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Manalapan baseball played it hard in state tournament

Scott Jacobs
Manalapan High School's Ryan Crehan (19) fires a pitch during a home game against East Brunswick High School on May 29. The Manalapan Braves went on to win the game 5-2.

Brett Carroll
Staff Writer

A never-say-die attitude has sparked Manalapan High School through the 2018 state baseball tournament.

That fiery approach helped Manalapan defeat East Brunswick High School,  5-2, in the semifinal round of the Central Jersey, Group 4 state sectional tournament on May 29 in Manalapan.

Manalapan coach Brian Boyce and senior right fielder Anthony Naylor were pleased with how the club composed itself during the game.

“We kept plugging away,” Boyce said. “[Senior pitcher] EJ [Melendez] kept us in the game. Anthony came up with a big hit late. We capitalized. We took the lead. It got a little dicy there, but these kids are battle tested. It was a great win.”

“Nothing new for us,” Naylor said. “Just another win in the books. We knew their pitcher could throw, so we wanted to get deep in counts and get his pitch count up.”

The Braves then turned their attention to Hunterdon Central Regional High School where they lost, 4-0, in the Central Jersey, Group 4 final on June 1 in Flemington.

The Braves lost to Hunterdon Central last year in the Central Jersey, Group 4 semifinals, 6-1.

“We knew Hunterdon Central is a talented team,” Boyce said.

Boyce loved the talent that his team had, stating that they had a mix of young talent as well as veteran leadership.

“I think we have a nice junior nucleus,” Boyce said. “With Ben Levine, William Watters, Jake Pellecchia coming back next year. This year, we have a lot of seniors that have been leading us. They’ve been great leaders. We’re going to take it one pitch at a time.”

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