Versaci dazzles on the mound for Hillsborough in Senior Day loss

The Hillsborough High School baseball team honored its nine senior players with Senior Day festivities before playing Phillipsburg High School on May 25 in Hillsborough. Phillipsburg beat Hillsborough 1-0.

Senior Vinny Versaci got the news from Head Coach Tom Augello late last week that he would be getting the start on the hill against Phillipsburg High School on May 25 for the Hillsborough High School baseball team.

It wouldn’t just be any other home start for Versaci, being that he would be taking the mound on a day where he and the rest of the nine senior players on the Hillsborough baseball team were being honored with Senior Day festivities.

The significance of being the starting pitcher on Senior Day meant a lot to Versaci, who knew he had to give it his all on the mound for his teammates.

“I wanted to come out there and leave it all on the field,” he said.

Versaci did exactly that, tossing seven innings of one-run ball with a game-high seven strikeouts in Hillsborough’s 1-0 loss to Phillipsburg.

The seven strikeouts were a season-high for Versaci and it was the first time this season that the senior right-hander pitched a complete game.

“I always hoped I would do well on Senior Day, but never thought I would do this good,” Versaci said after the game. “I located my fastball well and had good two-seam movement on it that kept them off balance.”

Versaci was brilliant on the mound, but so was Phillipsburg starter Matt Garatty, who tossed a two-hit complete-game shutout and retired the last 14 batters he faced to lead the Stateliners to victory.

“It was a tough one but we came out fighting,” Versaci said. “It was great to come out on Senior Day and play with all my teammates.”

Losing on Senior Day didn’t take away from the experience Versaci had on the mound, saying he will remember this start for the “rest of his life”.

One moment in particular that Versaci said he would definitely remember from the start was coming out for the seventh inning, where he retired the side in order with two strikeouts.

Versaci hopes to build off the success and joys he had from Senior Day as Hillsborough enters its final stretch of games this spring.

The senior captain has enjoyed his time back on the diamond after missing out on last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, adding that he is looking forward to playing his final high school games with his teammates.

“Having a great time finishing up the season with the guys would be amazing,” he said.

The loss drops Hillsborough 2-16 on the season.

The results this spring have not gone the way Augello and his Hillsborough squad would have hoped, but the first-year coach is pleased with the hard work his players have shown all season and the improvement they made after missing out on playing last year.

“We got a lot of guys experience this year,” Augello said. “We had a lot of guys get at-bats this year. We just have to keep grinding.”

Augello added that he and his coaching staff will look to get some of the younger players in the program some varsity experience during the last few weeks of the season.

Hillsborough is scheduled next to head on the road to play against North Hunterdon High School on May 27. The next home game for the Raiders will be on May 29 against Immaculata High School.