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Brearley southpaw Sal Gorka (20) hurled five shutout innings to pave way for Bears in 4-2 first round North 2, Group 1 state tournament victory vs. Hoboken on Monday. (Photo by Gene Nann-nannphoto)

Gorka's Pitching And Bat Prove Potent
As Brearley Edges Hoboken In N2G1
By JR Parachini

KENILWORTH – Starting pitcher Sal Gorka gave host Brearley a huge lift by throwing five shutout innings in only his third start of the season.

The senior left hander then gave the Bears an even bigger spark by coming through in the clutch with a two-out, hard-hit, two-run single to left in the bottom of the sixth.

Gorka’s third single of the game – the righty batter was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate – provided fourth-seeded Brearley with the margin of victory as his game-winning hit propelled the Bears past 13 th-seeded Hoboken 4-2 in one of Monday’s eight scheduled first round North 2, Group 1 baseball playoff contests.

Brearley improved to 7-12 and snapped a seven-game losing streak with its first victory in May. The Bears will remain at home to host a quarterfinal encounter Thursday vs. fifth-seeded North Arlington.

Hoboken finished its 2016 campaign with an 8-18 record.

Five-and-a-half months ago at Kean University it was Hoboken’s football team that defeated an 11-0 Brearley squad 34-12 in the 2015 N2, G1 championship game.

Brearley’s baseball team, and Gorka in particular, is feeling a lot better about itself after a home state tournament win that earned the Bears another home state tournament contest.

“We have a young team, but if we play with high intensity we feel we can beat anyone in our section,” Gorka said.

This was Brearley’s first win since a 10-8 conference-crossover triumph at Rahway on April 27. Brearley finished fourth in the Union County Conference’s Valley Division at 3-5, while Rahway repeated as Sky Division champions, this time with a perfect record of 8-0 after going 7-0 last year.

Gorka’s first start, he was coming back from an injury, wasn’t until he faced Roselle Park on the road on May 12. His next start was a home game against Dayton last Monday.

In his five complete innings, Gorka allowed no runs on four hits – all singles and two of them infield singles – while striking out eight (six swinging and two looking) and walking none. He threw 66 pitches and retired the side in order in the first and second innings.

When head coach Joe Capizzano brought in senior Eric Loneker from third base to pitch the final two innings, Brearley led 2-0 after scoring single runs in the bottom of the third and fourth.

“I felt loose,” Gorka said. “They weren’t really catching up with my fastball. Later on I mixed in my curve.”

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