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Bombers recover from poor start to baseball campaign

By Warren Rappleyea

After starting the season with a pair of lopsided losses, things were looking bleak for Sayreville War Memorial High School’s baseball team. The young Bombers, however, have been competitive since then posting a 7-8 overall record.

In Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) White Division play, the Blue and Gray owns a surprising 6-4 mark and is tied for third place. The Bombers have downed both Woodbridge High School and North Brunswick Township High School twice and have split the season series with John F. Kennedy Memorial High School and Piscataway Township High School.

The high-point for the Bombers came April 27 and 28 with consecutive victories over previously undefeated Woodbridge High School, now 15-9.

In the opener, Sayreville picked up the 4-3 win when junior catcher Kyle Richards was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning. Brian Caudra earned the win on the mound after relieving Jayson DeMild, who had allowed just four hits over six innings. DeMild, who is hitting .535 on the year, also banged out a pair of hits.

The next day, lefty Kyle Lewis also scattered four hits over six innings to lead the Bombers to a 6-1 success. First baseman Drew Zimmerman had two doubles and drove home three runs. DeMild added two more hits and three RBIs.

DeMild drove in three more runs in a 9-4 win May 1 over JFK Memorial, and James Ryan had two hits and two RBIs. Brandon Aich gave turned in five solid innings on the mound to pick up the victory. Cameron Carey tossed the final two innings for the Bombers.

With a few breaks, Sayreville could easily be a few games above the .500 mark — Sayreville has lost four times by a single run, including a 5-4 decision against Hudson Catholic High School(11-5).

“This is a tough group of kids, they play hard and they won’t quit,” Sayreville coach Mike Novak said.

Big things were expected from DeMild, who was hampered by an injury last year, and he has delivered. He leads the team in batting and his three home runs and 15 RBIs are also tops on the team. In 24 innings of the mound, DeMild has struck out 31 opposing hitters, while posting a 1.75 ERA.

The lefty-swinging Zimmerman has also provided a potent bat, driving home 14 runs and hitting .308 with one homer. Richards, in his second year as the regular catcher, is betting .348 and has developed into an on-field leader. Outfielder Bryan Fernandez has also opened eyes with a .326 average and nine RBIs.

Lewis has been a workhorse on the hill, posting a 3-4 mark with a 4.40 ERA. Aich, a sophomore, has been a factor with a 1-2 mark and a 1.75 ERA. Carey, Caudra and Zimmerman have all pitched well when called upon.

Sayreville has five regular-season games remaining, and Novak hoping his team makes the most of them as it prepares for the upcoming GMC Tournament.

“The goal is always to get better with each game, and that’s really been the case this year,” Novak said. “We had a tough preseason with the weather, but our guys are starting to believe in themselves and with that comes the confidence to win games.”

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