The 2006 Roughriders won 14 of their first 17 games, allowing the team to maintain first place in the standings for most of the summer. A late season swoon, however, in which they lost three of the final five games, dropped them to second place overall and threatened an early exit from the playoffs. But the team would rebound to play some of its best baseball of the season, sweeping their first two series versus West Deptford and Hardenberg and securing a berth in the finals, the team's first appearance there since 1993. The championship series would match the Roughriders versus the team that overtook them for first place in the last week of the regular season, Conlin Baseball...

Roughriders One Victory From Title
(reprinted from the Courier-Post, August 9, 2006)

By Kevin Callahan

BELLMAWR - The Roughriders are one win away from doubling their number of championships.

The Roughriders, which won its only league title in 1993, took the first game of the Tri-County League best-of-three championship series 7-5 over defending champion Conlin Baseball Tuesday night at the Bellmawr Recreation Center. The second game will be played at 7 tonight.

"This is huge, we have the advantage now going into (Game 2)," said Brian Spicer, who has played for the Roughriders the last five years. "We've come close (to a championship) a couple of other times."

Spicer, a right-hander, threw into the seventh inning and got two outs before being replaced when Conlin Baseball scored two runs. But then, lefty Ryan Smith came in and got the final out to keep Roughriders in position to close out the series tonight and stay unbeaten in postseason. "We've won all our playoff games so far," Spicer said. "We hope to sweep."

The Roughriders (21-6-1) jumped on Conlin with four runs in the first inning. Dan Severino led off the game with a walk. Mike Carlino singled and Dave Vadurro walked to load the bases. Then, Jim Nastasi drew a walk to knock in the first run. The big hit was delivered by Steve Wyland when the left-handed hitter singled to left. The ball was misplayed and all three runners scored for a quick 4-0 lead.

The Roughriders added three runs in the third inning.

"This is my first year, it is exciting," said Brian Reagle, a former Sterling standout who played his freshman year last season at Richard Stockton. "It is big when you can come out and get the first game."

Conlin Baseball promises not to go down easy. The defending champs proved that in the seventh inning when they rallied for two runs and had the bases loaded with two outs. That's when Spicer was replaced by Smith, who got the final out.

Now, the Roughriders need just one more win.

>Game 1 Box

Roughriders Win TriCounty Title
(reprinted from the Courier-Post, August 10, 2006)

By Chuck Gormley

BELLMAWR - With seven titles in the past 10 years, defending Tri-County League champion Conlin Baseball wasn't about to go down quietly in Wednesday night's title game. Neither was Roughriders pitcher Mike Cummings.

With the game on the line and the go-ahead run at the plate, Cummings, a 21-year-old right-hander from Sicklerville, was confronted on the mound by Roughriders manager Bill Kohut in the seventh and final inning.

"He told me to settle down and asked me if I was all right," Cummings said. "I was struggling, but I told him I was fine and I was going to win this thing."

Sure enough, Cummings got out of the jam by forcing Nick Sbarra into a game-ending double play to give Roughriders a 3-1 win and their first Tri-County championship since 1993.

"We knew when they picked him up they'd be the team to beat," said Pete Conlin, a designated hitter for Conlin Baseball who at 37 was the oldest player on the field. "We were right."

Cummings allowed one run on six hits for the complete-game victory as Roughriders finished their season with a 22-6-1 record and a perfect playoff run. Cummings also won the tournament semifinal with a 2-1 gem.

Cummings played high school baseball at Timber Creek, where he was a member of the school's first graduating class in 2003. He pitched two seasons for Gloucester County College, winning a national title as a sophomore last season. This fall, he's headed to Rowan University, where he hopes to add another title.

The game began with the searing sound of a circular saw on a back porch beyond the right field fence and for the next two hours Cummings buzzed through the Conlin lineup.

The Roughriders opened the scoring with a run in the first inning when Dave Vadurro singled home Ian Wallace. Conlin starting pitcher James Malko thought he was out of the inning with an 0-2 breaking ball that appeared to catch the outside corner. Two pitches later Vadurro muscled a 1-2 pitch into left field for an RBI.

Thanks to some strong pitching and excellent defense, the score stayed that way through four innings, with Conlin center fielder Joe Madilli gunning down Mike Carlino at the plate after a single by Jim Nastasi.

The Roughriders grabbed insurance runs in the fifth inning, when Brian Regale, who struck out in each of his first two at-bats, lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Carlino, and in the sixth on a Dan Severino triple and an Ian Wallace sacrifice fly.

>Game 2 Box

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