Burlington Township falls in baseball final

Posted: June 10, 2013

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - They were eight outs away from one of the biggest upsets of the baseball season.

"That shows how far this program has come," Burlington Township coach Jason Stec said.

Cranford rallied for three runs in the fifth inning Sunday and earned its second consecutive Group 3 state title with a 4-2 victory over Burlington Township at Toms River East.

Senior lefthander Ryan Williamson, a North Carolina State recruit and 28th-round pick in the major-league baseball draft, pitched a five-hitter with eight strikeouts for Cranford (25-1), ranked No. 2 in the state by the Newark Star-Ledger.

"He was tough," Burlington Township senior Ryan Bell said. "We battled him, but he battled us, too."

Burlington Township (16-8) took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Dennis Stewart and an RBI groundout by Zach Schuyler.

But Cranford took the lead in the bottom of the fifth, taking advantage of two bunts - one that was misplayed, another that hugged the line for a single - and a two-run single by No. 9 hitter Matt Ravitier.

"That's the play of the game," Stec said of Ravitier's hit. "Those two runs were the difference."

A young team with just two seniors in the lineup, Burlington Township was seeking the first state title in program history.

"We won some big games to get here," Bell said. "I have no doubt these guys will be back."

Burlington Twp. 000 200 0 - 2 5 2

Cranford 100 030 x - 4 6 0

WP: Ryan Williamson. LP: Ryan Bell.

2B: C-Ryan Williamson, Sean Feeney.

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