Goel’s steady effort sends Hustle past Hillsborough in Fall League

By DN WRITING STAFF | October 11, 2023

Hustle Baseball pitcher Shea Goel delivers to Hillsborough’s Liam Gallagher in Fall League action.

By Mike Olshin

Shea Goel knows the clock is starting to tick. A senior at Montclair High, the lanky right-handed pitcher knows that for him, the Fall League at Diamond Nation is more than just getting his work in.

“I didn’t really have the spring or summer that I wanted,” Goel said after pitching into the fifth inning of Hustle Baseball Academy’s 6-3 win over Hillsborough in a Tuesday night tussle between two of the top teams in the league.

“So I’ve made it a goal to really get better this Fall and this Winter. I love this team here and I love the team at Montclair. I just really enjoy going out and competing with my friends.”

The win was the first of two Tuesday for Hustle, which posted a 12-5 win in the nightcap over the Morris County Cubs 16U Navy squad and moved into second place overall with an 8-2 record. Hillsborough fell to 6-3.

Goel may not have been as crisp as the early October evening weather at ‘The Nation,’ but he had more than enough to put away a pesky Hillsborough squad. He paired a low 80s fastball with a solid breaking ball and improved changeup and really just allowed one hard hit ball, a one-out Peter Cipparulo double in the fourth. In all, Goel went 4⅔ innings, allowing two hits and striking out seven.

“Shea is an outstanding kid,” said Hustle head coach Matt Rago, who doubles as the pitching coach at Governor Livingston for Chris Roof in the spring. “He controls the run game, he’s worked hard on developing the changeup to give him a third pitch, he does a great job with tempo. He keeps the ball down and he’s a pleasure to coach.”

Logan Force launches a first inning sac fly for Hustle. He later slugged an inside-the-park HR.

Goel is a strong student and presents as an appealing target to high-academic colleges, as he made it a point to attend both Showball and Headfirst Honor Roll summer camps. With 17 innings of varsity experience in 2023, Shea figures to be part of a crew that attempts to replace three-year ace Anthony Anzaldi, now at NJIT.

“I don’t know if any one person can replace Anthony,” Goel said. “He was a great teammate, a great leader. Trying to fill his shoes will be a combined effort.”

Hustle got all the offense it needed in the first inning, coming out of the chute hot to score five runs. Aiden Napolitano walked, Seton Hall Prep’s Andrew Hladik rifled a single to left, and Alex Vega followed suit to load the bases. Hunter Force drove in one with a single, SHP’s Peter Peluso added two more with a base hit, and Logan Force made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly to deep center. Later in the frame, Orlando Shin’s RBI single gave Hustle a 5-0 lead.

The game calmed down considerably after that, as Hillsborough’s second pitcher, lefty Jack McLaughlin kept the powerful Hustle lineup off balance over three strong innings – the exception being Logan Force, who smoked a ball to the fence in deep center and circled the bases for an inside-the-park homer and a 6-0 lead.

Max Romanuk – a trusted arm for Hillsborough varsity coach Matt Mosko in the spring – pitched a quick 1-2-3 frame in the fifth.

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