Category: Baseball

Top-seed Ridge DQ’d from state tournament by NJSIAA after pitch count violation

As first reported by NJ Advance Media’s Luis Torres, the Ridge baseball team – the top seed in the North 2, Group 4 playoffs – has been disqualified from the rest of the state tournament after a pitch count violation.

The report says the violation came in the Red Devils’ 8-1 quarterfinal win over eighth-seed Westfield on Thursday, when ace Connor Byrne threw 82 pitches, following a 69-pitch outing Monday against Piscataway. That would have given him 151 pitches thrown in a period of four calendar days, one over the NJSIAA pitch limit for a five-day calendar period.

According to the NJSIAA pitch count rules, the five-day rule is a hard limit of 150 pitches. The rule says: “Once the 150-pitch limit in five calendar days is reached, the pitcher may not continue with the current batter.”

That’s different from the single-day rule, which says once the 110-pitch limit is reached, a pitcher may continue until the batter reaches base, is retired, or the third out is recorded to complete that half-inning or game.

The rule did not always include the caveat that a pitcher who reaches 150 in a five-day period must be removed immediately.

The report by NJ Advance Media said the game was protested by Westfield, to determine whether or not Byrne exceeded the limit.

The NJSIAA provided the following statement in an email to Central Jersey Sports Radio Saturday afternoon: “During Thursday’s quarterfinal game of the NJSIAA Section 2, Group 4 baseball tournament, Ridge High School violated pitch count rules. As a result, its pitcher was declared ineligible and, per rule, Ridge was required to forfeit. Westfield High School will now advance to face Bayonne High School on Tuesday (5/30).”

The NJSIAA rules state: “Failure to remove a pitcher when he has reached the maximum number of pitches thrown is the basis for protest by the opposing coach. If the protest is upheld, the penalty shall be forfeiture of the game.”

Ridge head coach Tom Blackwell, when reached via text message, said he was speaking to his team on a Zoom call. This story will be updated with additional comments, if available.

The result means Ridge – one of the favorites to win not only the section, but maybe even a statewide Group 4 title – is out, and Westfield is back in. The Blue Devils will now play at fifth-seed Bayonne Tuesday in one semifinal game, while third-seed Woodbridge and two-seed Bridgewater-Raritan square off in the other semifinal, for a trip to the North 2, Group 4 championship game.

It also means whichever CJSR-area team wins the Woodbridge-Bridgewater game would now be guaranteed to host the finals, since the teams in the other semi would both be lower seeds.

Three of five area non-publics advance in state playoffs, as Rutgers Prep, Gill St. Bernard’s and St. Joe’s all win

Just three non-public schools from the Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area remain in the state playoffs, with Rutgers Prep, Gill St. Bernard’s and St. Joseph-Metuchen advancing, while Pingry and St. Thomas Aquinas were eliminated.


Below are Friday’s results, followed by next week’s schedule in all sections with CJSR-area teams remaining:


Non-Public North B
(1) St. Mary-Rutherford def. (8) Hawthorne Christian, 13-1 (5 inn.)
(5) Roselle Catholic at (4) Montclair-Kimberley
(3) Rutgers Prep def. (6) Morris Catholic, 6-3
(7) Gill St. Bernard’s def. (2) St. Thomas Aquinas, 8-3

Non-Public South A
(1) Red Bank Catholic def. (8) Pingry, 4-2
(4) St. Augustine def. (5) Christian Brothers Academy, 5-4 (8 inn.)
(6) Notre Dame at (3) Donovan Catholic, 9-6 (Thursday)
(2) St. Joseph-Metuchen def. (7) Paul VI, 8-4


Central Group 4
(5) East Brunswick at (1) Old Bridge, 6 pm (live on CJSR)
(6) Monroe at (2) North Brunswick, 4 pm

North 2, Group 4
(5) Bayonne at (1) Ridge, 4 pm
(3) Woodbridge at (2) Bridgewater-Raritan, 4 pm

North 2, Group 3
(4) South Plainfield at (1) Millburn, 3 pm
(3) Randolph at (2) Cranford

Central Group 2
(12) Ocean Township at (1) Rumson-Fair Haven, 4 pm
(10) Delran at (3) Spotswood, 2 pm

Central Group 1
(5) Manville at (1) Point Pleasant Beach, 4 pm
(3) Middlesex at (2) Shore, 4 pm


Non-Public North B
(5) Roselle Catholic OR (4) Montclair-Kimberley at (1) St. Mary-Rutherford
(7) Gill St. Bernard’s at (3) Rutgers Prep (day and time TBD)

Non-Public South A
(4) St. Augustine at (1) Red Bank Catholic
(6) Notre Dame at (2) St. Joseph-Metuchen

FRIDAY, MAY 2: Public Sectional Finals

SATURDAY, MAY 3: Non-Public Sectional Finals

Fronio’s 11 Ks help advance Rutgers Prep into North B semis with 6-1 win over Morris Catholic

Just like Rutgers Prep’s season on the whole, obstacles had to be overcome in order to come out on top.

