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Pascack Hills ends 31-year Bergen County Baseball Tournament Title drought

Pascack Hills starting pitcher Jack Brodsky said afterwards, he knew from the beginning of the game he would only have 89 pitches to work in the 2018 Bergen County Baseball Tournament Championship Game against Don Bosco Prep (20-6) at Northern Valley Demarest High School, so he would have to go through the whole game using that.

Thanks to clutch two-out hitting early on, Brodsky was the beneficiary of run support. In the first inning, the Cowboys grabbed the lead on a RBI single by Ryan Ramsey. In the third inning, third baseman Mike Rodriguez belted his second single with two outs. Right-fielder Brandon Siegenthaler stepped up to the plate and crushed a two-run line drive home run deep over the left field fence off Don Bosco starting pitcher Drew Helmstetter.

Siegenthaler on the home run, “The first two batters before I know he was living inside, I got my toes on the line and he threw an inside fastball and on the second pitch took advantage of it and took him deep.”

The Ironmen responded in the bottom half of the third; Armando Alvarez led off with a walk and eventually came around to score on a RBI double by Tommy Courtney into left center gap. However, Brodsky shut the door retiring the last two hitters. Brodsky continued to get stronger against a stout Ironmen lineup that had been averaging 10.7 runs in the tournament, striking out six in a row between the fourth and fifth innings.

“After the first three innings, I kind of felt that was unrealistic in my pitch count but after the fourth inning, my pitching coach Brandon Siegenthaler said you have 13 pitches left, how do you want to use them? I said coach, I want to use them and left it out in the fifth and struck out the last three hitters. It’s always good to get that early run support and we have been doing that almost every game in the counties. The last game we scored four runs in the first inning and offensively on a hot streak of late, everyone one through nine and without a doubt helped the pitching.”

Pascack Hills head Kevin Kirkby on Brodsky’s performance, “He threw in the state tournament three days ago and we were up 7-0 after five innings and plan was not for him to throw today. We were thinking of pulling him after four, he looked at me and said I’m not leaving pitches out there and struck out the last three”

“He’s been unbelievable and huge big game pitcher for us the last three years. As a sophomore threw a three-hit shutout against Mahwah in the state semifinals, last year a state sectional final at High Point and this year the county. He has been a bulldog on varsity for three years.”

Having reached his maximum pitch count, Brodsky departed the contest after five dominant innings yielding one run on three hits while walking one and striking out nine. Taking over the pitching duties would be no other than Siegenthaler working double duty on this day. Don Bosco wasted no time applying the pressure with runners on first and second with none out. However, Siegenthaler averted disaster inducing a pop out and inning-ending double play.

“Siegenthaler was one of our main starters early in the season and when we got to the fourth or fifth week in the season, said Kirkby. When tournament time comes, you have to start working a guy to come out the back end and he embraced it and said he would do it and been unbelievable for us a closer.”

Looking to put the finishing touches on the Cowboys (26-2) third Bergen County Baseball Tournament Championship in school history and first since 1987, Siegenthaler closed it out in style striking out the side in the 7th that set off a wild and jubilant celebration at the pitcher’s mound. In a post-game awards presentation, Siegenthaler was awarded the Evans Award that signifies Most Valuable Player.

“I knew the 6,7,8 hitters were in the batting order, know these kids who I used to play with,” said Siegenthaler. “I got the first two guys out and last one my good friend Armando(Alvarez) went down 3-0 on him but knew had to go at him and threw the last two strikes. I’m in shock and threw my glove up. I knew we could do something special this year, a great team, great talent and pitching always keeps us in the game.”

“Brandon (Sigenthaler) is the best utility player  who has been through Pascack Hills, hits the ball fantastic as a four hitter and pitching lights out in relief and in the field you can put him anywhere said Brodsky.”

“When people think of Bergen County baseball, they think of Bergen Catholic, St. Joe’s and Don Bosco, the three private schools and I think after what we accomplished it’s a big confidence booster for all the public schools, the combination of two schools can really do a lot. Coach Kirkby has been unbelievable and I have been on varsity the past three years and nothing but a confidence booster and supportive through entire time. I really made my mark sophomore year and he stuck with me the entire time and unbelievable man and coach.”

Kirkby on winning the Bergen County Baseball Tournament Championship, “For a small Group 2 school to come out and knock off two big parochial schools in the semi’s and finals, the kids talked about it all year and a goal of theirs and able to persevere and win it all and all of them did a phenomenal job”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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