“Poor scheduling, I guess,” East Brunswick baseball coach Chris Kenney said with a chuckle after he was asked what his team would do on an off day that they didn’t really have.
Somehow, someway, the Bears will play Hightstown Friday on Senior Day, just another big moment wedged in between the GMC Tournament First Round and Quarterfinals and the Commander’s Cup game against Spotswood – all wins – and Saturday’s county tourney semifinals at East Brunswick Tech.
All in a week’s work.
No doubt Kenney will get some players in the game who may not typically get playing time, especially his pitchers.
That’s going to be an effort by committee Saturday afternoon when the 7th-seeded Bears (13-10) take on 6th-seed North Brunswick (16-8) in Saturday’s GMC Tournament Semifinals, which you can hear live on Central Jersey Sports Radio – driven by Dayton Toyota Service, Route 130 in South Brunswick – starting with pregame at 11:45 am and first pitch at noon.
It’s the first game of a doubleheader, as Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the action; click here to listen.
Kenney’s plan is to start junior Michael Marchese, who’ll be limited to 71 pitches after throwing 79 against Spotswood in Tuesday’s opening round win. Lefty Joseph Ditzel would be next in, followed by Aaron Warner, who closed out Thursday’s win over Spotswood and got the save.
East Brunswick hasn’t been to the finals since 2016, but has won its last two trips there. In their most recent appearance, they beat JP Stevens 1-0, and in 2005 they beat St. Joseph 8-1.
Though East Brunswick has never put together a string of GMCT finals berths, they are a consistent participant. The Bears own the distinction of being the only school in the league to make it to the finals in every decade. (The GMC began play in 1986.)
They’ve made five other appearances in the GMC title tilt, winning their first three in 1986, 1981 and 1997, but losing in 1998 and 2003.
But this one will be a challenge, at the end of a sort of Hell Week for the Bears. With Monday’s postponement due to a stormy forecast that moved the GMCT’s First Round to Tuesday, they will play their fifth game in as many days.
They beat 10-seed Spotswood in their opening tourney game 11-1, then doubled up second-seed Monroe 4-2 in the quarterfinals Wednesday night. Thursday afternoon they faced Spotswood again in their annual Commander’s Cup trophy game, winning 4-2 to claim the hardware for the first time since a 2016 win against the Chargers. Friday is Senior Night against Hightstown, then North Brunswick Saturday in the semis, a team they lost to 5-4 in a late-April GMC crossover.
Tired yet? East Brunswick should be running on adrenaline at this point. At least if they beat the Raiders, they’ll have a week to gear up and rest some bodies before the GMC Tournament Final the following Saturday.
Click below to hear East Brunswick head coach Chris Kenney talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko: