Korobellis delivers for Warriors

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ANTHONY KOROBELLIS WILDWOOD – The Wildwood High School baseball team scored four runs in the first inning of its state playoff game against Woodbury Monday afternoon but was kept off the scoreboard for the next 5 2/3 innings.

Then Anthony Korobellis came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

“I always wanted to be up in that situation because I’ve never had a walk-off hit before,” the junior outfielder/designated hitter said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Korobellis can now check it off his baseball bucket list.

Korobellis’s dramatic RBI single to shallow left field broke a 4-4 tie and lifted Wildwood to a 5-4 victory over Woodbury in a first-round South Jersey Group I game. The victory was the program’s first in the state playoffs in four seasons and moves the seventh-seeded Warriors (17-12-1) into a second-round game at No. 2 Gloucester Thursday afternoon.

Korobellis hit a 2-2 pitch in the hole between the Woodbury third baseman and shortstop. Once the diving Thundering Herd third baseman couldn’t come up with the ball, Korobellis and his Warrior teammates knew victory was theirs.

“I looked down right after I hit it and I thought they had a chance to make a good play on it,” Korobellis said. “I just put my head down and kept running.”

Freshman Brendan Bean, who had stroked his third hit of the game earlier in the inning, scored the winning run. Korobellis’s winning hit came after Devon Bradshaw was robbed of being the hero one batter earlier when the Woodbury first baseman made a diving stop of his grounder in the hole and forced Jose Valentin at the plate.

Enjoying the comforts of home, Wildwood jumped to a 4-0 lead after one inning, highlighted by Valentin’s triple and Bean’s RBI single to start the game. But Woodbury (9-11) scored three times in the third and once in the fifth while holding Warrior bats mostly silent from the second through sixth innings.

But Wildwood’s post-first-inning offensive woes were forgotten when Korobellis came through with two outs in the seventh.

“It was a great win,” Korobellis said. “A lot of people came out and supported us. We had more fans than we’ve ever had, I think. It was such as great feeling getting the win.”

Chris Mormile got the win in relief, striking out two without allowing a hit in the seventh inning. Bean started, allowing four runs on seven hits over six innings.

Wildwood managed five hits, only three of which came after the first inning. But the Warriors were helped, especially in the first and seventh innings, by six walks.

Wildwood lost twice to Gloucester earlier this season, but Wildwood coach Rich Hans feels his team has a chance to compete in Thursday’s second-round game.

“We’re in a position where we feel we can play with any team in our group,” Has said. “We’ve played a lot of tough games this year. We’ve won some tough ones and we’ve lost some tough ones. But the good thing is, even though we’re a young team, our freshmen aren’t freshmen anymore and our sophomores aren’t sophomores anymore. If we played 18 games maybe some of the young guys would be just getting their feet wet still. But we have 30 games under our belt and our young kids are like a grade up now. They’ve played a whole season plus so far. I think that helps.”

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