Hills Wins 2016 County Championship

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“The undefeated Cowboys freshmen celebrate after their 7-0 shut-out versus Ramapo” – Photo by Glenn deMarrais

Pascack Hills Cowboys are the 2016 Bergen County Freshmen Tournament Champions after beating No. 2 seed Ramapo 7-0, on May 8 at Don Bosco Prep High School in the 44th Annual Freshman Baseball Tournament. The last time Hills won was 1986. Ryan Ramsey pitched a terrific game, throwing a complete game three-hitter with three strikeouts.

The fifth seeded Cowboys beat Indian Hills 10-0 in the opening round. Their next opponent was Mahwah, who they beat 6-0 moving onto the semifinals. Hills had to face top-seeded Bergen Catholic in the semifinals, but the Cowboys weren’t scared. They jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and left victorious, 8-5.

In the Larry Ennis Championship game, the bats for both teams were silent in the opening innings. It wasn’t until the fourth inning when the Cowboys got on the board when Connor Quiqley bunted and Julian Bulzomi scored with a headfirst slide into home. The defense behind Ramsey was excellent. Quigley had a hand full of catches in centerfield, Bulzomi showed off his range at second base and Mike Rodriguez showed off his talent at first. Behind the dish, Marc Hernandez threw out Ramapo’s leadoff hitter stealing second with a beautiful throw, and an inning later, he made a terrific diving tag on a passed ball, saving a run.

The score was 1-0 after five innings. In the top of the sixth, the Cowboys added three runs, as Ramapo’s pitcher was struggling to throw strikes.

With a score of 4-0 going into the top of the seventh, the Cowboys tacked on more insurance runs. Hits by Hernandez, Matt Giamonnco, Nate Barcus and Chris Curcio put the game out of reach.

Just three outs away from Hills’ first County Championship since 1986, Ramsey was running out to the mound going for a complete game. He struck out the first batter of the inning. Third baseman Curcio made a nice play down the line and made a long and accurate throw to first for out number two pulling the Coach Matthew Bruh led Cowboys one out away from history. With a 3-2 count on the batter, Ramsey struck out the batter swinging, ending a 30-year drought for the Cowboys. His teammates and fans mobbed him at the mound.

Starting shortstop Brandon Siegenthaler commented on the team’s accomplishment.

“It’s great to make history and it’s something that comes around very often. This is a very big accomplishment, and I’m proud of how our team has been playing this season with a 14-0 record right now.”

He went on to talk about how rare it is for two public schools to face off in the finals of the county.

“I would describe this team as a family. From the first day of tryouts our team has come a long way and everyone has become closer,” Siegenthaler said.

“It was a great game,” said Coach Bruh.

A perfect 14-0 record to this point is remarkable and winning the tournament made the season even better for the freshman boys.