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HOHMAN, BEARD HONORED BY G.M.C.
EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ -
by the prof
The hardware keeps coming! With All-State and All-Area honors still on the horizon, 2 Charger all time greats recieved awards during last night G.M.C. Senior All Star Game at East Brunswick Vo-Tech.
Voted by the Greater Middlesex Conference Coaches Association and sponsored by the Baseball Warehouse, pitcher Will Beard and 2nd Baseman Michael Hohman won the Cy Young and MVP awards for the Conference.....the first clean sweep of the awards by teammates-ever!
Hohman will play for the defending NCAA DIII national champions next year at Kean University, while Beard will play for the defending Big East Champion Rutgers Scarlet Knights for 2008. Both players leave behind unforgettable legacies along with their teammates from the class of 2007.
Good luck and congratulations to "Little" Mikey Hohman and "Sweet" Willie Beard.
Spotswood adds Group II title to cap dream season
BY DOUG McKENZIE
Four-for-four. That's a heck of a day on a baseball diamond.It's even better when you're talking about an entire season.
The Spotswood High School baseball team finished 4-for-4 on the year by completing a championship sweep on Saturday, capturing the Group II title to go along with their GMC Blue Division crown, their GMC Tournament title and the Central Jersey Group II championship they won earlier this postseason.
And they did it in a most impressive way, winning both their Group II semifinal and final match-ups via the mercy rule.
In Saturday's final, it was Indian Hills that was the unfortunate victim, as the young Braves made some costly mistakes early on en route to an 11-1 defeat at the hands of the state's hottest team.
"Like I told you before the game, I knew that they were pretty young, and that in a situation of that magnitude, having my guys that I've been through the ringer with, I knew it was our day," Spotswood manager Glenn Fredericks said.
With a 26-4 final mark, the Chargers established themselves as a powerhouse in every sense of the word, combining a lights-out pitching staff with a potent lineup, one through nine (only one starter had an average below .300 for the year), and a strong defensive cast in the field.
The result was a seemingly unlikely run through the postseason - unless, of course, you spoke with Fredericks before the season began.
Fredericks said from the very beginning that this was a special team, citing the fact that many of the team's players have been playing together, and winning together at various levels, since they were 9-year-olds.
And all that playing time together led to this - the perfect finish to a historic season.
On Saturday, it didn't take long for the Chargers to announce their intentions.
Spotswood, who threw their ace, Rutgers-bound Willie Beard, at Indian Hills, came out exactly the way they left off in the semifinals - red hot. The Chargers immediately put a two-spot on the board in the top of the first off starter Ryan Furbeck, who entered the game with impressive numbers (7-1, 2.30 ERA).
"Our first three hitters crushed the ball," Fredericks said. "Their pitcher,
Furbeck, was pretty confident that he would shut us down, but after the third hitter smacked the ball in the gap, I knew we had his number.
"I told the guys to get me three runs," he added. "I didn't know they'd give me 11. It was Willie's day, and once we got two, I thought we had it."
With Beard cruising through the first three innings, Furbeck got through the second inning before the wheels came off for the Braves in the top of the third.
Mike Hohman led off the inning with a walk, then advanced on a wild pitch. Anthony Addone then singled to put runners on the corner, stole second, and scored, along with Hohman, when the throw to second got past both the second baseman and center fielder.
That play included the first two of six eventual errors in the inning that put the game away.
After John Michael Berner walked, he stole second following a fly-out, on a hit-and-run play with Mike Collins at the plate. Collins hit the ball right into the hole at shortstop, putting runners on the corners again. Collins then stole second, and in a play that Yogi Berra would have called "déjà vu all over again," the ball was thrown away again, allowing Berner to score.
C.J. Mooney then made it 7-0 with a two-run homer to left, before Spotswood added yet another run in the inning following a pair of Indian Hills errors.
With the Braves' defense failing them, Fredericks didn't hesitate to remain aggressive.
"I just wanted to keep putting as much pressure on them as I could. We weren't going to let anything change the way we play," he said.
With an eight-run lead, and Beard on the mound, the pro-Spotswood crowd was celebrating early. While the Chargers added three more runs in the fourth, thanks in part to a Berner home run, Beard (12-1) continued to cruise, allowing just three hits and three walks on the day, to go along with two strikeouts. Indian Hills got its lone run in the fourth, but by then, the championship belonged to Spotswood.
Following the game, the Chargers were treated like conquering heroes by their hometown fans, receiving a full police, fire and rescue squad motorcade from Route 18 all the way down Main Street through the town
"We had a motorcade through town where you saw little kids running out of their houses chasing down the bus," Fredericks said. "I saw people I haven't seen in years living in this town coming out to celebrate with us.
The procession continued throughout the town with people lining the streets until they reached the high school, where the student body, parents, friends and relatives awaited. There, the Chargers received a tremendous ovation before being wet down by the fire trucks.
"That's the thing that I keep telling everybody," Fredericks said. "The most beautiful thing about playing for a smaller school is the reaction of the community when you succeed. I'm overjoyed with the way our kids have been received throughout this whole process.
"It was the kind of celebration you can only get from the Spotswoods of the world. You can't get this at the big parochials. There's no St. Joseph Borough or Seton Hall Prep Township."
After allowing the joy to sink in over the past few days, Fredericks is now ready to put this season's success in its proper perspective.
"I think that we, right now, have to be regarded as one of the top five teams in the state," he said. "With the amount of work and dedication we've put in in preparation for this year, I think we're at a point where we can play with anyone out there.
"We just ran out of games," he added. "We were going to keep on playing until somebody told us to stop. After Saturday's game, it was time to stop. But we won our first Senior Legion game Monday night, 18-2, so it hasn't really stopped."
Great news for the Spotswood faithful, and bad news for the competition.