The last time Bayonne baseball played for a sectional title, its head coach — David Hoffman — was a young assistant on the staff. Hall of Fame coach Phil Baccarella was still the skipper.
Oh, and none of the team’s current players had been born yet.
Bayonne will look to hoist its first sectional championship trophy since 2002, when the fifth-seeded Bees (24-6) visit second-seed Bridgewater-Raritan (23-6) on Friday in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 title game.
Central Jersey Sports Radio will provide a live broadcast of the game, starting with pregame coverage at 2:45 p.m; first pitch is set for 3:00. Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will call the action. Click here to listen.
State-ranked Bayonne enters with a resume even better than its seeding. The Bees won their league for the third time in the last four years and finished as runner-up to Saint Peter’s Prep for a Hudson County title.
Winners of 16 of its last 18 games, Bayonne’s offense has caught fire in the sectional tournament, plating 31 runs on 28 hits. Only the Bees’ secondnd-round game — a 3-2 nail-biter over Phillipsburg — was decided by fewer than nine runs.
Like its opponent, Bayonne is an experienced ballclub, with a lineup composed entirely of seniors. Georgia Tech commit Aidan Paradine leads the veterans, ranking among Hudson County’s leaders in average (.449), home runs (7), and RBI (40).
The team’s top pitcher, though, is a junior. UMass Lowell commit Nolan Geisler has posted a 0.99 ERA as the staff ace. The right-hander is well-rested for the title game, making his only appearance of the tournament to earn the save against Phillipsburg. Geisler headlines a deep pitching staff that has rolled out six arms in the tournament so far.
Dom Savino caught up with Bayonne head coach David Hoffmann to discuss the Bees’ offensive surge and the significance of his alma mater’s return to a sectional title game: