PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Audubon pitcher Kevin Kramer took his baseball team on a wild ride Wednesday at Rutgers and when it was over the Green Wave was on its way to the state Group 2 final.
Kramer occasionally didn't have good control and neither did his defense, which committed five errors. However, Audubon took advantage of error-prone Spotswood for an 11-run inning to coast to a 13-3 victory in a state Group 2 semifinal game.
Audubon (21-5) is scheduled to play West Essex in the state Group 2 championship game at 12:30 p.m., Saturday at Toms River South.
With the victory came a couple of firsts for the sophomore hurler and senior shortstop John Flacco in a game shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.
Kramer pitched his first complete game of the season, a 2-hitter with six strikeouts and five walks. And Flacco went 2 for 3, getting his 100th hit on a single that drove in sophomore catcher Derek Wickersham to start an avalanche of runs that led to 13-1 lead in the second inning.
"The first inning I was entirely too nervous to pitch," said Kramer, who walked the first batter on four straight balls. "My back leg was not stable on the mound. We have a flatter mound at Audubon. But we got out of the inning safe.
"I'm very excited about going to the final, but nervous."
Senior designated hitter Tom Dyer drilled a two-run double to left field off Spotswood sophomore starter Anthony Berg to give the Wave a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
The Chargers (14-13) got a run back on a fielders' choice in the bottom of the inning and they trailed, 2-1.
But in the second inning, the Chargers committed six of their seven errors and Flacco & Co. took advantage by scoring 11 runs on seven hits.
Kramer settled down after the big eruption, in which 15 batters stepped to the plate. Berg was lifted after 1 2/3 innings during which he gave up all of Audubon's runs. Freshman Kevin Martin finished the inning and he was replaced by sophomore Chris Stoudt, who completed the game.
Spotswood senior Cody Pace, who pitched the Chargers to a 7-5 victory over Governor Livingston on May 28 for the sectional crown, played shortstop.
Pace, a starter on Spotswood's 2007 state title team, went 0 for 3.
Brian Flacco went 2 for 5 and like his older brother, John, maintained a .500-plus batting average on a day when the team smacked 10 hits.
"The ump said congratulations, you just got your 100th hit," John Flacco said.
"This is great. This is what we worked for since we were in Audubon Little League and now, senior year, to be able to go to the finals is everything coming together."
Audubon 2 11 0 0 0 - 13 10 5
Spotswood 1 0 0 2 0 - 3 2 7
WP: Kevin Kramer. LP: Anthony Berg.
2B: A-Tom Dyer.