Marlboro baseball defeats Middletown North behind strong pitching

After falling to the Middletown North Lions on Monday, the Marlboro Mustangs varsity baseball team got their comeuppance on Wednesday with a 5-2 win at home.

Middletown North tried to rally in the top of the seventh after an RBI single by Matt Adamson made it 5-2. But with one out and the tying runner at the plate, the Mustangs’ defense got out of the jam.

“I just thought we were locked in more for seven innings today,” Marlboro Mustangs head coach Craig Helfgott said in a post-game interview with Jersey Sporting News. “We’ve been going through a rough stretch obviously. We lost a bunch in a row but on the flip side, we’ve been in every single game. It’s just a matter of us keeping our heads down and grinding through adversity and through those tough moments that come throughout games like we faced in the last inning. Today we were able to overcome it—we buckled down, played great defense, and threw the ball extremely well.”

Marlboro got the scoring started in the second inning after a pitch deflected off the catcher’s mitt and went to the backstop. Middletown North tied the game at one apiece in the top of third after RJ Kernan ripped a home run over the right-field fence.

Mustangs starting pitcher Nik Gomolka struck out three batters and allowed one run through three innings. It was his first start of the season.

The Mustangs retook the lead in the bottom of the third after Julien Umanzor hit a two-run double to put Marlboro up 3-1 after three.

In the fourth inning, Chris Collina entered the game to relieve Gomolka of his duties.

“That was the plan,” Helfgott said of having Gomolka only go three innings. “It was his first appearance on the mound this year, so he has not been longed out to be able to go deep into games yet. The plan was two to three innings depending on how he was going. We were really with the three innings he gave us and that was the plan all along for Chris (Collina) to follow him.”

Collina did quick work for his team, striking out three through the sixth inning and forcing flyouts and groundouts.

Marlboro tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth when Michael Kansky hit a two-run single to center field, making it a 5-1 game heading into the seventh.

Following Armstrong’s RBI single with one out, Collina was taken out of the game for Alex D’Ambrosio, who retired the next two batters and left two stranded for Middletown North.

“I just knew I had to throw strikes,” D’Ambrosio told Jersey Sporting News. “I knew my team had my back behind me, so I just wanted to get ahead.”

In another A-North matchup, the Mustangs understood the importance of getting in the win column after dropping a few division matchups early in the young season.

“This is a really good team win for us,” D’Ambrosio said. “We had a rough start, rough six games. This is a turning point for us, and I truly believe that. Today we fought as a team and hopefully we keep it going.”

What's Next For Marlboro and Middletown North

The Mustangs (3-6) look to stay hot in another A-North contest at Long Branch (0-6) on Friday, while the Lions (4-4) try to bounce back at home against Middletown South (6-1).