NORTH HALEDON – There isn’t a single baseball banner among all the reminders of athletic achievement in Eastern Christian’s gym.  Nick Steiginga and his teammates remind each other of that grating reality virtually every day.

“That fuels us,” Steiginga said. “It’s our No. 1 motivation.”

The Eagles will begin their quest to win Eastern Christian’s first baseball championship of any kind Saturday morning when they play at NJIC Colonial Division rival Hawthorne in the first round of the Passaic County tournament. Hawthorne (9-6), seeded No. 8, and ninth-seeded Eastern Christian (7-8) have split their regular-season meetings in what has quietly become one of North Jersey’s most competitive baseball series.

Hawthorne, which knocked Eastern Christian from the Passaic County tournament in 2012, defeated Eastern Christian, 4-2, on opening day in Hawthorne. Eastern Christian bounced back to win the rematch, 3-2, on April 23 in North Haledon.

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