Sophomore Zach Fronio struck out eleven while Ethan Nepomuceno and Li Perez each drove in two runs to get the third-seeded Argonauts past 6th-seed Morris Catholic Friday in a Non-Public North B quarterfinal game in Somerset.

Fronio picked up his second win of the year (2-2) when it mattered most, in the state tournament, after a 15-day layoff since his last start, a 2-0 loss to Pennington in the Prep B Tournament Final.

But that wasn’t all. The injury bug has been nipping at two starters – Andrew Parisi and Cody Rullo, and neither played today. That put Maddox Chu behind the plate, and he and Fronio worked together masterfully.

Prep scored first in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by Nick Pizzie.

Then, after Morris Catholic tied it in the top of the fourth on a sac fly to center by Nate Eckerson, the Argonauts responded with three in their half of the inning, when they sent eight hitters to the plate.

Pizzie led off with a single, and after James jackman struck out, Nepomucino hit an RBI double. Evan Laub singled, then Fronio drove in a run with a ground-out to short, and Chu singled in another run.

Nick Pizzie of Rutgers Prep drives in the first run of the game with a single in the second inning of a 6-3 win over Morris Catholic in the Non-Public North B Quarterfinals in Somerset on May 26, 2023. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Morris Catholic got a run back in the sixth on an RBI single by Alex Kibler, who came in to relieve starter Sean Hegarty on the mound in the top of the inning, with Hegarty batting for himself in the lineup.

But Prep added two more insurance runs in the sixth to make it 6-2. With the bases loaded, Perez hit a ball deep in the hole that was fielded by the shortstop, but the throw to first was not in time and aggressive baserunning by the Argos plated a second run.

Max Treonze – who started at first, but flipped positions with Fronio to close out the game – saw his first action on the mound since getting drilled in the nose with a fastball a couple of weeks ago. He got a first pitch groundout back to him, then hit Nick Scerbak, who got to second on a wild pitch. Then after a walk to Declan Norton and a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Ryan Osterhoudt drove him in with an RBI single.

But that was all they would get as Treonze struck out Kibler to end the game.

The victory puts Rutgers Prep – which won the Somerset County Tournament as the 12-seed after starting the season 1-6 – at 13-4 heading into next week’s Non-Public North B semifinals, where they’ll face the seventh-seed Gill St. Bernard’s. The Knights upset second-seed St. Thomas Aquinas 8-3 Friday afternoon.

According to the NJSIAA state tournament schedule, that game is to be completed by Wednesday, but it could be played a day early, on Tuesday, because Rutgers Prep has its prom Wednesday evening.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

Rutgers Prep pitcher Zach Fronio
Rutgers Prep head coach Larry Santowasso

Batts walk-off grand slam wins it for North Brunswick, all-GMC Red semifinals on tap in CJ4, nine area teams advance

As if anyone needed any more evidence the Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division may be one of the toughest in the entire state, one of its teams is guaranteed to be the state sectional champion in Central Jersey Group 4.

That’s because sixth-seed Monroe upset third-seed Jackson Memorial on the road, 9-8 Thursday, and second-seed North Brunswick got a walk-of grand slam from Justin Batts to beat 10-seed South Brunswick, 5-1, while fifth-seed East Brunswick and top-seed Old Bridge also won.

That makes it all four teams in the semifinals of CJ4 from the GMC Red Division, with Monroe playing at North Brunswick Tuesday in one game, while Old Bridge hosts East Brunswick on the other, with the winners meeting for a sectional title next Friday at the higher seed.


North Brunswick 5, South Brunswick 1

Zack Konstantinovsky pitched into the sixth, with a 60-pitch limit based on NJSIAA rules. But after Alejandro Jabar gave up a home run to tie the game, North Brunswick won in its final at bat. Yomar Carreras led off with a walk, and Konstantinovsky did the same. Omar Carreras singled on a line drive to left field that was too hard a hit to drive in a run from second. Then, Justin Batts – a transfer from Bergen Catholic who has played youth ball with many of the Raiders since he was eight years old – smacked a grand slam to right field to win the game.

Click below to hear Justin Batts talk about the exciting walkoff win with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Monroe 9, Jackson Memorial 8

The Falcons rallied to come from behind in a slugfest, the only upset win of the day in CJ4.

Each team scored a run in the first, but Jackson got four in the bottom of the second to take a 5-2 lead. Monroe answered, however, with a six-run third that put them up 7-5. Jackson got three more back with a Falcons run in between to make it 8-8 heading into the sixth where Monroe scored the deciding run, on a 5-3 fielder’s choice.

