Point Boro baseball falls in one-run sectional final

Point Boro Panther sophomore pitcher Nick Guzzi retired seven batters in his first state sectional final appearance (STEVE WEXLER/THE OCEAN STAR)

HADDONFIELD – The magical postseason ended for the No. 5 seeded Point Boro baseball team as they fell in the South Jersey Group II sectional final to No. 2 Haddonfield at Spicer Field, 2-1.

“It was a one-run ballgame and credit to Haddonfield,” said head coach David Drew.

“I’m very proud of our team though. We have so many young guys here, we can only learn from this. It certainly hurts and it will hurt until next year, there’s no doubt about it, but I’m very proud of my guys and how they played all year long.”

The Panthers were the first to score in the contest off a sac fly from right fielder Paul Franceschini who drove in shortstop Sam Collins, 1-0. But Boro could not nurse the lead late in the game when Haddonfield’s Sam Heine tied the game in the bottom of the fifth and the Bulldogs took the lead after John Cristino had a fortunate bounce into left field for the game, 2-1.

Collins opened up Boro’s offense off a first-pitch fast ball, and eventually worked his way to third after a Christian Aurin bunt and a Haddonfield error allowed the steal.

The Panthers had a final opportunity to take the game in the top of the fourth, as Sam Young and Andrew LaSpina were left on first and second, respectively. 

Sophomore Nick Guzzi pitched six innings for the Panthers, striking out seven in his first sectional final appearance. 

“Nick Guzzi is our workhorse, he’s the number one guy. He’s the guy we want with the ball,” said Drew.

“If we had to play again, I would make sure he had the ball too. I’m so proud of him and how he competed all year long. He put us in this situation and got us here, I just wish we could have scored a couple more runs for him today.”

Collins and LaSpina both went 1-for-3 from the plate, Collins scoring the only run for the Panthers. 

After the sectional loss, Boro finishes a much improved season, 18-10 overall and 10-4 in the B South, finishing second. They also defied the odds of many doubters this season, collecting multiple upsets in the postseason, including upsetting No. 1 West Deptford to advance to the sectional final for the first time since 2006.