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High School Baseball:
Good Things Come To Shawnee as Doolittle Helps Captures State Title

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

By Vincent Lewis
SJSports Staff Writer

The South Jersey Group IV baseball champions Shawnee Renegades had to wait for what seemed an eternity before they had a chance of adding a state title to their school’s trophy case. Not only has mother nature postponed their match up with the Kearny Kardinals until today, the Renegades also had to wait even longer due to the length of the Parochial A finals going extra innings. That delay did not bother Shawnee’s starting pitcher Sean Doolittle as he struck out twenty-three batters on route to capturing the Renegades first ever-state title. Shawnee broke a one all tie in the ninth inning and went on to win 5-3 at Toms River South.

These two schools have met one another this past fall in the Group IV State Soccer finals. In this game, Kearny came out on top. In the game of baseball, Shawnee would be looking for revenge for their school. To inspire them, the Toms River South outfield wall displayed the number of championships they have won in the past and they would add another image as they won another title today. Both Shawnee and Kearny would be inspired by all of the championship signs hanging on their home field as they looked to make history for their schools.

The Renegades wasted little time getting the game’s first run when Chris Runkle delivered a double during their top half of the first inning. Doolittle would help himself as his single with two outs chased Runkle home for an early 1-0 advantage. That run would seem huge, especially with Doolittle on the mound. Kearny batters were having difficulty catching up with their opponents’ pitches. That remained true up until the bottom of the fourth when an RBI single by Hugh MacDonald tied the game for the Kardinals.

When the normal seven innings were completed, the winner of this state championship game still hadn’t been decided. The tension on both benches was high and each coach knew that a single run could be the difference. Shawnee broke through in a big way finally in the ninth inning. With two outs, Ben Yerkes and Tristan Michaleski both drew walks when Bill Gartland stepped up to the plate. His single score Yerkes and Shawnee jumped ahead by one…but they were not done. Matt McCollum’s singled home two more runs and the Renegades lead by four. Kearny would not make it easy for Shawnee to start their celebrations as they scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Doolittle would settle down to strike out the sides preserving the state title victory.

Photos by Mark Fletcher

©2003 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.