Tag: Bridgewater-Raritan

INSTANT REPLAY-North 2, Group 4 Quarterfinals: (2) Ridge 2, (7) Bridgewater-Raritan 1

Matt Shawah’s hard-hit infield single in the bottom of the seventh gave second-seed Ridge a 2-1 walk-off win over 7th-seed Bridgewater-Raritan in a North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 quarterfinal playoff game in Basking Ridge.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko call all the action on Saturday, June 4, 2022:

Defending champ Ridge walks off Bridgewater-Rartitan in another playoff thriller to advance to North 2, Group 4 semifinals

After playing five-and-a-half scoreless innings, with both pitchers throwing well – and getting out of minor jams when they had to – second-seed Ridge finally broke thorough against seventh-seed Bridgewater-Raritan in their North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon.

The Red Devils got a leadoff walk from Matt Shawah, and after a sac bunt moved him to second, and he advanced to third on a wild pitch, Mike Olivo put his team up 1-0 with an RBI single. And they could have had more, had Olivo not been caught trying to steal third after a pitch in the dirt that he may have thought Bridgewater catcher Matt Salinger had lost in front of him.

Click the logo above to learn more about baseball training and more at Zoned Sports Academy in Bridgewater!

But the Panthers came back. Connor Byrne – looking to go the distance for Ridge – struck out JR Rosado and Frankie Verano. But he reached his one-game pitch count after a double by Matt Moore, and came out of the game. Brendan Callanan came in from shortstop and gave up an RBI single to BR pinch-hitter Tim Travisano, and we were back tied again, now at 1-1.

Now, it was Ridge’s turn not to be denied. Starter Jason Cozzi entered the seventh allowing just two hits all afternoon to the Red Devils. But after a fly-out to center by Matt Aber and a pop up to second by Julian Kielb, catcher George Busnach walked. Luke Somelofske singled. And Andrew Shawah walked. Yes, the bottom three in the order – a lineup with no one hitting less than .280 all year – had set it up for leadoff man Matt Shahwah.

He hit a line drive roller between third and short that Matt Moore couldn’t handle off his glove, but deep in the hole, he probably wouldn’t have had a play anywhere for the third out. It was ruled a hit – a two-out RBI infield hit – driving in courtesy runner Brian Capato from third, and Ridge walked-off with a 2-1 win over the Panthers, to move on to the North 2 Group 4 semifinals on Tuesday afternoon, likely at 4 pm, here in Basking Ridge.

Byrne struck out seven, including the first two outs in the seventh. Callanan got the win in relief, his third against the Panthers this season.

The Red Devils will play third-seed Woodbridge in the semis, as the Barrons beat 6th-seed Westfield 8-4 at home Saturday afternoon.

Click below for postgame reaction from Ridge’s quarterfinal win over Bridgewater-Raritan:

Matt Shawah, with the game-winning RBI infield hit
Ridge head coach Tom Blackwell

Bridgewater seeking early jump on Ridge when they meet in Saturday’s sectional semis

There’s a lot of familiarty between Ridge and Bridgewater-Raritan. They’re Skyland Conference Delaware Division mates, and they even met in the Somerset County Tournament semifinals.

The Red Devils have won all three games, and in all three matchups, have scored first.

That’s a trend the 7th-seeded Panthers (15-12) hope to reverse in Saturday’s North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 quarterfinal round, when they face 2nd-seed Ridge (23-3) for a fourth time in 2022.

Click the logo above to learn more about baseball training and more at Zoned Sports Academy in Bridgewater!

That game can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko calling all the action from Basking Ridge. First pitch is set for 2:00, with pregame at 1:45; click here to listen live.

Ridge won the first meeting in mid-April, 10-2, an odd game that spanned more than one day, thanks to weather. The Red Devils won again 3-1 in the Somerset County Tournament semifinals, and 5-3 just a week later.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Bridgewater-Raritan head coach Max Newill:

There’s a new team atop the Bellamy & Son Top Ten: Ridge overtakes St. Joe’s after Falcons’ upset in GMCT Finals

North Brunswick’s upset of St. Joseph-Metuchen wasn’t enough to make the Raiders No. 1 in the Week 9 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, but it was enough to knock the Falcons from their season-long perch atop the rankings.

St. Joe’s was replaced by Somerset County Tournament champion Ridge, which beat Rutgers Prep 6-0 in the SCT final a week ago Monday. The Raiders – who shocked the Falcons with a 4-2 win Sunday in the GMC title tilt – moved up from fourth to second, while Joe’s dropped to third in the latest rankings.

Below are the Full Week 9 rankings:

St. Joseph, Ridge, Rutgers Prep continue to lead Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, while North and East Brunswick debut

The top three teams remain the same in the Week 8 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, but two new teams made the the Top Ten this week.

North Brunswick debuted and jumped all the way to fourth, on the strength of a big run as the 6th-seed in the GMC Tournament. They’re in Saturday’s title game after outlasting East Brunswick – the 7th-seed, which ousted 5-seed Old Bridge – by a 1-0 score in 12 innings Saturday in the semifinals.

Pingry dropped a spot this week after the addition of the Raiders and Bears, with No. 9 Old Bridge dropping out, along with South River, which had a 0-4 week. But the Big Blue are the first tournament champion in the area, after they won the Prep A Tournament Sunday with a 5-3 victory over Hun.

Below are the full Week 8 rankings:

Blue Jays make big jump, Old Bridge debuts, St. Joe’s stays atop new Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten

With two wins over Woodbridge to break a first-place tie and claim the GMC White Division title, earning the third-seed in the GMC Tournament, Middlesex made a big lead from 8th to 5th in the Week 7 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten rankings.

St. Joseph and Ridge remained Nos. 1 and 2, while Rutgers Prep – which claimed a berth in the Somerset County Tournament finals next Monday with a semifinal win last week – rose from fifth to third. Monroe climbed two spots to third after gaining the second-seed in the GMC Tournament.

Woodbridge fell to sixth, while Somerville dropped out. And Old Bridge made its first appearance in the Bellamy rankings this season, finishing 3rd in the tough GMC Red, and earning the fourth seed in the county tournament.

Below are the full Week 7 rankings:

INSTANT REPLAY: SCT Semifinals – (1) Ridge 3, (4) Bridgewater-Raritan 1

After Bridgewater-Raritan tied a tight game at 1-1 in the sixth, Ridge rallied for two in the bottom of the inning and held of the Panthers in the 7th to take a 3-1 win in the nightcap of the Somerset County Tournament Semifinals.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas call all the action live from TD Bank Park in Bridgewater:

Solid week for the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, with little movement in the Week 6 rankings

Only two teams moved in the Week 6 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, after the entire slate of ranked teams combined to go 20-3 in the week gone by, with nobody losing more than once.

Woodbridge and Somerville flip-flopped, as the Barrons moved up to third on the strength of a 2-0 week, while Somerville dropped to fourth after going 1-1.

The rankings – though released Monday night – were compiled before Monday’s Somerset County Tournament doubleheader.

Below are the full Week 6 rankings:

Ridge rallies in nightcap semifinal to beat Bridgewater-Raritan 3-1, claiming 2nd straight berth in SCT Finals

So what if they’re three years apart?

The Ridge Red Devils are back to a second straight Somerset County Tournament final, after the top-seed held off fourth-seed Bridgewater-Raritan 3-1 in the nightcap of a semifinal doubleheader at TD Bank Park in Bridgewater, heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Ridge made the last SCT played – in 2019 – before the COVID-19 pandemic and a shortened season cancelled the event the next two years – and will get a chance to play for the title again in two weeks.

Ridge will be playing for its seventh SCT title, having last won it back in 2011. They’re 6-8 all-time in the finals.

Staked out to a 1-0 lead on an RBI single in the second by Julian Kielb, starter Connor Byrne – who’d thrown more pitches than any player on the Ridge staff this year, and by a large margin – looked in mid-season form, striking out six in the first three innings, including the first four batters he faced to start the game.

Click the logo above to learn more about baseball training and more at Zoned Sports Academy in Bridgewater!

He wobbled a bit in the fourth, walking three and loading the bases, but he saved himself with a pickoff attempt before getting into a bit of trouble that he got out of.

