Reardon, Kinnelon upend Chatham
Don’t let his youthful appearance or the mild-mannered façade fool you. Shane Reardon lives on the edge.
Well, at least from a pitching perspective.
Only a freshman, the Kinnelon right-hander doesn’t hold back when it comes to attacking the plate. But, rather than groove his fastball over the heart of it, Reardon operates primarily on its corners, painting the black with the artistry of a craftsman.
“I basically try not to throw down the middle,” Reardon said. “I want to work outside.”
Handed the unenviable task of quelling a late Chatham charge, Reardon responded with two critical, inning-ending strikeouts, each on called third strikes, that averted potentially greater damage and enabled Kinnelon to hold on for a 9-8 victory over Chatham on Tuesday in Chatham.
Reardon entered a contest Kinnelon (4-0) once led, 9-0, and inherited runners on the corners with two outs in the fifth and Chatham (3-1) in the midst of a six-run rally. He defused the threat with a punch out.
In the sixth, it was more of the same. Chatham tacked on two more runs on bases-loaded walks to Tom Penn and Joe Donfrio and had runners at second and third with one out. Again, it was Reardon to the rescue with a strikeout to preserve a one-run advantage for Kinnelon.
“He’s a tough freshman, a competitor,” Kinnelon coach John McDonald said. “We like his moxie and we’re excited to have him.”
Senior Ben VanPut, who was instrumental in helping Kinnelon to that early cushion by belting a two-run homer, closed out matters in the seventh, aided by two strikeouts, to pick up the save.
“You can’t get too freaked out about it,” VanBut said of his relief appearance. “I wanted to come in and shut things down.”
The need for the late-inning mound heroics of Reardon and VanPut didn’t appear like it would be needed as Kinnelon jumped out in front right from the start.
An offense powered by at least one hit from eight different sources, generated runs early and often over the first four innings. Brandon Schlette and Chris Villante each had an RBI single in the first and VanPut’s blast to left highlighted a six-run third that extended the advantage to 8-0. Dan Collins tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Chatham (3-1) countered by scoring six times in the fifth, sparked by a three-run double from Gray Halliburton (2-for-4), to trim the deficit to 9-6. Tom Penn and Joe Donofrio drew bases-loaded walks in the sixth that drew the Cougars to within the final margin.
“They gave everything and never gave up,” first-year Chatham coach Ed Collins said. “We battled and that says a lot about these guys. We have people who can get the jobs done. They just have to get them done at the right time.”
Down, 2-0, in the bottom of the first, Chatham put together a rebuttal by loading the bases with two outs. Penn socked a hard grounder up the middle only to have shortstop John Mammary ranged far to his left to make a diving stop before throwing out the batter at first to bring the inning to a close.
“That play was huge,” VanPut said. “It set the tone for the whole game.”
Mamary , Sagnello, VanPut, Joe Presti and Dan Collins each had two hits for Kinnelon. Brett Huelsenbeck finished 2-for-4 with an RBI triple and run scored for Chatham.
Gregg Lerner covers baseball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner