Tuesday, May 3, has been circled on the calendar of the Verona High School baseball team since practice began on a cold, early March afternoon in the high school gym.
This is the date that the Hillbillies take on Cedar Grove High School under the lights at Yogi Berra Stadium on the campus of Montclair State University – and the game has become a spring tradition for both high school baseball programs.
The game Tuesday gets under way at 7:30 p.m., with Verona as the “home” team. The Hillbillies (3-4 going into the weekend’s games) are looking to bounce back from a 6-4 loss to the Panthers earlier this week.
The loss in Cedar Grove ended a three-game winning streak for Verona, which has been slowed this spring by rainy weather and injuries. In the victories, seniors Mike Congero (center field), Matt Rosenfeld (pitcher and outfield), Jason Lawrence (first base) and sophomore Luke Sniatkowski (pitcher and outfield) have sparked the offense. Infielders Brian Hill (senior, third base) and Tim Kiernan (junior, shortstop) also have contributed key hits during the winning streak.
The Hillbillies’ schedule now picks up, beginning with two games scheduled for Saturday, April 30 (at home vs. Newark Academy, 10 a.m., and away at Montclair Kimberley Academy at 3:30 p.m.), followed by a string of six games in six days beginning Monday, May 2, and concluding with a first-round Greater Newark Tournament game at Montclair High School on Saturday, May 7.
They will all be important games for the 2011 Hillbillies, but the game at Yogi Berra Stadium carries a special significance every year.
As in past years, all Verona Baseball & Softball League players in uniform receive complimentary admission to the game, and one of the VBSL’s 2010 summer Barnstormer teams will be introduced along with the Verona varsity players prior to the game. The game serves as an important fund-raising event for the baseball programs at both high schools. For adults, admission to the game is $3 and admission for children is $2. Food, snacks and other special events will be part of the evening’s activities.