In the sixth, though, Bridgewater-Raritan evened the score. Matthew Fattore doubled with two hours, Frankie Verano got hit by a pitch, and JR Rosado’s single scored pinch-runner Miles Misyan from second.

But in the bottom of the inning, the Red Devils pulled ahead – without the aid of a single hit.

Leadoff man Brian Leitz got plunked by Panther starter Jason Cozzi, who induced a pop up from Brendan Callanan, before he walked Mike Olivo, and was pulled from the game by coach Max Newill.

Joe Spirra came in from left field to pitch, and Matt Aber hit a ball to short, which could have been a DP, but he threw the ball over the head of the second baseman Cozzi, who moved there after coming off the mound, and Leitz scored. After Kielb grounded to third and George Busnach was hit by a pitch, Luke Somelofske hit a grounder to third that Michael Fattore fielded, but his throw pulled his brother Matthew off the bag at first, allowing the second run to score.

Shortstop Brendan Callanan started the seventh to close it out, and pitched an uneventful seventh to seal the deal.

Click below for postgame reaction down on the field from Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Ridge starter Connor Bynre, who got the win
Ridge head coach Tom Blackwell

Somerset County Tournament Semifinals return to TD Bank Park Monday night

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and a shortened 2021 season, the first Somerset County Tournament for baseball since 2019 returns to TD Bank Park in Bridgewater Monday, with a pair of semifinal games on tape.

Ridge, Somerville, Bridgewater-Raritan and Rutgers Prep will all be vying for a spot in the finals, two weeks later on Monday, May 23rd.

All games can be heard live on Central Jersey Sports Radio by clicking here.

Somerset County Tournament Semifinals
4 pm: (2) Somerville vs. (6) Rutgers Prep
7 pm: (1) Ridge vs. (4) Bridgewater-Raritan

One thing is for sure, there will be a new champion, after Immaculata won the last two SCTs, in 2018 and 2019. In fact, the last three champions have all won back-to-back, Hillsborough in 2014 and 2015, followed by Rutgers Prep in 2016 and 2017, and then the Spartans.

Here’s a breakdown of both Monday’s semifinals:

(2) SOMERVILLE (10-7, 8-3 in the Skyland Conference Delaware Division, 3rd place) vs.
(6) RUTGERS PREP (12-2, 8-1 in the Skyland Conference Valley Division, 1st place)
First pitch weather: 65 degrees, mostly sunny, wind NE 12 mph (left field to right)

Starting Pitchers:
Somerville – Kolbie Stellpflug (3-1, 3.59 ERA)
Rutgers Prep – Zach Fronio (2-0, 1.02 ERA)

How they got here:

The Pioneers had a bye to the quarterfinals, and beat 7-seed Pingry 9-8 in their first game in the SCT. They nearly didn’t make it, though. Somerville led the Big Blue – playing its fourth game in as many days – 7-0 after two, but Pingry tied the game in the top of the 7th at 8-8. It took a three-base error on Pingry and a walk-off single by Tyler Stone to put The ‘Ville into the semifinals. For a top pitcher on the team, Kolbie Stellpflug is not a strikeout pitcher; he’s walked as many as he’s fanned this season, but he can get the job done.

Somerville starter Kolbie Stellpflug delivers to the plate in the fourth inning against Bridgewater-Raritan on April 21, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Rutgers Prep had an opening round bye, and beat 11-seed Bernards in the second round 5-3 on April 23. They then knocked off third-seed Montgomery 8-3 on the road in the semifinals, avenging an earlier road loss to the Cougars, 9-1, on the second day of the season. Zach Fronio is just a freshman, but has fit nicely in with the starters on the pitching staff, and veteran head coach Larry Santowasso – who recently won his 300th game – trusts him with the ball in a big spot here.


Rutgers Prep and Somerville used to be in the same division, and played each other frequently, but after the 2020 season was cancelled and a shorter-than-ususal year last year, these teams haven’t played each other since 2018.

Throw out the record on this one, with Somerville playing in the Skyland’s top division, the Delaware. They have losses to Ridge – the top seed in the tournament – as well as Hunterdon Central, which was back in the statewide rankings last week, after beginning the season in the top five. The Pioneers have won four of their last six, and haven’t put together more than three wins in a row this season, with out-of-conference losses to Robbinsville, North Brunswick, Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the Autism Awareness Challenge, and Delran in the Thank You Classic. They also lost their last game, 11-5 to Hillsborough back on Thursday.

