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High School Baseball:
Shawnee Captures S.J. Group IV at the Sandcastle

Friday, May 30, 2003

By Vincent Lewis
SJSports Staff Writer

It was a familiar opponent playing in an unfamiliar place. Two teams from the area traveled to The Sandcastle ball field in Atlantic City to compete for the South Jersey Group IV championship. The fifth seeded Renegades from Shawnee were the host team for their meeting with the seventh seeded Minutemen from Washington Township. These teams knew each other well and it showed on the baseball diamond. With the Minutemen tying the game during their top half of the seventh inning, Bill Gartlan’s single in the bottom half of the inning scored the winning run giving Shawnee the title.

Both of these teams had some exciting stories to tell of how they made it to today’s game. Neither team was supposed to be here with teams like Toms River East and Cherry Hill West holding down the number one and two seeds in the bracket. The Minutemen knocked off the tenth seeded Brick Township squad before taking on West. That was a close game that, of course, Washington Township endured only to face another tough opponent in Millville. Patience at the plate made this matchup an easier game for the Minutemen, on paper, as they won by seven runs. Shawnee surprised a few people with their play as they downed a determined Triton team, and then easily rolled past the fourth seeded Rancocas Valley team. Next waiting for the Renegades were the number one seeded Toms River East squad. Yet again, Shawnee proved to be the better team, as they held East scoreless to advance to the finals.

Washington Township quickly made themselves at home as they scored two runs in the first inning on Tom Terrell two run single. The Minutemen tacked on another run in the fourth inning to jump out to a 3-0 lead. But Shawnee would responded in the fifth inning when the loaded the bases for Sean Doolittle who delivered a two run single to tie the game. Two outs like and the bases reloaded again, Gartlan’s single plated two more runs giving Shawnee their first lead of the game at 5-3.

The Minutemen weren’t about quit now after making it far through the bracket. The last two years, Toms River East ended their season abruptly in the playoffs. So Township went right to work when Ryan Becko came through with a big double scoring two to tie the game at 5-5. That’s when things got serious and exciting. Mike Tambini got hold of a pitch and sent it over the fence giving Shawnee the lead back. Township, yet again, tied the game at 6 apiece only to set up the heroics in the bottom of the inning by Gartlan.

Photos by Mark Fletcher

©2003 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.