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Shawnee advances to state title game in baseball

EWING, N.J. - One pitch, one hit. That's how it started for Shawnee's Anthony Montefusco. One complete game, one hit.

EWING, N.J. - One pitch, one hit.

That's how it started for Shawnee's Anthony Montefusco.

One complete game, one hit.

That's how it ended for the Renegades righthander.

Montefusco fired a one-hitter with 14 strikeouts yesterday as Shawnee beat West Windsor-Plainsboro North, 5-0, in the Group 3 state semifinals at the College of New Jersey.

Senior catcher John Grady broke a scoreless tie with a two-out, two-run triple in the fifth inning for Shawnee (18-6).

The Renegades advance to face the Old Tappan-JFK Iselin winner in the state championship game Saturday at Toms River.

"That was fun to watch," Shawnee coach Brian Anderson said of Montefusco's pitching performance. "That's what he's been doing for us all season. He keeps getting stronger and stronger."

Scott Kelly led off the bottom of the first inning for West Windsor-Plainsboro North (24-4) by lining Montefusco's first pitch up the middle for a single. Montefusco walked the second batter.

"I give them credit," Montefusco said. "The first kid hit a first-pitch fastball, and the next kid battled up there, fouling off a lot of pitches. I just had to get in a zone."

Montefusco struck out the next three batters, setting the tone for the game. Relying on a lively fastball and a biting cutter, the George Mason-bound athlete allowed just three baserunners the rest of the game.

Montefusco raised his record to 8-2 with 119 strikeouts and just 28 walks in 681/3 innings. He will be eligible to pitch in Saturday's state finals.

"One more game left, and hopefully we're going to win it," Montefusco said.

Shawnee broke a 0-0 tie with two runs off Seton Hall-bound lefthander Dave Bachner in the fifth. Grady drove in both runs with a blast off the fence above the 360-foot sign in left-center field.

The Renegades played small ball to add three more runs in the sixth. Mike Cogliano and John Montemurro drove in runs with squeeze bunts, and Montefusco drove in one of his own with his 100th career hit.

"I've been struck in the 90s for a while," Montefusco said. "I'm glad we've been playing a lot of games so I had a chance to do it. It came in a big spot so it means even more to me."

Shawnee 000 023 0 - 5 8 0

WW-Plainsboro North 000 000 0 - 0 1 4

WP: Anthony Montefusco. LP: Dave Bachner.

3B: S-John Grady.