Click below to hear Monroe head coach Sean Field talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko about the win:

Below are Thursday’s results, followed by the upcoming schedule in all sections with CJSR-area teams remaining:


Central Group 4
(1) Old Bridge def. (9) West Windsor-Plainsboro North, 10-0 (5)
(5) East Brunswick def. (13) Manalapan, 7-1
(6) Monroe def. (3) Jackson Memorial, 9-8
(2) North Brunswick def. (10) South Brunswick, 5-1

North 2, Group 4
(1) Ridge def. (8) Westfield, 8-1
(5) Bayonne def. (13) Phillipsburg, 3-2
(3) Woodbridge def. (11) Watchung Hills, 3-2
(2) Bridgewater-Raritan def. (7) Hunterdon Central, 19-8 (5)

North 2, Group 3
(1) Millburn def. (9) Chatham, 9-8
(4) South Plainfield def. (12) Warren Hills, 10-0 (5)
(6) North Hunterdon def. (3) Randolph, 6-1
(2) Cranford def. (10) Ferris, 8-0

Central Group 2
(1) Rumson-Fair Haven def. (8) Bordentown, 7-2
(12) Ocean Township def. (4) Carteret, 9-2
(3) Spotswood def. (11) Wall, 4-3
(10) Delran def. (15) Manasquan, 2-1

Central Group 1
(1) Point Pleasant Beach def. (9) Riverside, 10-0
(5) Manville def. (13) New Egypt, 2-1
(2) Shore def. (7) South Amboy, 2-1


Non-Public South A
(8) Hawthorne Christian at (1) St. Mary-Rutherford
(5) Roselle Catholic at (4) Montclair-Kimberley
(6) Morris Catholic at (3) Rutgers Prep, 3 pm
(7) Gill St. Bernard’s at (2) St. Thomas Aquinas, 4 pm

Non-Public North B
(8) Pingry at (1) Red Bank Catholic
(5) Christian Brothers at (4) St. Augustine
(6) Notre Dame at (3) Donovan Catholic
(7) Paul VI at (2) St. Joseph-Metuchen, 4 pm


Central Group 4
(5) East Brunswick at (1) Old Bridge, 6 pm (live on CJSR)
(6) Monroe at (2) North Brunswick

North 2, Group 4
(5) Bayonne at (1) Ridge
(3) Woodbridge at (2) Bridgewater-Raritan

North 2, Group 3
(4) South Plainfield at (1) Millburn
(3) Randolph at (2) Cranford

Central Group 2
(12) Ocean Township at (1) Rumson-Fair Haven
(10) Delran at (3) Spotswood

Central Group 1
(5) Manville at (1) Point Pleasant Beach
(3) Middlesex at (2) Shore

Near-no-no by Ditzel puts East Brunswick in CJ4 semifinals against top-seed Old Bridge

The bid for a no-hitter in a critical state sectional semifinal game was lost unceremoniously.

It came on an infield hit, a ground ball in the hole fielded by East Brunswick first baseman Jack Ryan, who had no one to throw to, and just barely lost the footrace to the bag against Manalapan’s Christian Bernardini.

But no matter. Bears starter Joe Ditzel got out of the resulting bases loaded, one-out jam without a run coming across, and after Aaron Warner closed out the game – giving up a run on the final play where Eric Johnson was cut down trying to stretch a single into a double for the last out – East Brunswick had a 7-1 win in the Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals.

The win puts 5th-seeded Bears (14-11) in the sectional semis this coming Tuesday night at Old Bridge. The top-seeded Knights (18-8) beat West Windsor-Plainsboro North 10-0 in five innings Thursday.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will broadcast that game at 6 pm from Fred Cole Field, with pregame at 5:45 pm.

And East Brunswick is now a win away from a second straight CJ4 final, where they lost last year to Howell, 8-2, the same Rebels team they beat in this year’s opening round back on Monday.

Ditzel allowed just one hit in six innings, striking out ten, in the first game all year he felt healthy after being bit by the injury bug for most of the year.

On offense, it was all East Brunswick until the last play of the game.

They got a run in the first on a sac fly to center by Dustin McGuinness that scored Jack Gerould, who drew a one-out walk as the second batter in the game.

They got two in the third on an RBI single by Derek Christie and and a sac fly by Jason Agrait.

Then, in the fifth, East Brunswick plated three runs to put the game out of reach. After a leadoff single by McGuinness chase Manalapan starter Dylan Shaffer, reliever Daniel Burns picked up a strikeout, but then walked Agrait, setting the table for a two-RBI single by John Oranchak, who later scored on a wild pitch.

And the Bears got one insurance run in the seventh after Gerould led off with an infield hit, moved to second on a wild pitch, then to third on a sac fly to right by Ryan Schultz. McGuinness – who should get Tuesday’s start against Old Bridge – lined one to second that was ruled in E4, driving in the last run.

East Brunswick and Old Bridge split during the regular season, the Bears losing a 5-2 decision, but winning the rematch 5-4. McGuinness didn’t pitch in either game, but is 1-1 against the Knights all-time.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by SportsPlex at Metuchen:

East Brunswick pitcher Joe Ditzel
East Brunswick head coach Chris Kenney

Another day, another walkoff as Pingry, Gill advance in Non-Public opening round; Immaculata, Timothy C. bow out.

