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 two-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 12/3 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.
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.