Posted by Glenn Fredricks on May 28 2010 at 05:00PM PDT


 BERKELEY HEIGHTS — Spotswood High School senior Cody Pace did quite a bit Friday afternoon in leading the Chargers to a 7-5 win over Governor Livingston and their second NJSIAA Central Group II title in four years.

Of course, this wasn't a one-man tale.

The Chargers (14-12), who started the tournament as a No. 11 seed, had anactive supporting cast behind Pace in eliminating fourth-seed Governor Livingston (23-8).

Pace pitched a complete-game, started a pretty 1-6-3 DP in the bottom of the seventh, and hit a pivotal two-run, two-out, opposite-field homer to left-center in the sixth. Senior first baseman Mike Liming hit his first homer of the year — a three-run blast in the first and designated hitter Anthony Pietenza clubbed a two-run shot later in the inning to give the Chargers a great start and a 5-0 lead.

The Chargers, who won the state title in 2007, will play South champ Audubon 4 p.m. Tuesday at Rutgers in the Group II semifinal.

"The expectation level was so different from 2007 to this year; the 2007 team was expected to win it all. We actually said we were going to do it and we did," Chargers coach Glen Fredericks said. "This year, earlier in the year, we said we were going to do it, but we were unsure of ourselves. But the kids kept battling. They never lost faith."

"We weren't favored to win this at all, we just played with heart the whole way," Pace said.

Governor Livingston cut the Chargers' lead to 5-4 after two innings, but Pace and junior catcher Shawn Weeks restored order. Weeks threw out two would-be base stealers in the fourth and fifth 
innings after a leadoff single and walk.

"Whenever somebody steals, no matter curveball or fastball or anything I'm still going to throw the ball as hard as I can," Weeks said. "Cody is going to help me out with his slide step. On the curveball we saw him breaking and I threw it where it had to be."

Pace hit a Cranston changeup away for the two-run shot off Cranston in the sixth that extended the lead to 7-4. Half of Pace's 38 hits this year have gone for extra bases. His homer was his sixth.

 "He threw one away and I just timed it up and hit it the other way," Pace said.

Pace, the team's shortstop when he's not pitching, jokes that he isn't really a pitcher, Weeks said.

"We make a joke with Cody all the time when he's on the mound," Weeks said. "He says he's not a pitcher. So we say we're nervous when he's on the mound. But we know we're hoping he has it. He knows where to put the ball, he hits the spots. He's actually a pitcher, though we won't tell him that."

Mike Rielly led off the seventh with a single. Pace then got Tyler Martis on the 1-6-3 double play. But Billy Worswick walked and moved to second on an infield error and Jake Skinner followed with an RBI single to right to make it 7-5. But on the next pitch, Pace got Paul Mirabelli to ground to second to send Spotswood to another state Group II semifinal.

"I was just pitching on pure adrenaline, I didn't have much in the tank, but I knew I had to get this win," said Pace, now 5-2.

Pace struck out three, walked three and allowed nine hits.


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