The four non-public schools in action in the opening round of the Non-Public state tournament split on Tuesday, with Pingry winning in Non-Public South A, while Gill St. Bernard’s won in Non-Public North B.

The 8th-seeded Big Blue (12-10) beat 9th-seed Union Catholic in walkoff fashion, 3-2, breaking a tie in the bottom of the seventh with a single run for the victory.

Meanwhile, 7th-seed Gill (9-14) erased a 7-0 deficit with nine late, unanswered runs, including five in the fifth and four in the sixth, which was the decisive inning.

Below are Tuesday’s results, and the upcoming schedule Friday’s Non-Public sectional quarterfinals, including matchups for all the Central Jersey Sports Radio-area teams that had byes in Tuesday’s first round.


Non-Public South A
(8) Pingry def. (9) Union Catholic, 3-2
(5) Christian Brothers def. (12) Camden Catholic, 7-0
(6) Notre Dame def. (11) St. John Vianney, 13-0
(7) Paul VI def. (10) Immaculata, 6-2

Non-Public North B
(8) Hawthorne Christian def. (9) Timothy Christian, 10-0
(7) Gill St. Bernard’s def. (10) Morristown-Beard, 9-7


Central Group 1
(6) Palmyra at (3) Middlesex, 4 pm


Central Group 4
(9) West Windsor-Plainsboro North at (1) Old Bridge, 4 pm
(13) Manalapan at (5) East Brunswick, 4:15 pm
(6) Monroe at (3) Jackson Memorial, 4 pm
(10) South Brunswick at (2) North Brunswick, 4 pm

North 2, Group 4
(8) Westfield at (1) Ridge, 4 pm
(13) Phillipsburg at (5) Bayonne
(11) Watchung Hills at (3) Woodbridge, 4:30 pm
(7) Hunterdon Central at (2) Bridgewater-Raritan, 4 pm

North 2, Group 3
(9) Chatham at (1) Millburn
(12) Warren Hills at (4) South Plainfield, 2 pm
(6) North Hunterdon at (3) Randolph
(10) Ferris at (2) Cranford

Central Group 2
(8) Bordentown at (1) Rumson-Fair Haven
(12) Ocean Township at (4) Carteret. 4 pm
(11) Wall at (3) Spotswood, 2 pm
(15) Manasquan at (10) Delran

Central Group 1
(9) Riverside at (1) Point Pleasant Beach
(13) New Egypt at (5) Manville, 4 pm
(7) South Amboy at (2) Shore, 4 pm


Non-Public South A
(8) Hawthorne Christian at (1) St. Mary-Rutherford
(5) Roselle Catholic at (4) Montclair-Kimberley
(6) Morris Catholic at (3) Rutgers Prep, 3 pm
(7) Gill St. Bernard’s at (2) St. Thomas Aquinas, 4 pm

Non-Public North B
(8) Pingry at (1) Red Bank Catholic
(5) Christian Brothers at (4) St. Augustine
(6) Notre Dame at (3) Donovan Catholic
(7) Paul VI at (2) St. Joseph-Metuchen, 4 pm

Spotswood walks off states win in extras, 14 others advance as NJSIAA playoffs begin

On the opening day of the NJSIAA state baseball tournament, 15 teams advanced to the sectional quarterfinal round later this week.

Top-seed Ridge was among those advancing, while Spotswood scored a walk-off win in eight at home against Monmouth. They got in when Breckyn DeAngelis hit a chopper to the left side that the Falcons’ third-baseman charged on, but threw wild to first base, allowing Ryan Orth to score from second on the play.

Click below to see the game-winning run, and hear head coach Glenny Fredricks talk about the game:

(Video submitted by Glenny Fredricks)
Spotswood head coach Glenny Fredricks

Below are today’s results, and the upcoming schedule for Thursday’s sectional quarterfinals – with one game on Wednewsday preceded by Tuesday’s Non-Public sectional opening round slate.


Central Group 4
(1) Old Bridge def. (16) West Windsor-Plainsboro North, 3-0
(9) West Windsor-Plainsboro South def. (8) Montgomery, 7-5
(5) East Brunswick def. (12) Howell, 4-1
(13) Manalapan def. (4) Marlboro, 3-2
(3) Jackson Memorial def. 14) Freehold Township, 5-1
(6) Monroe def. (11) Hillsborough, 11-1
(10) South Brunswick def. (7) Sayreville, 3-1
(2) North Brunswick def. (15) Long Branch, 10-1

North 2, Group 4
(1) Ridge def. (16) Piscataway, 10-1
(8) Westfield def. (9) Franklin, 5-3
(5) Bayonne def. (12) Union, 14-5
(13) Phillipsburg def. (4) Elizabeth, 6-5
(3) Woodbridge def. (14) JP Stevens, 9-1
(11) Watchung Hills def. (6) Edison, 1-0
(7) Hunterdon Central def. (10) Scotch Plains-Fanwood, 14-2
(2) Bridgewater-Raritan def. (15) Dickinson, 20-1

Central Group 3
(6) Allentown def. (11) JFK, 5-0
(7) Middletown Sotuh def. (10) Somerville, 15-4

North 2, Group 3
(1) Millburn def. (16) Payne Tech, 11-1
(9) Chatham def. (8) West Morris, 2-1
(12) Warren Hills def. (5) Summit, 5-3
(4) South Plainfield def. (13) Colonia, 5-2
(3) Randolph def. (14) Nutley, 13-3
(6) North Hunterdon def. (11) Mendham, 5-1
(10) Ferris at (7) Belleville (LATE)
(2) Cranford def. (15) Rahway, 6-0

Central Group 2
(16) Nottingham at (1) Rumson-Fair Haven (LATE)
(8) Bordentown def. (9) Delaware Valley, 4-0
(12) Ocean Township def. (5) South River, 10-7
(4) Carteret def. (13) East Brunswick Magnet, 6-2
(3) Spotswood def. (14) Monmouth, 1-0 (8 inn.)
(11) Wall def. (6) Johnson, 5-4
(10) Delran at (7) Raritan (LATE)
(15) Manasquan at (2) Governor Livingston (LATE)

North 2, Group 2
(12) Passaic Valley def. (5) Bernards, 2-0

Central Group 1
(1) Point Pleasant Beach def. (16) Perth Amboy Magnet, 14-0
(9) Riverside def. (8) Henry Hudson, 8-7
(5) Manville (12) Florence, 2-0
(13) New Egypt at (4) Somerset Tech (LATE)
(3) Middlesex def. (14) Burlington City, 8-0
(6) Palmyra def. (11) Dunellen, 10-0
(7) South Amboy def. (10) South Hunterdon, 2-0
(2) Shore def. (15) Keansburg, 10-0


Non-Public South A
(9) Union Catholic at (8) Pingry, 3:30 pm
winner at (1) Red Bank Catholic
(12) Camden Catholic at (5) Christian Brothers Academy
winner at (4) St. Augustine
(11) St. John Vianney at (6) Notre Dame
winner at (3) Donovan Catholic
(10) Immaculata at (7) Paul VI, 4 pm
winner at (2) St. Joseph-Metuchen

Non-Public North B
(9) Timothy Christian at (8) Hawthorne Christian, 4 pm
winner at (1) St. Mary-Rutherford
BYE: Second Round (5) Roselle Catholic at (4) Montclair-Kimberley
BYE to Thursday: (6) Morris Catholic winner at (3) Rutgers Prep
(11) Wardlaw-Hartridge withdrew
(10)-Morristown-Beard at (7) Gill St. Bernard’s, 4 pm
winner at (2) St. Thomas Aquinas

WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE (Will be updated with time as we confirm)

Central Group 1
(6) Palmyra at (3) Middlesex, 4 pm

THURSDAY SCHEDULE (Will be updated with times as we confirm them)

Central Group 4
(9) West Windsor-Plainsboro North at (1) Old Bridge, 4 pm
(13) Manalapan at (5) East Brunswick
(6) Monroe at (3) Jackson Memorial
(10) South Brunswick at (2) North Brunswick

North 2, Group 4
(8) Westfield at (1) Ridge, 4 pm
(13) Phillipsburg at (5) Bayonne
(11) Watchung Hills at (3) Woodbridge, 4:30 pm
(7) Hunterdon Central at (2) Bridgewater-Raritan

North 2, Group 3
(9) Chatham at (1) Millburn
(12) Warren Hills at (4) South Plainfield
(6) North Hunterdon at (3) Randolph
(10) Ferris at (2) Cranford

Central Group 2
(8) Bordentown at (1) Rumson-Fair Haven
(12) Ocean Township at (4) Carteret
(11) Wall at (3) Spotswood, 2 pm
(15) Manasquan at (10) Delran

Central Group 1
(9) Riverside at (1) Point Pleasant Beach
(13) New Egypt at (5) Manville, 4 pm
(7) South Amboy at (2) Shore

GMCT Final Recap: St. Joseph makes history, Zack could pitch Thursday for Raiders in states, and updated Finals records

The 2023 GMC Tournament Championship Game once again lived up to its billing.

It was the pitcher’s duel everybody had hoped for, with each team’s ace going – St. Joseph of Metuchen’s Jimmy Mulvaney and North Brunswick’s Zack Konstantinovsky, who may – still, after the loss – be the best pitcher in the state of New Jersey.

It was a 2-0 win for the third-seeded Falcons, who turned the tables on the Raiders. Last year, Joe’s was the defending champ and top-seed, and North Brunswick took the title with a 4-2 win. This year, North was the defending champ and top seed, and lost by two runs.

But there are many more storylines than that.

Eagles and Falcons…

Let’s start with St. Joe’s entering hallowed ground: they have now tied Edison for most GMC Tournament wins since the league began play in 1986, with eight each. That record stood for a while, as Edison had a powerhouse program in the 1990s, with stellar pitchers in their own right, like Brian Appelman and Bobby Brownlie.

