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The 2007 season arrived with the highest of expectations for the club. With an arsenal of weapons at its disposal both at bat and on the mound, the Chargers turned in THE most prolific winning season in school history and one of the top 2 greatest seasons in Middlesex County history. Behind senior all staters Mike Hohman and Willie Beard, the Chargers became the first Group II team to win the GMC Tournament in the 21 year history of the tournament, yielding 1 run the entire tournament entering the Final game. Seniors Anthony Addone, John Michael Berner, Brian Curci, Phil Spina, sophomore slugger Joe Petosa and future star, Freshman SS Cody Pace led the way to a New Jersey State Championship, another first for SHS. The season was deemed "Superfecta" before the season began. We agreed as a team to a man, that we would not be satisfied if we don't win all 4 titles available. This TEAM did just that: GMC Blue Division Champs (5th consecutive), Middlesex County Champs, Central Jersey Group II Champs, and New Jersey Group II STATE CHAMPS!! The state title was won via mercy rule over the South and North Jersey champions after defeating 3 Division 1 pitchers in the Sectional tournament.
Final Record: 26W-4L, #7 team in New Jersey
1- INDIAN HILLS
June 9th at Toms River South HS for the New Jersey Group 2 State Championship....11-1: In Willie Beard's final game, the greatest season in SHS history came to a close with a resounding mercy rule victory over the North Jersey Champion. Beard's two hitter delivered the first State Championship in school history on a glorious day at TR South HS. CJ Mooney's epic blast into the trees in left field was the stamp on a great season and the win was capped by J.M. Berner's roof scraper in right field. Beard closed his career as the GMC's all time wins leader in his final game for SHS
June 1st at White Oak Park (Branchburg) for the Central Jersey Group 2 State Title... 1-0: THE game of the year. For the 3rd straight tournament game, SHS faced a division 1 pitcher....this time for the Central Jersey Group II State Title. For Spotswood, this was the 4th trip to the CJII Final in 7 years, having come up empty in 2001, 2003 and 2006.
This game had it all and both teams put forth maximum effort. It was quite simply the best played baseball game I've witnessed at this level. Defensive heroics? Take your pick. Cody Pace's diving stab to keep the ball on the infield which resulted in a bloody nose and simultaneously kept the tying run at third in the 7th. Brian Curci's catch in left field ended a rally in the fourth. This came an inning after sophomore Joe Petosa started a double dip off of a base hit to right to end the 3rd. Charging hard, Petosa cut down the would-be 1st run of the game by firing a strike to first baseman CJ Mooney. Mooney relayed to Anthony Addone at home to nail the lead runner and without hesitation, Addone gunned down the batter trying to advance to second on a 9-3-2-6 DP!
The winning run? The Chargers would have to score without the ball leaving the infield for the only run of the game! With 1 out, Addone would single (one of four hits by SHS). After a strikout, Petosa would step to the plate. Addone advanced to 2nd on a passed ball. Before the next pitch was delivered, Addone would advance to 3rd on an errand pick attempt. Petosa would scald the next offering off of starter Nick McNamara's left arm and beat the ensuing throw by the second baseman plating the only run of the game.
The game clincher, though, would come from one of the unlikely heroes of this club......sophomore 2b Jamie Cullen. It will forever be known as "The Play". With the Chargers leading 1-0 in the bottom of the 6th, Somerville threatened with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd. There were no more runs anywhere in sight and SHS would HAVE to make the 1 run stand. With one swing of the bat, a ground ball headed toward center field to tie the game, only something happened along the way....."THE PLAY". Cullen ranged far to his right and fielded on his backhand and in one motion sent a high toss toward CJ Mooney at first. Mooney, using all 6 feet of his body AND the top of first base, made the grab to nip the runner and hold the bag keeping the Pioneers off the board. This put the Chargers 3 outs away from its' first Sectional Title.
The gutsy Captain Mikey Hohman would induce a fly out to end it to Curci in left (with runners at first and third) to finish his seven hit shutout and send SHS home as Champions!
3- J.P. STEVENS
June 2nd at East Brunswick Tech for the Greater Middlesex Conference Championship....7-6: Less than 24 hours after capturing the CJ II title (and a Prom in between!), the Chargers had another championship game, this time for the Middlesex County title. SHS used 9 singles to come storming back from down 3-1 in the 5th inning and rode Will Beard in his gutsiest performance to date. Without his best stuff on 3 days rest (Beard beat Virginia Tech bound Mark Zecchino's Raritan club in the State Semis on Tuesday 4-1), Beard held a potent Stevens lineup at bay long enough for his offense to wake up. SHS sent 11 batters to the dish and scored 6 times in the fateful 5th to finish their scoring on the day. On 3 days rest and after 130+ pitches, Beard sent the final pitch of the game by Dan Belowich to strand the tying run on 2nd and clinch the title, the first for any Group II team in the 21 year history of the tournament.
May 8th at Monroe Twp HS, 18-7: Had there not been so many championship games, this rivalry victory would have easily topped this list. This matchup pitted the White Division champs vs. the Blue Division champs and was billed as one of those can't miss games. If you got there late, you missed a lot as Spotswood put an end to things with a 7 run first. With Mike Hohman on the mound, the outcome was never in doubt. This did not stop the scoring barrage. Monroe did its best to answer, but all it did was keep the Chargers interested. You name it, we scored with it. Homers, a squeeze, hit and run and for good measure, Hohman stole home. This win confirmed SHS as the #1 seed in the upcoming GMC tournament and sent the message loud and clear to all.....Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime
5- SOUTH AMBOY
May 17th at Grekoski Park (South River) in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament Quarterfinals.... 2-0: In a game billed as a "Pitchers Dual for the Ages" by the Home News Tribune, Will Beard followed his no-hit shutout in Round 1 over East Brunswick with a 1-hit shutout over Brian Seres and South Amboy. Both pitchers tossed 1-hitters, combined for 25 K's, and the game was completed in 1 hour and 29 minutes! Mikey Hohman, who led off the bottom of the 1st with a double (the only SHS hit of the game) would open the scoring on a wild pitch. With Seres struggling with command (4 BB's in the first), Junior DH Mike Collins knocked in John Berner with a sac fly to end the scoring. Both teams' hits came in the first....a double by Seres off Beard and the Hohman double off Seres.
Through 2 GMC games, Beard had given up 1 hit in 14 innings and yielded 0 runs tossing a no hitter and a 1 hitter!
Honorable Mention: In any other year, these games would have cracked this list...4/14 at Point Boro 8-6, 4/21 at Trenton Thunder vs. EB 6-0, 4/30 vs. Bishop Ahr 5-4, 5/25 vs. Governor Livingston 12-2
2- ISELIN KENNEDY
4- J.P. STEVENS
Year 1 of the Matrix began with the Chargers picked 3rd in the division and ended with SHS taking home the program's 3rd consecutive Blue Division Title. The season concluded with an 18-9 record and set the foundation for a State Championship run in the next several seasons.
1- ISELIN KENNEDY
May 7th at JFK, 14-5: Steve Abbott had 3 for 4 with a homer and scored 4 times as SHS clinched the Division for the 3rd straight year on the final day of league play.
April 20th at the Swamp, 8-3: The 2004 GMCT runners-up and White Division favorite came to town as the #2 team in the county. The outcome was never in doubt.
May 10th at Monroe, 11-10: Spotswood jumped out early and almost squandered an 8 run lead late at Monroe HS. Willie Beard came on in relief with the bases loaded and two outs to preserve the win on a fly out to center.
April 5th at the Swamp, 6-2: Season opener and first victory for the Matrix behind Willie Beard's complete game 4 hitter.
5- SOUTH RIVER
April 15 at SRHS 6-1: Decisive victory over South River and ace Frank Fiumecaldo, who beat SHS twice the previous year. Lefty senior Steve Curry dominated from the get-go and Travis Retzlaff rocked two home runs in the victorious effort
The 2006 season resulted in a 19-5-1 record and another GMC Blue Division title, the fourth consecutive for SHS. It also marked a return to the Central Jersey Group II State Sectional Final for the first time since 2003.
1- RUMSON FAIR-HAVEN
May 30th at the Swamp, 3-2: Robbie Thuring's suicide squeeze in the bottom of the sixth scored CF Phil Spina and made a winner out of starting pitcher Mike Hohman. Willie Beard saved his 4th game of the year to propel SHS into its' first Sectional final since 2003
2- BISHOP AHR (GAME 2)
April 26th at the Swamp, 7-6: After Bishop Ahr tied it and took the lead 6-5 in the top of the 7th AFTER the apparent last out of the game was made, SHS won it with 2 in the bottom half of the frame without recording an out. Senior Bryan May tied it with a single, his 4th hit of the day and catcher Anthony Addone rocked an opposite field double off of the left field wall to win it!
3- BISHOP AHR (GAME 1)
April 1st at Bishop Ahr HS, 2-1: Opening Day 2006 started with a dramatic one run victory for SHS, who opened defense of their 3rd straight Blue Division title. With All-GMC slugger Lee Cavico standing on deck with 2 out and a runner on 2nd, catcher Matt Rodriguez was inexplicably picked off of 2nd to end the threat by Willie Beard. Beard won his first out of eight games on the year on a complete game 2-hitter
May 8th at the Swamp, 8-4: This is known as "the Florida Game" in which a trick play was used to break open a tight game late. Monroe, for some unknown reason, played with their infield in and the bases loaded with 2 outs and saw a routine ground ball sneak through the right side of the infield to plate 2 for the final margin. Mark Fahy worked the final 3 innings to earn the save for Will Beard and Spotswood improved to 15-1-1 at this point after trumping the White Division champs
5- ISELIN KENNEDY (GAME 2)
May 3rd at the Swamp, 13-3: Spotswood clinches their 4th consecutive GMC Blue Division title on the strength of 14 hits and a Mark Fahy complete game. Freshman Joe Petosa had 3 hits and went yard in the mercy rule victory over their bitter rival