Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cavos Living Large Thanks to Small Ball

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cavos Living Large Thanks to Small Ball

Article excerpt

EMERSON -- Small school, small ball, big victory.

Emerson rode a wave of perfectly placed bunts, and took advantage of every Hawthorne mistake, to down the Bears, 11-1, in six innings and claim the North 1, Group 1 baseball title Friday.

The Cavos will face Ridgefield in the Group 1 semifinals Tuesday, ensuring at least one Bergen County school will play for a state title in Toms River.

"I can't even explain my emotions right now," said Cavos junior first baseman Jake Leara, who had two infield singles among his three hits. "It's very exciting right now."

There is an excitement around Cavos baseball, but there has been for a long time. What is different this time is the man at the helm. Chris Sommerhalter won his first sectional title as head coach with the Cavos, and got his second Gatorade bath, the first came after the Cavos clinched the league title.

"The first one I saw coming," said Sommerhalter. "This one I didn't see. My assistant coach was talking to me, and I was like, 'What are you talking about?' And all of a sudden I got soaked. I didn't expect it at all."

Sommerhalter faced the unenviable task of replacing North Jersey baseball legend Bob Carcich. They aren't easy spikes to fill. But Sommerhalter had the advantage of working on Carcich's staff for years, giving him an easy relationship with the current Cavos. They call him Coach, or "Sommes" or sometimes even, "Chrissy-Boy."

"Ahh, that's when we joke around with him, it's fun," said Leara.

"Coach took a lot of what Carcich already put into this program," said Cavos senior center fielder Chris Nedilsky. "It wasn't much new, just a new guy standing at third base, doing the same stuff that Emerson baseball has been doing the past 50 years."

Sommerhalter called Carcich his mentor after the game.

"He was my coach, he taught me everything I know about baseball," said Sommerhalter. "He is the best. There is no one better than him."

Undoubtedly one of Carcich's lessons had to do with playing small. …

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