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Varsity Baseball Wrap-Up: Stellar Season Ends for Talented Team with Sectional Championship and 21-10 Record

Rams+Varsity+Baseball+celebrates+after+winning+the+N2G3+state+sectional+title+on+June+3.+
Ian Pietrucha
Rams Varsity Baseball celebrates after winning the N2G3 state sectional title on June 3.

For Randolph Varsity Baseball, the 2023 to 2024 season was one to remember, with the Rams earning a 21-10 record capped by a sectional championship, only to face a heartbreaking loss in the state semifinals to Morris Knolls, 5-1, two days later.

Looking ahead, the team is sending off four seniors to play college baseball: Pitcher James Kleiven will be attending the University of Miami. Pitcher Tommy Martin will be heading north to play at Maine University. Infielder/ DH Connor Stokoe will be staying closer to home and playing at Drew University. Finally, outfielder Ethan Gorman will be playing at Emerson College.

Looking back, here’s are some highlights…and one final lowlight…from a spectacular Varsity Baseball season.

Week 1: March 31- April 6

The Rams kicked off their season on the road at Montville on April 1, looking for a perfect 1 and 0 record. Randolph won, 4-1, led by senior pitcher Tommy Martin throwing a complete game and nine strikeouts. Later in the week, Randolph faced the state-ranked Seton Hall Prep Pirates, for the Rams’ first big test of the season. A five-run fifth inning and the help of seven errors from the Pirates gave the Rams a 6-4 win, going 2-0 that week.

Week 2: April 7 – April 13

Randolph started off with its toughest competition yet, going head-to-head with the No. 1 ranked Delbarton Green Wave. The Rams ended up putting the state on notice in a comfortable, 9-5 win. Two days later on April 10, the Rams headed up to Kinnelon for their fourth game of the season, taking care of business in an effortless, 15-1 victory. The Rams wrapped up the week with two more one-sided affairs, a 14-3 victory against Mendham and an 18-1 win against West Morris. Both games were dominated by pitching, with a combined 0.00 ERA from seniors Tommy Martin, Rocco Albano, Steven Nodoro and John Shadwell and junior Max Brown.

“Our team was clicking, and we found ways to win games even when we weren’t at our best,” Tommy Martin said of the hot start.

Week 3: April 14 – April 20

The Rams were undefeated and a top-ranked team going into week three, when the team encountered a big rival of theirs, the Morris Knolls Eagles, another top-ranked team in the state. Every winning streak has an end, as Randolph’s came to a halt to the Eagles, losing 7-4. The Rams quickly bounced back in the next game, overpowering Chatham, 10-0, with a dominant pitching performance by Martin, allowing 1 hit in 5 innings.

In the third game of their five-game week, the Rams headed up to Pope John, where they took care of business, winning 8-3. In the fourth game of the week, Randolph encountered Montville for the second time this season. It was the same outcome, as Randolph won 8-2. The Rams also played their annual Autism Awareness Challenge against Steinert. The Rams got on the board quickly, scoring four runs in the first inning and never looking back, collecting their tenth win on the season.

Week 4: April 21 – April 27

Once again, the Rams faced off against Pope John, after beating them the week prior. This time around, the game was a barnburner, ending on a walk-off single by senior DH Connor Stokoe. The next day, Mendham came into town looking for different results, and got just that. The Rams were handed their second loss of the season, 4-3, in extra innings. One day later, it was the same result, as Ridge took care of business, overcoming Randolph, 6-0.

Week 5: April 28 – May 4

The Rams came back from a much-needed five-day break from baseball and got right to work, going on a 12-run rally in the third inning to beat Caldwell, 15-9. Nearing the end of the week, Randolph went on another tear, beating Livingston, 10-2; Jefferson, 11-1, in the first round of the Morris County Tournament; and West Morris, 3-2, in a quarterfinal victory. Through this stretch, Tommy Martin threw 10 innings, allowing 1 earned run and 4 hits.

Week 6: May 5 – May 11

Once again, Randolph faced another obstacle, running into Delbarton for the second time this season. In a hard-fought battle, Randolph came up short, losing 2-1 and taking their fourth loss of the season. With the regular season in the second half, Randolph knew they needed to win every game possible, even with the bumpy road ahead. They comfortably won 20-3 against Union, but it didn’t look pretty after that. They took two major losses to Mount Olive and Delbarton, 8-1 and 2-0, being knocked out of the county tournament.

Week 7: May 12 – May 20

Randolph now faced Roxbury in back-to-back games but could not pull it off. The Rams lost 4-2 and 7-6 on a walk off in a three-run seventh inning. With two games left, the Rams knew they couldn’t go into the state playoffs with six straight losses. The Rams added one extra game to the season, facing DePaul. The Rams got the win, 8-1, thanks to a 5 RBI game by Connor Stokoe, including a rocket grand slam. To wrap up the regular season, the Rams traveled to eastern Morris County to play red-hot Chatham, who made the Morris County Tournament finals. Chatham was just too hot for Randolph, coming out on top, 6-4.

“We knew what we were capable of,” said Martin about the Rams’ end-of-season slump. “We just had to stay focused and do what we do best.”

Week 8: North 2 Group 3 NJSIAA Playoffs

The Rams went on a tear, outscoring their opponents, 25-8. Randolph beat Payne Tech in the first round; Mendham in the quarterfinals; North Hunterdon, 4-3, in the semifinals; and uprooted No. 1 seeded South Plainfield, 8-3, to take the North 2, Group 3 sectional title for the first time since 2015.

In the Group 3 state semifinals, the Rams looked to get their revenge on Morris Knolls, previously losing to the Eagles, 7-4. The game started out 2-0 in favor of the Eagles, then a rain delay paused the game. Morris Knolls picked up right where they left off, scoring three more runs and ultimately winning, 5-1.

About the Contributor
Ian Pietrucha
Ian Pietrucha, Staff Reporter
Ian Pietrucha is a sophomore at RHS who is in his second year of the Journalism program at RHS, and he is ecstatic to be a sports reporter for Rampage. Ian also plays basketball for the high school, as well as club basketball.
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