The Eagles – under Jim Muldowney – won their first title in 1990, then won four straight years from 1992 to 1995, and after a two-year break, won three of the next four, in 1998 and 1999, then again in 2001.

Meanwhile, St. Joe’s did not win its first title until three seasons after that run, in 2004, when they blanked Carteret 6-0. They then made the finals four of the next five years, winning three of them, in 2006, 2008 and 2009. They didn’t return again until 2014, winning it that year and in 2017 to give them their sixth crown. In 2021, the first year after COVID shut down baseball, the Falcons won again, lost last year, and won again this year for their eighth.

Under head coach Mike Murray, St. Joseph has now won three GMC Tournament titles in four trips over his seven seasons in Metuchen.

Interestingly, with the Falcons now 8-2 all-time in GMC finals, seven of those wins have come via shutout. And all three wins have come by a combined 5-0 score.

Close games have lived up to the hype…

The GMC Tournament hasn’t seen a final decided by more than two runs since1012, when third-seed Middlesex knocked off top-seed Sayreville 10-4. The 2013 game was decided by two runs – 7-seed JFK over 9-seed Monroe, 4-2 – and then the next six games right up to COVID were decided by one run, with finals in 2015 and 2018 going to extra innings.

Since baseball resumed after the pandemic, all three GMC finals have been decided by two runs. St. Joe’s beat South Brunswick 2-0 in 2021, North Brunswick beat St. Joe’s last year 4-2, and this year, they beat the Raiders 2-0.

Defending champs don’t always defend…

All-time, since 1986, only ten teams have made the GMC finals the year after winning it, with Edison doing it five times, and going 4-1 as defending champs. Overall, though, the record is 5-5, and just 1-4 if your nickname is not the Eagles.

  • Edison won in 1992, defended in 1993
  • Edison won in 1994, defended in 1994
  • Edison won in 1994, defended in 1995
  • Edison won in 1995, lost in 1996
  • East Brunswick won in 1997, lost in 1998
  • Edison won in 1998, defended in 1999
  • St. Joseph won in 2004, lost in 2005
  • St. Joseph won in 2008, defended in 2009
  • St. Joseph won in 2021, lost in 2022
  • North Brunswick won in 2022, lost in 2023

Pitchers continue to dominate GMC Final Four and more…

The 2021 GMC Tournament final four – semifinals and finals – set a record for the fewest runs and fewest hits ever in the history of the tournament.

The 2023 tournament matched it, if only in terms of runs scored.

Let’s start with the semifinals, which saw a pair of two-run games: St. Joseph over South Plainfield and North Brunswick over Monroe, both by 2-1 scores. That matched the record set in 2021 of a total of six runs between the two games, which saw South Brunswick beat North Brunswick 2-0, and St. Joe’s beat Edison 3-1.

That year, St. Joseph blanked South Brunswick in the final 2-0, as Andrew Goldan bested Joey Tuttoilmondo, to make it just eight runs across the three games. This year’s final was also 2-0, matching the all-time low for the semis and finals of eight combined runs in the three games.

It wasn’t the same for hits, though. The three games in 2021 totaled just 14 hits, but the Raiders and Falcons combined for 12 in the championship game alone. The two semis this year saw 19 combined on their own, for a total of 33 hits.

Top seed is no guarantee…

Start with the fact that since 2011 – in the last 12 tournaments now – the top seed has reached the championship game less than half the time, with just five championship game berths. With the loss by North Brunswick, the No. 1 seed is just 2-3 when reaching the GMC Finals in that timespan.

Streak ended…

The win by St. Joseph snaps a four-game skid against North Brunswick, that included three regular season’s loss and last year’s title game defeat. The last win for the Falcons over the Raiders before that had come on April 23, 2019.

Zack can go on Thursday…

One of the storylines to the GMC Tournament final being moved – for a second straight year – from Saturday to Sunday due to inclement weather was the fact that it could have thrown a monkey wrench into North Brunswick’s state tournament pitching plans.

St. Joseph didn’t have the same issue because in a 12-team field in Non-Public South B, the second-seeded Falcons got a bye through to Friday, where they’ll play the winner of 10-seed Immaculata and 7-seed Paul VI of Haddonfield.

But for North Brunswick, Zack Konstantinovsky – Sunday’s starting pitcher – could not have thrown Monday anyway when the second-seeded Raiders open up play in Central Jersey Group 4 at home against 15th-seed Long Branch, due to NJSIAA pitch count rules. However, he could have gone Thursday – if the Raiders make it to the second round – since, no matter how many pitches he threw, he would have had the mandatory four-days rest, and his pitch count would reset. A maximum of 150 pitches are allowed over five calendar days.

But with the final on Sunday, Thursday would be the fifth day.

North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins told Central Jersey Sports Radio on Thursday he was going with Zack as long as he could Sunday, and he indeed pitched a complete game.

But according to his pitch count as posted by the team, he only threw 90 pitches. Had he thrown 91, he’d be unavailable for Thursday, but now he is.

