bases loaded with two outs and that was when we went with Matt Gannon and he got the last out.”
Winning the way they did by knocking off the top three seeds made the win all the more special.
“That is neat,” Mueller said. “Being the sixth seed, not that you ever want to be six, but we took it as a challenge. We felt we had the arms to make a run but you have to beat all the good teams. So we went in with the mentality of seeing how good we really are.” 