By Jeff Appelblatt
It’s as if Freehold High School has had two baseball seasons going on since the end of April, and the Colonials are putting on great shows in each of them.
Games in the Monmouth County Tournament (MCT) were inserted right into Freehold’s regular-season schedule. So while the No. 5-seed Colonials won tournament games, their schedule kept filling up. In total, Freehold played six games between April 29 and May 4.
Playing each day clearly wasn’t a problem for the Colonials. They won five of the six games, scoring at least seven runs in four of them.
Once Freehold held onto an 8-7 victory over Colts Neck High School May 3, the Colonials had won six of seven games. It looked like Freehold may have been trying to give the game away to the home team, but the Cougars only scored twice in their seventh-inning rally.
“It was an ugly game on both sides,” Freehold coach Jon Block said after the win. “But we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves.”
The plethora of victories during the regular season and in the MCT has made a line to the Shore Conference’s A North Division look almost guaranteed.
Colts Neck, on the other hand, knew that the loss combined with some others meant the end of its division hopes. In fact, coach Mike Yorke knows that the chance to play in the Shore Conference Tournament isn’t guaranteed.
“We’ll be in the states, but we still have to fight to be in the Shore Conference Tournament,” he said after the loss to Freehold. “The conference may just be out of reach at this point with five conference losses.”
The 19-year coach knows the season isn’t over for the Cougars, though.
“We’re just going to focus on one game at a time,” Yorke said. “If we want to win a championship somewhere — [if] we want to make a run — we need to play better early [in games].
“The general message today was how we gave [Freehold] too many chances. We didn’t stop them from scoring early. We didn’t play well early in the game.”
The Cougars (9-7) reacted to that thought a day later. They scored a run in the first inning against Freehold Township High School, and they eventually knocked off the Patriots, 6-0.
Dillon Pellechia earned the win for Colts Neck. He threw a two-hit shutout.
While the Cougars used the momentum of a loss, Freehold just had another day on the field when it took on Manalapan High School. The Braves sunk the Colonials on a walk-off hit April 18 in Manalapan, but Freehold ran away with things early May 4 in Freehold. By the third inning, the Colonials went up, 5-0, and they closed out the game, defeating the Braves, 9-2.
Manalapan got only four hits off Freehold senior Tom Holdorf. Holdorf, meanwhile, batted 3-for-3 with three doubles, three RBIs and four runs scored.
Mark Costanzo also contributed three RBIs for Freehold, while Phil Marcantonio went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The Colonials (13-5) played in the MCT championship game May 9, and they’ll be right back on the field May 11 at Middletown High School South at 3:45 p.m.
Colts Neck took on Middletown High School North May 8, Marlboro High School May 9 and will travel to Manalapan May 10 at 4 p.m.