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High School Baseball:
Riverside Comes Up Short in State Finals

Saturday, June 5, 1999

By Art Redd
SJSports Staff Writer

The high powered, hard hitting Riverside's road to the State Group 1 Finals took place at Toms River North High School against the Glen Rock Panthers. The Rams were seeking their third title in the last four seasons while Glen Rock were looking for their first state title. Riverside's quest ended when their opponent finally got past them. Glen Rock's senior starting pitcher Matt Percelli had complete control of his game as he struck out 14 batters en route to their first title. Glen Rock ended a threat by the Rams in the bottom of the seventh inning to preserve a 3-2 victory.

Riverside and Glen Rock have met under similar situations back in the 1997 State finals when the Rams came away with the victory. These two teams wanted no less than that the state tournament trophy. The Panthers got things started in the second inning against Riverside's starting pitcher Bill Trout. With one out, starting pitcher Matt Percelli drilled a solo homerun over the left field fence to plate the first run of the game. Two batters later Steven Boscia's run batted in double scored Joe Trobunella, who walked, to take a 2-0 lead after two innings.


Jerry Dorost led off the 4th inning by getting on base by an error and scored on a Brian Hirschberg single. Riverside followed suit with Mike Bloomquist getting his second single of the game to start off their bottom half of the inning. Bloomquist got into scoring position with his second stolen base of the game. Percelli struck out the next two Riverside batters before Dave Slough came up to bat. Slough handled one of Percelli's pitches and grounded an RBI double down the third base line and scored Bloomquist to get their first run of the game. Percelli would strike out the side to end the fourth.

Greg Gilbert led off the 6th inning with a walk to get the Riverside crowd sensing a big inning. Bloomquist was also able to work a walk against the hard throwing Percelli to give Riverside first and second with no outs. But the Panthers starting pitcher struck out Jose Melendez with the high heat and Nic DiCarlo on a called third strike. The crowd had something to cheer about when Slough came through with an RBI single. The score now 3-2 and Riverside still threatening with men on first and third with two outs, Percelli again got a called third strike to end the sixth inning. Bill Trout kept the Rams in the game by not allowing Glen Rock to score any more runs for the rest of the game. He had only given up five hits to give his team a chance for a dramatic comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Percelli got started by striking out the lead off batter, Rick West singled to right for Riverside. Again the high heat got the second out of the inning and the Panthers were ready to celebrate. Gilbert put that on hold when got a two out single and Riverside had men on first and third with the hot hitting Bloomquist up at the plate. Coach Gary Herron elected to have Gilbert steal second to set up the winning run in scoring position. Gilbert didn't have a chance as the throw down to second arrived in plenty of time to end the game and watched Glen Rock capture their first state championship.

Photos by Art Redd

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