Tag: Chris Kenney

McGuinness, East Brunswick ready to tackle top-seed Old Bridge in CJ4 semis Tuesday

Dustin McGuinness fancies himself more a position player than a pitcher, which is remarkable for someone who’s been a big starter for the last couple of years for the East Brunswick baseball team.

But all indications are he’ll get the ball Tuesday evening when the fifth-seeded Bears (15-11) visit top-seed Old Bridge (18-8) in a Central Jersey Group 4 semifinal game you can hear right here on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

First pitch is set for 6 pm; pregame begins at 5:45 with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action. Click here to listen.

McGuinness is 1-1 all-time against the Knights, but didn’t pitch against them in their two meetings this year.

Meanwhile, the Bears have a lineup that’s coming around at the right time. Head coach Chris Kenney says third-baseman Jack Gerould has upped his average about 150 points in the past few weeks, while others in the lineup have followed suit, in typical “that’s baseball” fashion.

Tuesday’s winner will face either third-seed Monroe or second-seed North Brunswick Friday in the sectional title game, with a GMC Red Division team guaranteed to take home the CJ4 crown.

East Brunswick is in the semis for a second straight year – its third trip in the last five seasons – and seeking back-to-back berths in the title game, where they lost last year 8-2 to Howell, a team they beat in this year’s opening round.

Old Bridge last made the CJ4 finals in 2019, when they lost at Manalapan, 3-2.

Click below to learn more about East Brunswick as head coach Chris Kenney talks with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

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

East Brunswick will play 5th game in as many days when Bears battle North Brunswick in GMCT semis

“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.

Click above to learn more about how to be an umpire and join the NSJFU.

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:

After 1,448 days, East Brunswick regains possession of Commander’s Cup with 4-2 victory over Spotswood

The East Brunswick baseball team is coming off a pair of back-to-back wins in the GMC Tournament, and has Senior Night Friday, followed by a GMC semifinal date with North Brunswick Saturday. To say it’s a big week would be an understatement.

But the Bears responded in their big rivalry game with Spotswood on Thursday afternoon, beating the Chargers 4-2 at home, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, to take the Commander’s Cup trophy for the first time since they surrendered it to Spotswood on May 31, 2017.

Three down, two to go.

The win gave East Brunswick a 9-7-1 advantage in the series, which is named after American Legion Post 25, whose team Spotswood coach Glenny Fredricks leads, and has players from Spotswood and East Brunswick, as well as Milltown.

READ MORE: The history of the Commander’s Cup:

Needing to get the most out of its pitching with five games in five days, the Bears got a five-hit, five-stirkeout, two-run performance from starter Ryan Basham, who pitched 5 and 2/3 innings to get the win, while Aaron Warner got the save, throwing an inning and a third in relief. Jeffrey Osborne went the distance for Spotswood – six innings – allowing six hits and four runs in taking the loss.

Ryan Basham of East Brunswick throws in the 4th inning against Spotswood on May 19, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Basham also helped his cause at the plate, with a two-run RBI single in a three-run fourth; it turned out to be the game-winning RBI.

The victory snapped a four-game win streak by Spotswood, which had won in 2017, 2018, 2019, and – with no game due to the 2020 season being cancelled – in 2021. And it gave EB two straight wins over the Chargers, who they beat Tuesday in the opening round of the GMC Tournament, 11-1.

The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the third on Dylan Lugo’s two-out single, scoring Romeo Diaz, who walked to lead off the inning.

Spotswood took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Breckln DeAngelis scored on a one-out double by Casey Cumiskey, who scored on a ground ball to second by his brother Carter Cumiskey that should have ended the inning, but the throw by Bears’ second baseman Christian Bermudez took first baseman Romeo Diaz off the bag.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from the Bears on their 4-2 win over Spotswood:

East Brunswick pitcher Ryan Basham
East Brunswick head coach Chris Kenney
East Brunswick’s Vincent LaRocca rides on the shoulders of Michael Lozzi as he holds the Commander’s Cup trophy high above his head after winning the 2022 edition of the game. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

All-Time Commander’s Cup Trophy Results
East Brunswick leads 9-7-1

5/19/22 – East Brunswick 4, Spotswood 2 (at EB)
5/19/21 – Spotswood 6, East Brunswick 5 (8 inn.) (at SHS)
5/8/19 – Spotswood 3, East Brunswick 0 (at EB)
5/17/18 – Spotswood 5, East Brunswick 3 (8 inn.) (at EB)
5/31/17 – Spotswood 6, East Brunswick 0 (at EB)
5/7/16 – East Brunswick 6, Spotswood 1 (at EB)
5/2/15 – Spotswood 5, East Brunswick 4 (at SHS)
5/3/14 – East Brunswick 13, Spotswood 7 (at EB)
5/4/13 – East Brunswick 4, Spotswood 2 (8 inn.) (at EB)
5/18/12 – East Brunswick 4, Spotswood 2 (at Michelin Field)
5/9/11 – East Brunswick 16, Spotswood 9 (at EB)
5/19/10 – East Brunswick 5, Spotswood 4 (at EB)
4/26/09 – East Brunswick 13, Spotswood 3 (at Trenton)
4/27/08 – Spotswood 5, East Brunswick 4 (9 inn.) (at Trenton)
4/21/07 – Spotswood 6, East Brunswick 0 (at Trenton)
4/30/06 – (TIE) Spotswood 5, East Brunswick 5 (8 inn.) (at Trenton)
5/9/05 – East Brunswick 5, Spotswood 4 (at EB)

Who will be GMC Tournament’s top seed? We asked one coach to rate the candidates

In about 12 hours, we’ll know who the top seed is in the upcoming GMC Baseball Tournament, the first in two years, after the entire 2020 season was wiped out by COVID-19.

