As the Hillsborough High School baseball team searches to find the "right mix," the Raiders are also preparing for a Somerset County Tournament semifinal clash with Immaculata on Saturday night at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater.
The Raiders' slide continued on Thursday in a 4-3 loss to Bridgewater on the road.
"We are not playing very well right now," coach Norm Hewitt said. "We have 12 seniors and a great pitching staff. We were ranked No. 1 coming into the season so we got the 'kiss of death.' We have not been playing well under pressure. In the last 35 innings, we scored four runs."
Hillsborough scored the first two runs against Bridgewater as Matt Hornich connected on a home run in the second inning for the early advantage. In the fourth inning, Pat Roberts doubled, stole third and eventually scored for a 2-0 lead.
But Bridgewater rallied with three runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth before Hillsborough's Tyler Ferretti recorded his second single of the day and lscored for the Raiders in the seventh.
"This is the seventh one run game that we've lost, and five of them in the last inning," Hewitt said. "We hit the ball right at them."
RJ Fanelli pitched a complete game for the Raiders, giving up six hits and two walks with two strike outs.
"RJ pitched a great game," Hewitt said. "Two hits didn't leave the infield, one was a blooper. He only gave up two quality hits and we didn't help him out. He is not a starter. He stepped up because we had five games this week."
Now the Raiders, who are still hoping for a state tournament berth, turn their attention to Immaculata in the county semifinals Saturday night at 7 p.m.
"We have great kids and they are trying as hard as they can, and they work hard in practice," Hewitt said. "We are not helping ourselves. We are leaving too many men in scoring position and not producing when we have to. We keep trying to give everybody an opportunity, but we just can't get the right mix. Next week, I think we are going to make some pretty big changes."