Greg Trotter guided Roxbury to the Morris County Tournament championship and the NJSIAA North 2 Group IV title in the first two years of his coaching career.
“I started to think that this is going to happen a lot,” Trotter said. “But then, we went through a bit of a dry spell there when it didn’t happen.”
Trotter was the head coach of the Gaels for a good decade before they got another chance for a championship victory in 2011, when Roxbury captured the school’s fourth MCT title.
“I realized how hard it was to win championships,” Trotter said.
On Saturday night his Gaels presented Trotter with his third MCT title in the past five years and Roxbury’s second straight with a 5-1 win over Delbarton at Horseshoe Lake Park.
The Gaels rode the pitching of senior left-hander Alex Busby, who earned his third MCT victory and the Most Valuable Player award in the process. Busby is the second-straight Roxbury lefty to earn the MCT MVP honor after Timmy Pilrun in 2014.
The MCT MVP in each of the last three Roxbury championships has been a pitcher: Kevin Ladner in 2011, Pilrun last year and Alex Busby this year.
While last year’s team was the No. 9 seed that stormed to the title, this year’s version was the top seed and held form throughout the three-week tourney.
However, the 2014 Roxbury team was perhaps a little better geared for a championship run, considering that the Gaels were senior-dominated, including standout hurlers Pilrun and Nick Busby, Alex’s older brother.
“Alex never really pitched in big games before,” Trotter said. “I’m just happy with the way he responded in these big games.”
Busby allowed just one run in his three MCT starts. He scattered eight hits and struck out six while walking just one in the finale against the second-seeded Green Wave.
“He earned it,” Trotter said of the younger Busby. “He put his time in and paid his dues. A lot of other juniors might have been able to pitch last year, but he was stuck behind Timmy and his brother, so he had to wait his turn. To his credit, Alex got bigger and stronger over the last year and became an outstanding pitcher for us.”
Getting catcher Nick Matera to come back to his home district from Morris Catholic this year was a huge boost. The talented backstop, who has already given Rutgers a verbal commitment, could be selected in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft. Matera contributed with an RBI double in the first inning Saturday night.
Slated to be the starting catcher before Matera transferred back from Morris Catholic, senior Scott Marshall made the move to first base without missing a beat and has also developed into the Gaels’ No. 2 pitcher. Marshall had a clutch RBI double in the win Saturday night and had three hits in the Gaels’ win over Morristown on Monday.
“These kids have all played with Nick and knew him well,” Trotter said. “It’s worked out really well. He’s dangerous offensively, but he’s also very good receiving the ball and throwing it. The way he’s conducted himself with the others is outstanding. Sure, he’s the best player on the field, but I couldn’t ask for it to go any better. I think over the past month, he’s really settled in back here.”
Player of the Week
Alex Busby, Roxbury, senior pitcher
Should there be any doubt? Busby won three games in the Morris County Tournament, including a nifty eight-hitter, striking out six and walking just one in the Gaels’ 5-1 win over Delbarton Saturday night, earning the tourney’s Most Valuable Player award.
Morris County Top 10
1. Roxbury (16-4-1)
2. Delbarton (14-6-1)
3. Montville (15-5)
4. Pequannock (14-5)
5. Mount Olive (12-9)
6. Morris Catholic (14-6)
7. Hanover Park (13-6-1)
8. Jefferson (14-9)
9. Mendham (9-10)
10. Whippany Park (9-5)