But for now, we can ask, “Who will it be?”

The top division in the GMC had a split title this year between Monroe and St. Joseph. The Falcons from Metuchen won the first meeting between the teams 2-0 back on Saturday in Monroe, but those Falcons salvaged the two-game series on the return trip to Metuchen, winning an error-prone game Monday 12-9.

Will it be one of those teams? What about South Plainfield?

East Brunswick, which is 9-9 after Wednesday’s loss to Spotswood, is the only GMC team to have beaten both Falcons this year. And head coach Chris Kenney says he could make a case for either team earning the Number One seed overall.

While he says South Brunswick is also knocking on the door, only a division champion cam be an overall top seed, which would take the Vikings out of that conversation.

Could South Plainfield, the GMC White champion, make a play?

Click below to hear East Brunswick head coach Chris Kenney break down the reasons why St. Joe’s and Monroe each can make an argument to be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming GMC Tournament:

Here are some key points:

Monroe (12-4 overall, 12-3 GMC, 11-3, GMC Red Co-Champs)

Monroe head coach Sean field talks to his team after a 12-9 win Monday at St. Joe’s that gave them a share of the GMC Red Division title, and a shot at the top seed in the upcoming GMC Tournament.

The purple and gold Falcons reeled off eight straight wins in the heart of their season, but split with East Brunswick, South Brunswick and St. Joseph.

Their only other loss on the season came to Manalapan, their lone non-conference game this season, on April 23rd.

Their only non-divisional GMC game came a day later: an 8-3 win against Spotswood back on April 24th.

Three different players have hit four home runs this season. Junior Christopher Wisniewski has gone yard twice, while Jacob Veczko and Aidan Lane each have a homer.

Garrett VanBuren and Josh Weinstein have been aces on the mound, each with over 33 strikeouts and a nearly 2:1 strikeout-walk ratio.

St. Joseph (13-6 overall, 11-3 GMC/GMC Red Co-Champs)

St. Joseph junior Andrew Goldan throws a pitch in a 4-1 win over Old Bridge on May 3, 2021. Goldan no-hit the Knights through five innings, but was pulled after five based on his pitch count. He’s been lights out since coming back from tendinitis issues.

The Falcons from Metuchen haven’t put together a win streak longer than three games this season, the first of which began on Opening Day.

While Joe’s hasn’t played any league games out of their Red Division, they took on more out-of-conference opponents than Monroe. They beat Lawrenceville 9-0 and St. Benedict’s 12-0, but also have three non-league losses.

They fell to Hun 9-0, Somerville 14-4, and Cherokee 5-0.

Three different players have – Mark Gialluisi, Andrew Goldan and Eric Gonzalez each have a homer for St. Joe’s, they have a little less pop in the bat.

Scoring-wise the teams are similar: St. Joseph has scored 109 runs in 19 games for an average of 5.73 per game; Monroe 90 in 16 games for a 5.63 run per game average.

On the mound, Andrew Goldan has been lights out, allowing just seven hits in 21 innings, limited earlier in the season with some tendinitis.

The rest to get him healthy appears to have done him a lot of good. He was no-hittting Old Bridge through five before being yanked while being held to a strict pitch count. And he pitched a two-hit complete game whitewash in the first meeting with Monroe back on Saturday.

South Plainfield (15-2-1 overall, 13-1-1 GMC, 12-1-1 GMC White Champs)

The Tigers actually have fewer losses (2) than all but one of the 32 GMC teams. East Brunswick Tech is 12-1.

Of course, they’re a division down from the Red, but they’re playing solid baseball.

Their only issue – if you can call it that – is while they swept the GMC White’s second-place team, Edison, they were 0-1-1 against the division’s third place team, North Brunswick. They tied the Raiders 2-2 in 7 innings on May 8th, and lost 2-1 in the visit to North Brunswick on the 10th.

Out of conference, they were blanked 2-0 by a very good Millburn team that’s 13-3 and will be facing Seton Hall Prep Saturday afternoon in the Greater Newark Tournament finals. Their out-of-conference wins were a 6-1 victory a few days later against a so-so Montgomery squad, and a 16-0 victory over Watchung Hills Wednesday.

But boy can they score; the Tigers are averaging 8.47 runs per game, including a 27-1 win over New Brunswick on April 24th.

They’ve also won three games in shutout fashion, and 10 of their wins have seen the Tigers allow a run or less.