So, the question is, after Blevins goes with likely starter Kyle Anderson – the Raiders’ No. 2 behind Konstantinovsky – does he bring Zack back on three days’ rest Thursday? He would get a maximum 60 pitches, and unofficially, he threw his 60th pitch to the third hitter – with two outs – in the fifth inning Sunday.

Or does Blevins go with No. 3 starter Alejandro Jabar, who is more than capable?

The trick is: what comes next? If North Brunswick throws Jabar, that puts Zack in a potential sectional semifinal, and makes him unable to pitch in a possible sectional title game, which could very well be at top-seed Old Bridge, which swept the Raiders this year, 6-1 and 3-2. And he only threw one inning of relief in one of those games, the eighth inning of a 3-2, ten inning loss. He allowed no hits, no runs and struck out two.

We say throw what he can and hope he gets you deep into Thursday, let the bullpen finish it off, and have him free and clear for a potential sectional final. Why save those 60 pitches? Well, maybe because he hasn’t gone on three days’ rest all year. Tough call to make.

Of note: if the Raiders get by Long Branch, it’ll be an all GMC-quarterfinal. They’d play the winner of 10-seed South Brunswick and 7-seed Sayreville Thursday at home.

Speaking of Zack…

Though numbers online show Konstantinovsky gave up one earned run in the game, it clearly should be two. The first was no question, a solo home run off the bat of Tyler Delvecchio that was really all St. Joseph wound up needing yesterday. The second was an RBI single by Will Ramsay in the top of the seventh that came with two outs.

But it developed like this: After a one-out single by Joseph Zammitti – who was pinch-run for by Jaden Jamison – Bobby Christensen laid down a bunt to move him over. It was punched to the left of the mound, to Zack’s right, the opposite way of his momentum on his follow-through. He got tried to turn, first getting twisted around, then slipping on the soft grass.

Click below to listen to the play as it happened:

But the point of this story is not the play – in which it truly should have been scored a hit, as no one touched the ball and Zach could not field it (if a second baseman trips on a ground ball and it goes between fielders into the outfield, it’s a hit, not a physical error with the ball) – it’s the earned run, the second of the game.

It was Zack’s first game allowing two earned runs since last year’s GMC Tournament final against St. Joseph, which the Raiders won 4-2. The last time he allowed more than one earned run in a loss came in North Brunswick’s final game of 2021, a 4-3 loss in Flemington to Hunterdon Central in the Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals.


  • 1986:  East Brunswick 14, Madison Central 3
  • 1987:  Cedar Ridge 2,  Colonia 1
  • 1988:  Carteret 4, JP Stevens 2 (11 innings)
  • 1989:  Madison Central 8, Cedar Ridge 7 (8 innings)
  • 1990:  Edison 9, South Plainfield 3
  • 1991:  East Brunswick 6, South Plainfield 5
  • 1992:  Edison 1, Bishop Ahr 0
  • 1993:  Edison 12, JFK 3
  • 1994:  Edison 10, Monroe 3
  • 1995:  Edison 5, Piscataway 3
  • 1996:  Bishop Ahr 4, Edison 3 (13 innings)
  • 1997:  East Brunswick 3, JFK 2
  • 1998:  Edison 2, East Brunswick 1
  • 1999:  Edison 7, Bishop Ahr 2
  • 2000:  Woodbridge 7, JFK 1
  • 2001:  Edison 4, Spotswood 1
  • 2002:  South Brunswick 4, Piscataway 2 (9 innings)
  • 2003:  Piscataway 9, East Brunswick 5
  • 2004:  St. Joseph 6, Carteret 0
  • 2005:  East Brunswick 8, St. Joseph 1
  • 2006:  St. Joseph 11, South Amboy 0
  • 2007:  Spotswood 7, JP Stevens 6
  • 2008:  St. Joseph 3, Old Bridge 2
  • 2009:  St. Joseph 6, North Brunswick 0
  • 2010:  South Brunswick 9, North Brunswick 2
  • 2011:  (2) Old Bridge 3, (4) South Plainfield 2
  • 2012:  (3) Middlesex 10, (1) Sayreville 4
  • 2013:  (7) JFK 4, (9) Monroe 2
  • 2014:  (4) St. Joseph 1, (6) South Plainfield 0 (walk-off bases loaded walk)
  • 2015:  (2) Monroe 1, (8) Sayreville 0 (8 innings)
  • 2016:  (2) East Brunswick 1, (9) JP Stevens 0
  • 2017:  (1) St. Joseph 1, (6) Monroe 0
  • 2018:  (14)South Plainfield 2, (12) Perth Amboy 1 (12 innings)
  • 2019:  (1) Old Bridge 2, (3) South Brunswick 1
  • 2020:  NO SEASON – COVID
  • 2021:  (2) St. Joseph 2, (5) South Brunswick 0
  • 2022:  (6) North Brunswick 4, (1) St. Joseph 2
  • 2023:  (3) St. Joseph 2, (1) North Brunswick 0


  1. St. Joseph – 10
  2. Edison – 9
  3. East Brunswick – 7
  4. South Plainfield – 5
  5. North Brunswick, South Brunswick, JFK, Monroe – 4
  6. JP Stevens, Bishop Ahr, Piscataway, Old Bridge – 3
  7. Madison Central, Cedar Ridge, Carteret, Spotswood, Sayreville – 2


  • 8-Edison, St. Joseph-Metuchen
  • 5-East Brunswick
  • 2-South Brunswick, Old Bridge

Cedar Ridge, Madison Central, Carteret, Bishop Ahr, Woodbridge, Piscataway, Spotswood, Middlesex, JFK, Monroe, South Plainfield (11 schools) have all won one title each. 


