It was a historic day for Wayne Valley High School sports programs Saturday. First, the baseball team scored a dramatic 5-4 win over host Passaic Tech in the county semifinals.
The Indians rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the bottom of the seventh to secure a trip to the final.
A few hours later, the Wayne Valley boys volleyball team knocked off top-seeded Passaic in straight sets, 25-21, 25-18 to win the county championship.
Wayne Valley won its fourth Passaic County boys volleyball title in five years. (Photo: Doug Scancarella/Special to Wayne Today)
Passaic Tech (No. 3, 13-5) scored all four of its runs in the fourth inning. First, Rafael Bueno homered to get things started. Next, Tech’s Alex Rodriguez drove in two runs. The Bulldogs held that four-run lead until Wayne Valley’s last at-bat.
Chris Coleman led off for Wayne Valley (No. 2, 11-7) in the bottom of the seventh inning by reaching first base on dropped fly ball to center. JP DiAgostini knocked Coleman in with a double.
Sam Greene then singled in DiAgostini. Wayne Valley then loaded the bases thanks to two hit batsmen. Jack Feit then lined the ball into the outfield to knock Greene in for the game winner.
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“We have several comeback wins this year,” Feit said. “This team hasn’t quit all year, so I had a lot of faith that we could pull it out in the seventh. They scored all their runs in one inning. If they could do it then so could we.”
Coleman struck out five Tech batters in four innings on the mound. Colin Thomson earned the win in relief.
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Wayne Valley was set to play Passaic Valley (No. 9) in the championship game Thursday at Passaic Tech. Wayne Valley has five Passaic County championships to its credit: 1981, ’86, ’88, 2010 and ’15.
“We’ve done very well in this park. We’re very comfortable here,” said Jeff Hoover, the Wayne Valley head coach since 2004.
Jake DeLuccia had six kills, nine assists and 10 digs to help lead Wayne Valley (No. 3) to a championship game triumph over top-seeded Passaic. Anthony DePalma added eight kills.
Andrew Paul had a team-high 11 assists and added two digs. DePalma and Luke Bojic had seven digs apiece. Chris Cuccinello added five digs. Jakob McDonald had three kills and two digs, and Chase Hemming had two kills and a block. Steve Simonetti had had a team-high four blocks, and Chris Mroczka added two blocks.
Wayne Valley opened its Passaic County tournament run with a 25-23, 18-25, 25-21 win over West Milford (No. 6). Next, it defeated Wayne Hills (No. 2) in the semifinal, 25-17, 25-22. Passaic defeated Clifton (No. 8) and Eastside (No. 4) to advance to the final. This is Wayne Valley’s fourth Passaic County title in the last five years.
“We had a three-peat (2015-17), then we fell a little short last year,” coach Jason Carcich said. “The guys wanted to get the program back on top. They worked very hard and we beat some very good teams. It was a great team effort.”
Next up for Wayne Valley is the state tournament. The top-seed is Fair Lawn. During Wayne Valley’s impressive run, it defeated Fair Lawn in the state sectional final (2017), but lost to the Cutters in the final two other times. Wayne Valley is 7-2 in its last nine matches.
“As usual, the tournament goes through Fair Lawn,” Carcich said. “They’re a great team again this year. Our goal always to go far in the states. That will ultimately mean playing Fair Lawn.”
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