South River, Metuchen, Piscataway and Carteret all won opening round games Saturday afternoon the the GMC Tournament, part of the pilot program format that expanded the Championship field to 20 teams this season. All will go on to play Monday at higher-seeded teams – the top four – that had first round byes.
(16) South River 4, (17) Colonia 3
The 16th-seed, South River, had perhaps the most dramatic win of the day, a 4-3 walk-off at Grekoski part against 17th-seed Colonia. The Rams trailed 3-0 heading into the sixth inning, but scored twice in the bottom half on a Julius Rosado home to pull within a run, then twice more in the bottom of the seventh for the victory.
Click here for the full story on the South River win, with postgame reaction from head coach Mike Lepore.
The Rams (10-4) move on to play at top-seed North Brunswick (11-5) on Monday at 4pm at Community Park.
(19) Metuchen 4, (14) JFK 2
It was an all-Blue Division opening round game, as 19th-seed Metuchen also had to rally for a 4-2 first-round win, coming back from down 2-0 heading into the top of the seventh. Kennedy – the 14th-seed and home team – scored in each of the first two innings, and held that lead until the seventh when Metuchen got all four of its runs, on RBIs from Marcus Malamug, Daniel Cordes, Lucas Weiss and Simon Rosal.
JFK fell to 9-8 with the loss.
Metuchen (7-8) won’t have to go far for its second round game on Monday, visiting 3rd-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen for a 4 pm first pitch.
(15) Carteret 2, (16) JP Stevens 1
The 15th-seeded Ramblers – the GMC Gold Division champion – fell behind in the fourth, but took the lead in the fifth and hung on for a 2-1 win over 16-seed JP Stevens (3-14).
The game didn’t see much offensive action, with the teams combining for just ten hits, and the only two extra base hits – doubles – coming from the Hawks’ lineup. They scored a run in the top of the fourth, but Carteret took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth, and got solid pitching from the combo of starter Nick Kee and reliever Justin Santana. Kee allowed just a run on four hits in 5 and 2/3 innings, while Santana threw an inning-and-a-third of no-hit, shutout ball to earn the save.
The Ramblers (14-2) will visit second-seed Old Bridge (13-6) at Fred Cole Field, Monday at 4 pm.
(20) Piscataway 7, (13) St. Thomas Aquinas, 4
The higher-seed Trojans (No. 13) never got a chance to lead in the game, as the 20th-seed Piscataway led 6-0 before Aquinas could get on the board with a run in the bottom of the second. The Chiefs scored a run in the first, then had a five-run outburst in the top of the second.
They added another insurance run in the third.
Troy Hutchinson and Jason Hoffman each had two RBI’s in the game, with Hutchinson’s coming on a pair of walks. Terrance Bell, Jr., was 4-for-5 with an RBI while Piscataway starting pitcher Jaden Peace went the distance to get the win, throwing seven innings, scattering six hits and allowing just one unearned run.
The Chiefs (5-12) now move on to play at 4-seed Monroe Monday afternoon at 4:00 in the second round.