Summit Baseball's 2001 amazing comeback ended at Caldwell. After starting the season by losing 7 of its first 9 games, the Hilltoppers really turned things around and won 13 of the final 17 games. Included in those 13 games were victories over the likes of Cranford, Mendham, Gov. Livingston, Hanover Park and New Providence. That list includes 3 of the best teams in Union County as well as the 2 top teams in the Iron Hills conference. An awesome finishing stretch.
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However, against Caldwell all the little things that happen in a game seemed to break against Summit. Our hard hit line drives always seemed to hit right at a Caldwell player while theirs were just out of reach of a Summit defender. On two occasions there were key fielder's choice sitiuations that ultimately didn't result in anyone being out. In two other situations outfielder's lost their footing on the soggy outfield turf resulting in extra base hits that might have been outs. But, that's baseball.
From the start it was clear that Matt Williams was struggling with his control. In the 3 innings he pitched Williams walked 3 and hit one batter and went deep into the count against many batters. In fact, he threw 76 pitches over those 3 innings. Throw in a few bad breaks and Caldwell was up 6-0 after 4 innings. Steve Bariexca took over in relief with no outs in the 4th inning. He pitched the final three innings and was charged with 3 runs in the 5th inning. Caldwell's Jim Edwards, on the other hand, held Summit scoreless over the first 5 innings. Entering the 6th inning Summit was down 9-0 and things looked very bleak.
A glimmer of hope came in the 6th inning. Paul Krupa was walked with one out, Chris Kaiser singled and Steve Bariexca walked to load the bases. Rob Delgado ripped a single to score one run. Mike Nelson then doubled to left-center to clear the bases, but that was the end of things for Summit. Nelson had a big day at the plate with 2 singles and a double and Bariexca went 2 for 2 with a single and a double.