The Trailblazer

Hills Baseball’s Path to First League Title in 12 Years

Pascack Hills Baseball Team following a win
Photo by: Doreen Sullivan

Pascack Hills Baseball Team following a win Photo by: Doreen Sullivan

Julian Bulzomi

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Pascack Hills baseball team won the league title on Tuesday after defeating Ramsey 3-1 behind a superb pitching outing from Senior Paul Sullivan and strong offensive production from third baseman Mike Rodriguez.

Pascack Hills finished the league with a record of 7-1 with its only loss coming to a tough Mahwah team 5-1 back on April 9th. Hills have had an incredible year posting a record of 14-2 with its only other loss coming at the hands of Bergen Catholic in a tight 1-0 game.

Pascack Hills started off their season with a sweep of Westwood in a double header on opening day. First, defeating their ace, Joe Lagomarsino 9-1 and later defeating their number two Steven Riedel 9-0. Behind outstanding outings from pitchers Jack Brodsky and Ryan Ramsey, Hills got the job done and were off to a 2-0 start.

Junior Pitcher Brandon Siegenthaler commented on the league title saying, “We were expected to win and that’s what we did. There are high expectations for us and winning the league is just the beginning of our journey this year.”

The next set of games occurred just shortly after the Westwood series, as Hills took on the Thunderbirds of Mahwah. In the first game, Hills battled a tough game but came out on the losing end 5-1. Hills was unable to get anything started versus junior left-handed pitcher Cormac Henriques.

The following day, Hills got their revenge after sneaking out a 4-3 win in 9 innings. Jack Brodsky pitched a spectacular game for Hills and ended up being the hero after blasting a solo home run to left centerfield in the top of the 9th. The Hills bullpen closed the door in the bottom of the 9th to seal the win and split the series with their rivals.

It wasn’t until two weeks later that Hills was able to face another league opponent in Riverdell. Two aces faced off against each other, Ryan Ramsey, a left-handed pitcher and University of Maryland Commit for the Cowboys and Aidan Tucker, a right-handed pitcher and Tufts University Commit for the Hawks. Both pitchers held their respective teams to less than two runs through seven innings. The game headed to extra innings and a lead off double by Marc Hernandez set up Ryan Ramsey who delivered an RBI single to put hills up 3-2. Hills was dominant on the hill once again in the final inning to seal the win for Hills.

Subsequently, Hills rolled past Riverdell 10-0 for the sweep and was the beginning of a three game stretch of shutouts for the Cowboys.

Junior Shortstop Chris Curcio also added “Winning the league was a huge accomplishment for us. However, this is just the beginning of our goals for the season and is just a glimpse of what this team is capable of.”

In the last league series for Hills, they needed to complete the sweep of Ramsey for sole possession of the Big North Patriot Division League title.  

The first game was another nail biter as most of the previous league games had proven to be. Hills was tied once again 2-2 going into the 7th inning but scratched across a run in the top of the 7th to go ahead 3-2. Brandon Siegenthaler then came in and shut down the Rams for the win.

One more win would clinch the league title for Hills as Ramsey came to hills on May 1st. The beautiful weather and importance of the game proved to be a story-book ending for Hills. Paul Sullivan pitched six innings of one run baseball with Mike Rodriguez batting in two runs to push the Cowboys past the Rams 3-1 for the league title.

“So proud of this team. They put in the effort in the offseason and come to work everyday and are reaping the benefits of hard work and dedication,” Coach Kevin Kirkby said. “Disappointed that we didn’t dogpile after we clinched it” He added.

The Cowboys have been extremely dominant this year posting a 16-2 record thus far. The pitching staff has been phenomenal and the bats have been hot. This incredible season has been recognized not just by the Patriot League, but by the coaches of the entire county, as Hills has been awarded the #2 seed in the county tournament. Ahead of powerhouse parochial schools like Saint Joseph’s and Bergen Catholic. They just recently defeated Mississippi State Commit K.C. Hunt and Ramapo to advance to the quarterfinals of the county tournament and will face off against 23 seed Fair Lawn this Saturday at 2:30pm at Emerson High School. 

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