Bulldogs rally past Wall, 4-3, to win Central Jersey Group II baseball crown


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RUMSON — The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School baseball team was staring at a two-run deficit heading into the bottom of the seventh inning against Wall High School of Wall Township during the 2022 Central Jersey Group II state sectional tournament championship game on June 10.

When the Bulldogs came into the dugout following the top of the seventh, senior Charlie Tallman brought his teammates together and told them no one was going to “make that last out” and that they were going to “come out on top” in their final chance.

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Tallman put those words into action moments later when he capped a two-out rally with a game-winning hit that scored two runs and lifted the Bulldogs from a 3-1 deficit to a 4-3 victory over the Crimson Knights.

The stirring victory gave the RFH baseball program its first state sectional tournament championship since 2004.

“To come through and get that one for the team felt awesome,” Tallman said. “Words can’t describe it.”

The Bulldogs’ rally in the bottom of the seventh inning began when senior John Bruno walked.

Wall relief pitcher Andrew Fischer retired the next two batters, leaving it up to sophomore Aaron Del Tin to keep the inning alive.

After fouling off pitches in several directions, Del Tin won his 13-pitch at-bat by working out a walk to put the tying runs on base.

“That was just an incredible at-bat,” said Coach Owen Stewart. “Aaron has worked so hard on his mental toughness and competitiveness over the season and to see it all pay off like that was phenomenal.”

Junior Reece Moroney kept the Bulldogs alive with a double to the gap in right-centerfield that scored Bruno and cut Wall’s lead to 3-2.

Playing in his first game since hurting his right hand several weeks earlier, Moroney said it felt good to come back and get a big hit to help his team win a championship.

He said his hand felt a little weak in his previous three at-bats, but Moroney kept grinding and delivered a moment he will never forget.

“We are a great group of guys who just want to win and put everything together to get it done,” he said. “We just like stringing hits together and winning.”

Following Moroney’s hit, the stage was set for Tallman with the tying run on third base and the winning run on second base.

As Tallman came up to bat, he remembered the feeling of striking out with the bases loaded to end a game against Howell High School during the regular season. He did not want a replay of that game.

Instead, Tallman stuck by what he had told his teammates minutes earlier and smoked a line drive up the middle to score Del Tin with the tying run and Moroney with the winning run and lift RFH to a 4-3 victory and the state sectional title.

With the team’s fans looking on, Tallman had helped the Bulldogs win their first state sectional title in 18 years and made his final home game one he will always remember.

“It feels awesome. To see all the hard work we have put in to come out on top like that was amazing,” he said.

Junior Owen Kenney hit a solo home run for the Bulldogs in the championship game.

Senior pitcher Charlie Jones started the game and allowed two runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts in six innings pitched.

Junior John Goodes pitched the seventh inning and earned the win when the Bulldogs rallied in the bottom of the seventh.

Rumson-Fair Haven (22-4) will play South Jersey Group II champion Haddon Heights Junior-Senior High School in a Group II state tournament semifinal game on June 13. The winner of that game will advance to the Group II championship game.

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