  • East Brunswick 5-2 (2016)
  • Bishop Ahr 1-2 (1996)
  • Carteret 1-1 (1998)
  • *Cedar Ridge 1-1 (1987)
  • Colonia 0-1
  • Edison 8-1 (2001)
  • JFK 1-3 (2013)
  • JP Stevens 0-3
  • *Madison Central 1-1 (1989)
  • Middlesex 1-0 (2012)
  • Monroe 1-3 (2015)
  • North Brunswick 1-3 (2022)
  • Old Bridge 2-1 (2019)
  • Perth Amboy 0-1
  • Piscataway 1-2 (2003)
  • Sayreville 0-2
  • South Amboy 0-1
  • South Brunswick 2-2 (2010)
  • South Plainfield 1-4 (2018)   
  • Spotswood 1-1 (2007)
  • St. Joseph 8-2 (2023)
  • Woodbridge 1-0 (2000)

*Cedar Ridge and Madison Central merged to form Old Bridge HS in 1994.


  • Red Division:  none
  • White Division:  none
  • Blue Division:  Metuchen, South River
  • Gold Division:  New Brunswick, East Brunswick Tech, Somerset Tech, Timothy Christian
  • Silver Division:  Dunellen, Highland Park, Perth Amboy Tech, Wardlaw-Hartridge, Piscataway Tech, Calvary Christian

State baseball tournament opens today for public schools: here are first pitch times for all 30 teams in action Monday

The NJSIAA state baseball tournament begins today with first round play in all sections. The first two rounds are this week, with sectional quarterfinals taking place on Thursday. Next week, the Tuesday after Memorial Day will be the public semifinals, with sectional title games to be played Friday, June 2nd. All games are at the home field of the higher seeded teams.

Public statewide semis are hosted by North 1 and Central champions on Monday, June 5th. Non-Public Group Finals are on Thursday, June 8th, with Public sectional finals on Saturday June 10th, all at Veterans’ Park in Hamilton.

Here’s a look at the schedule for all 30 public schools from the Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area playing Monday, by section, with area teams in bold.

Central Group 4
(16) West Windsor-Plainsboro North at (1) Old Bridge, 6 pm
(9) West Windsor-Plainsboro South at (8) Montgomery, 4 pm
(12) Howell at (5) East Brunswick, 4:15 pm
(11) Hillsborough at (6) Monroe, 3:45 pm
(10) South Brunswick at (7) Sayreville, 4 pm
(15) Long Branch at (2) North Brunswick, 4 pm

North 2, Group 4
(16) Piscataway at (1) Ridge, 4 pm
(9) Franklin at (8) Westfield, 4:30 pm
(14) JP Stevens at (3) Woodbridge, 4:30 pm
(11) Watchung Hills at (6) Edison, 4 pm
(15) Dickinson at (2) Bridgewater-Raritan, 3 pm

Central Group 3
(11) JFK at (6) Allentown, 4 pm
(10) Somerville at (7) Middletown South, 4 pm

North 2, Group 3
(13) Colonia at (4) South Plainfield, 4 pm

Central Group 2
(12) Ocean Township at (5) South River, 4 pm
(13) East Brunswick Magnet at (4) Carteret, 4 pm
(14) Monmouth at (3) Spotswood, 4 pm

North 2, Group 2
(12) Passaic Valley at (5) Bernards, 4 pm

Central Group 1
(12) Florence at (5) Manville, 4 pm
(13) New Egypt at (4) Somerset Tech, 4 pm
(14) Burlington City at (3) Middlesex, 4 pm
(11) Dunellen at (6) Palmyra, 4pm
(10) South Hunterdon at (7) South Amboy, 4 pm

INSTANT REPLAY: GMC Tournament Final – (3) St. Joseph-Metuchen 2, (1) North Brunswick 0

Senior Tyler Delvecchio hit a solo home run in the fourth that was all third-seed St. Joseph would need, while fellow senior Tyler Delvecchio pitched a complete-game shutout, and the Falcons beat top-seed and defending champion North Brunswick 2-0 to win the GMC Tournament title game on May 21, 2023 at Ray Cipperly Field in East Brunswick.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the play-by-play on Central Jersey Sports Radio, driven by Auto Lounge of Edison:

Note: Due to technical difficulties, the top of the third inning has been omitted from this recording.