Monday May 20
CORRESPONDENT – South Bergenite

Anthony Hroncich get the out at third base in Rutherford's 6-2 victory over Ridgewood.

Anthony Hroncich get the out at third base in Rutherford’s 6-2 victory over Ridgewood.

RUTHERFORD – Rex MacMillan was not going to relinquish the ball to Rutherford head coach Carmen Spina when the coach came out in the top of the seventh inning.

MacMillan had just given up his second run and the bases were loaded.

But the sixth-seeded Bulldogs were still leading 19th-seeded Ridgewood, 6-2 and were one out away from making it back-to-back trips to the Bergen County Tournament semi-finals.

“I told him that I got one more in me,” said MacMillan about his meeting with Spina.

And Spina even had reliever Max Maasleveld on the sideline ready to come in.

“I was pretty much coming out to pull him,” said Spina. “but he’s a senior so I stayed with him.”

After the talk on the mound, MacMillan struck out Ridgewood‘s Eric Lewis to clinch the 6-2 victory and another shot to get to the county finals.

MacMillan struck out 11 batters while scattering seven hits in his complete game victory. He said that he was only able to use two of his pitches for most of the game.

“My curveball was off so I was going to my slider and fastball,” said MacMillan.

The senior hurler took the ball after junior pitcher Stephen Kinzler told Spina that his arm was stiff. Kinzler would able to play first base in the game.

“They asked me if I had seven good innings in me,” said MacMillan.

And Saturday’s game was a repeat of last season’s county quarterfinal game that also was won by Rutherford, 4-1.

MacMillan also pitched against Ridgewood last season in the county quarterfinal which saw him and Kinzler combine for a no-hitter. In that game, Kinzler was hit in the leg by a line drive and MacMillan came in relief to finish off Ridgewood in the 2012 quarterfinal.

“They definitely wanted revenge,” said MacMillan after Saturday’s game. “We knew that they were going to be up for this game.”

As it turns out, Rutherford will not be facing what they thought would be: second seeding Bergen Catholic. Instead the Bulldogs are taking on former rival River Dell, the 10th seed, on Saturday at Northern Valley Demarest at 3:30 p.m. Rutherford and the Golden Hawks use to be foes in the Bergen County Scholastic League American Division.

A victory over River Dell would send Rutherford to its first Bergen County final since 2000 when they won the county title. The county final is slated for Sunday at 2 p.m. at Northern Valley Demarest. If the Dogs do defeat the Golden Hawks, they most likely would face top seeded St. Joseph and the top pitcher in the county, Rob Kaminsky.

Along with MacMillan pitching, Rutherford faced the same Ridgewood pitcher, Kevin Skettini in this year’s quarterfinal as they did in 2012. MacMillan admitted that he did not remember how Skettini pitched last year when he came to the plate.

While the Bulldogs down after the first inning 1-0, Rutherford tied the game with a run in the bottom of the second inning.

But they would got in high gear in the bottom of the third inning against Skettini. Rutherford batted around with seven singles and four runs to grab a 5-1 lead. Rutherford received RBI’s from senior centerfielder Pat Landrigan, senior designated hitter Chris McCarthy, senior left fielder Adam Hernandez, and junior second baseman Ben Isola, who was 2-for-4 with two runs in the game.

Pat Landrigan was 2-for-4 in the game and scored an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it 6-1. Kinzler (1-for-3) brought Landrigan home from third with an infield hit.