Rutgers Prep on the field after a 15-6 win over Bernards on April 16, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Rutgers Prep, meanwhile, has had a long layoff, thanks in part to a rain-out Saturday morning against Pingry. But the six days off also means the pitching staff is fresh, and ready to go. The Argonauts have won seven in a row since a 3-2 loss to Voorhees up in Glen Gardner on April 20th. They’ve scored eight or more runs five times in that span, and ten or more three times. They lead Voorhees by a half game in the Valley Division standings.

Last titles, finals appearances:

Somerville last won the Somerset County Tournament in 1995 – it’s last trip to the finals – and has won four titles overall in the event, which began in 1973. They also won in 1992, 1987, and in the SCT’s second year, in 1974. The Pioneers are seeking their sixth finals berth.

Rutgers Prep has only been to the finals twice, but won it both times, taking back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.

Past Coverage:


Rutgers Prep:

(1) RIDGE (14-2, 9-2 in the Skyland Conference Delaware Division, tied for 1st) vs.
(4) BRIDGEWATER-RARITAN (9-8, 6-5 in the Skyland Conference Delaware Division, tied for 4th)
First pitch weather: 61 degrees, sunny, wind NE 11 mph (left field to right)

Starting Pitchers:
Ridge – Connor Byrne (7-1, 1.83 ERA)
Bridgewater-Raritan – Jason Cozzi (1-2, 4.71 ERA)

How they got here:

Both Ridge and Bridgewater – as top four seeds – had byes right to the quarterfinals of the SCT, and have only played one game each.

The Red Devils were 13-3 winners over 9-seed Gill St. Bernard’s on April 30th. Though the Knights took a 1-0 lead in that game in the top of the first, Ridge answered back with six in the bottom of the inning, and led 11-1 after three, with eight batters driving in at least one run each in the game. The Red Devils can score runs in bunches; it’s a big reason they’re the top seed in this tournament. Byrne has been solid all year long, and can go long, throwing 100 pitches twice this season, and topping 90 two more times.

Ridge pitcher Andrew Shawah delivers to Pingry in a game on April 29, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Bridgewater-Raritan topped 5-seed Watchung Hills in the quarters, 5-3, scoring five unanswered for the win, coming back from a 3-0 deficit. The win was the fourth in five games for the Panthers, who then beat Phillipsburg in a regular season home game 7-1 to make it five of six, before a 6-4 loss to North Hunterdon back on Thursday.


Ridge beat Bridgewater-Raritan in their only other meeting this year, 10-2 on April 18th. It was a game suspended due to rain and lightning and finished two days later, and neither coach believes it’s indicative of how this one will go. (It was also the Panthers’ biggest losing margin of the season, as six of their eight losses have come by three runs or less.) The two will meet again on May 17th in Basking Ridge.

The Red Devils’ 12-game winning streak is their best in quite some time. They won eight in a row to close out April in 2014, a year they made the North 2 Group 4 semifinals. By the end of that streak, they had won 13 of 14, with the only loss coming to Warren Hills, and then won six straight after that until a 4-3 loss to Hillsborough in the Somerset County Tournament Finals. That team finished 22-6, but this year’s squad could give that record a run for its money.

Last titles, finals appearances:

Ridge last won the SCT in 2011, but made its most recent appearance in the title game in the last one played, losing 6-5 to Immaculata in the 2019 final. The Red Devils are third in Somerset County in trips to the finals, with 14, winning six titles, their most recent coming in 2011, when they beat Hillsborough 4-3. They also won titles in 1989, 1985, 1984, 1980 and 1976.

Bridgewater-Raritan last made it to the finals in 2012, losing to Hillsborough 4-3. The Panthers’ only title since the merger came in 1996, but Bridgewater-Raritan East won the title four times – in 1990, 1978, 1978, and he very first year, 1974. West won it once, in 1998. The current B-R has made the finals four times; the other appearances were in 1998 and 1997, the latter of which began a strecth of seven straight SCT crowns for Immaculata, and 11 in 13 seasons from 1997 to 2008.

Past Coverage: