Tag: East Brunswick

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

Week 2 turmoil has settled, but two new teams join Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten in Week 3, while Bridgewater remains No. 1

There are two new teams in the Week 3 Bellamy & Son Paving Baseball Rankings – as Pingry and Monroe join the group – but otherwise, no real major changes of shakeups in the Top Ten this week.

The top two teams went unbeaten in Week 3 of the season, with Bridgewater-Raritan (9-2) holding on to the top spot, while Ridge (7-2) moves up one place to second, dropping Old Bridge (9-3) to third after a 3-2 week that saw the Vikings lose twice in the division, once to Old Bridge and once to East Brunswick.

Sayreville (8-3) holds in fourth, coming off a 2-1 week with wins over Perth Amboy and Colonia.

North Brunswick (6-4) moved up three spots to fifth, had the other unbeaten week among ranked teams. The Raiders swept a two-game home-and-home against St. Joseph-Metuchen – which dropped out at 4-5 off a 1-4 week, along with Franklin (4-6). They also won 10-7 at Woodbridge (7-3), which dropped on place to sixth.

Monroe (5-4) is back in the rankings after a week out; the Falcons are sixth after a 3-0 week with a home-and-home two-game sweep of South Brunswick and a win over South Plainfield.

Spotswood (9-2) is up two places to eight after a 2-2 week, with both losses coming out of conference.

East Brunswick (5-6) holds in ninth, despite a 1-3 week, while Pingry (5-3) also rejoins the rankings, on a 2-0 week that included a win over red-hot Manville in the second round of the Somerset County Tournament on Saturday.

Below are the full Week Three Bellamy & Son Paving baseball rankings:

Ridge retains top ranking in Week 1 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten

Through the first week of the high school baseball season, there was little movement at the top of the Bellamy & Son Paving rankings, even though all four teams – in fact, every team in the preseason rankings – took at least one loss.

Note: All team records are as of Sunday, April 9 and do not include games on Monday, April 10.

Ridge (2-1) remained No. 1 after opening with a 2-0 win over Immaculata and a 7-3 win over Rutgers Prep Saturday, sandwiched around an out-of-area loss to Hunterdon Central, 1-0.

North Brunswick (2-1) held in second split a pair with South Plainfield, winning the opener on the road, but falling at home two days later. The Raiders bounced back with a 10-0 blanking of Monroe Saturday.

St. Joseph-Metuchen (2-2) remained in fourth despite starting 0-2 with losses against Monroe at home, then at Old Bridge, because they rebounded with a road win against the Falcons and a shutout home win at home against the Knights.

Woodbridge (2-1) stays at No. 4 after starting 2-0 thanks to a home-and-home sweep of Colonia, before losing to Sayreville 3-0 Saturday afternoon.

The next two teams saw the biggest moves of the week.

Unranked Old Bridge (2-1) joined the rankings at No. 5. The Knights topped JP Stevens 10-0, then came up with a big win over defending Red Division champ St. Joe’s 10-8 at home, before falling to the Falcons in Metuchen 3-0 on Saturday.

And Bridgewater-Raritan moved all the way up from tenth to sixth on the strength of a 3-1 start, with wins over Watchung Hills, St. Joseph-Montvale and Hillsborough. Their lone loss was to out-of-area Roxbury, 10-3 on Saturday.

As a result of the Panthers’ move, the next four teams all moved down a spot.

East Brunswick (2-1) checks in at No. 7, after splitting a pair with South Brunswick, then winning at South Plainfield.

In eighth is Monroe (1-2), which had a big division win over St. Joe’s, 6-5 on Opening Day, but then lost the rematch, and was shutout by North Brunswick.

Ninth is Pingry, which is 2-1 after wins over Warren Hills and at Bernards to start the season, but ended the week Saturday with a 2-1 out-of-area loss to North Hunterdon.

And in tenth is Immaculata (1-2). The Spartans lost a tough one, 2-0 on Opening Day to Ridge, then came back with a 8-7 win over Watchung Hills on the road, before falling in a non-league game at West Morris, 3-2.

Below are the full Bellamy & Son Paving Week One rankings:

Ridge debuts at No. 1 in preseason Bellamy & Son Paving H.S. Baseball Top Ten

The Ridge Red Devils – coming off a 24-4 season, a Somerset County Tournament championship, and a heartbreaking 11-inning loss in the Central Jersey Group 4 semifinals to end their season – will begin 2023 right where they left off: Number One in the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten.

Not only does Ridge take the top spot in our preseason rankings, but the top four teams remained the same. The rest saw some significant movement.

The Red Devils have some key pieces back from last year’s club, including pitchers Connor Byrne and Brendan Callanan, while Callanan, Luke Somelofske and Julian Kielb – the team’s top run producer a year ago – are among the top hitters returning.

In second, it’s North Brunswick, which won its first-ever GMC Tournament Championship last year, beating defending champ St. Joseph of Metuchen in the final. The Falcons check in at No. 3.

The Raiders went 22-10 last season, and have a lot of key hitters back, including Omar and Yomar Carreras and Frankie Garbolino, while Rutgers-bound strikeout whiz Zach Konstantinovsky returns for his senior season. Last year, “Zack K” threw 67 innings, struck out 120 hitters, and walked only two, with a miniscule 0.73 earned run average.

The Falcons finished 22-9 last year, and were the Red Division Champions. Their returning lineup is loaded, with standouts like Mark Gialluisi, Robbie Carvelli, Josiah Brown and many more returning, though they lose two of the best pitchers in the league – Donovan Szak and Andrew Goldan, both of whom are now at Rutgers.

Checking in at No. 4 is Woodbridge. The Barons were 25-7 last year and a North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 finalist, having won an epic 11-inning game at Ridge, but falling to Hunterdon Central in the final. The Barrons return their top pitcher in Eddy Nunez, as well as key offensive players like senior Ty Kobylakiewicz, and juniors Drew Lukachyk and A.J. Bosch.

In fifth is Rutgers Prep, which was 19-6 last season and won the Skyland Conference Valley Division, and made it to the Somerset County final, falling to Ridge. A young team in 2022, they still won’t have a lot of seniors, but players like sophomores Andrew Parisi (.537, 54 RBI, 11 HR) and Zach Fronio (42 2/3 innings pitched, 1.34 ERA) will have lots of experience to call upon.

East Brunswick checks in at No. 6. A Central Jersey Group 4 finalist, the Bears were 17-13 last season, and lost an epic GMC Tournament semifinal game to North Brunswick 1-0 in 12 innings.

Monroe – 16-11 a year ago – is in seventh, while Pingry comes in eighth. The Big Blue were 23-3 last season and had just one regular season loss, to Ridge. Their other two losses were in the county and state tournaments.

Immaculata – 14-13 a year ago – comes in ninth. A young ballclub went 14-13 last season, but lost some key offensive players and some big arms, like Aiden Rumain, Matt Warzeniak and Christian Martell.

And Bridgewater-Raritan, which has a veteran group returning from last year’s 15-13 team debuts in this year’s poll at No. 10.

Below is the complete Bellamy & Son Paving Preseason Top Ten:

Nine girls’ basketball teams advance, Bound Brook and South River notch upsets as Groups 2 and 4 begin NJSIAA Tournament play

The bigger schools in the CJSR coverage area had mostly good nights in their opening round NJSIAA State Tournament games, while nine teams advanced overall, and seven were eliminated.

East Brunswick, Edison, Hillsborough, Monroe, Old Bridge, South Brunswick, and Watchung Hills all advanced in Group 4 play in their respective sections. All those teams were higher seeds in their first-round games.

Among the smaller schools, there were two upsets in Central Jersey Group 2. The biggest – by seed – was 11th-seed Bound Brook winning at 6th-seed Spotswood, 52-40. And in an all-GMC matchup, 10–seed South River beat 6th-seed Metuchen on the road 45-44.

Below are opening round results of all games in sections with area teams remaining. Scroll further down for the upcoming schedule, including matchups resulting from today’s games.

Central Group 4:
#1 Hightstown def. #16 North Brunswick, 52-28
#8 Old Bridge def. #9 Marlboro, 62-54
#5 Jackson Memorial def. #12 Princeton, 71-37
#4 East Brunswick def. #13 West Windsor-Plainsboro North, 46-29
#3 Monroe def. #14 Northern Burlington, 69-33
#6 Howell def. #11 Middletown South, 51-34
#7 Long Branch def. #10 Trenton, 64-47
#2 South Brunswick def. #15 Freehold Twp., 63-31

Central Group 2:
#16 Delaware Valley def. #1 New Providence, 62-26
#8 Roselle def. #9 Delran, 48-45
#5 Voorhees def. #12 Hillside, 64-44
#4 Rumson-Fair Haven def. #13 Point Pleasant Boro, 54-26
#3 Holmdel def. #14 Monmouth, 60-35
#11 Bound Brook def. #6 Spotswood, 52-40
#10 South River def. #7 Metuchen, 45-44
#2 Manasquan def. #15 Wall, 66-38

North 2, Group 4:
#1 Bayonne def. #16 Newark East Side, 65-31
#8 Hillsborough def. #9 Woodbridge, 76-49
#5 Edison def. #12 Union, 65-46
#4 Westfield def. #13 Phillipsburg, 61-29
#3 Irvington def. #14 Linden, 52-35
#6 Watchung Hills def. #11 Franklin, 52-46
#7 Scotch Plains-Fanwood def. #10 Ridge, 58-50
#2 Elizabeth def. #15 Hunterdon Central, 46-40

North 2, Group 2:
#4 Dayton def. #13 Bernards, 54-46


Central Group 3 Quarterfinals
#8 Colts Neck at #1 Ewing
#5 Somerville at #4 Allentown
#11 Brick Memorial at #3 Red Bank Regional
#7 Robbinsville at #2 Ocean Twp.

Central Group 1 Quarterfinals
#8 South Hunterdon at #1 Shore
#13 Keyport at #5 Pt. Pleasant Beach
#6 Highland Park at #3 Dunellen
#7 New Egypt at #2 Middlesex

North 2 Group 3 Quarterfinals
#8 North Plainfield at #1 Randolph
#5 Colonia at #4 Fort Lee
#11 Mendham at #3 Millburn
#7 Warren Hills at #2 Chatham

Non-Public South A First Round

#9 Our Lady of Mercy at #8 Pingry
#12 Union Catholic at #5 St. Thomas Aquinas
#11 Immaculata at #6 Camden Catholic

Non-Public South B First Round
#14 Moorestown Prep at #3 Rutgers Prep
#11 Timothy Christian at #6 Trenton Catholic
#10 Calvary Christian at #7 Bishop Eustace


Non-Public North B Quarterfinals
#5 Gill St. Bernard’s at #4 Montclair-Immaculate
#7 Wardlaw-Hartridge at #2 Morris Catholic


Central Group 4 Quarterfinals
#8 Old Bridge at #1 Hightstown
#5 Jackson Memorial at #4 East Brunswick
#6 Howell at #3 Monroe
#7 Long Branch at #2 South Brunswick

Central Group 2 Quarterfinals
#8 Roselle at #1 New Providence
#5 Voorhees at #4 Rumson-Fair Haven
#11 Bound Brook at #3 Holmdel
#10 South River at #2 Manasquan

North 2, Group 4 Quarterfinals
#8 Hillsborough at #1 Bayonne
#5 Edison at #4 Westfield
#6 Watchung Hills at #3 Irvington
#7 Scotch Plains-Fanwood

GMC’s first girls’ semifinal is set, as Colonia and South Brunswick advance

The first two teams to advance into the GMC Tournament girls’ semifinals could not have won in more opposite fashions.

Colonia won in a defensive struggle – particularly in the second half – while South Brunswick won an offensive-minded overtime game. The Patriots and Vikings will face off in the 5 pm semifinal at Monroe High School on Tuesday, in the opener of a doubleheader that can be heard on Central Hersey Sports Radio, presented by Dayton Toyota Service and Dayton Collision in South Brunswick.

Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas will call all the play-by-play. Click here to listen on Tuesday night.

#3 Colonia 38, #6 South Brunswick 27: Defense ruled in the second half of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament quarterfinals at Middlesex County College in Edison, as the Patriots got a double-double from junior Taylor Derkack – 15 points and 16 rebounds – and a 14-point effort from Mattison Chiera to get into Tuesday’s semifinals. Colonia led 12-9 after one quarter, and 26-17 at the half, but only managed 12 points in the second half, while holding the Vikings to just ten. No South Brunswick player scored in double-figures in the game.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from head coach Sandi Chiera:

#2 South Brunswick 73, #7 East Brunswick 470 (OT): The Vikings got 19 points from junior Meher Vig, and Anisha Tahbildar contributed key buckets down the stretch, including a pair of threes, as South Brunswick swept three games from the Lady Bears this season, the closest of the three after a 20- and 31-point wins in the regular season division slate.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from head coach Jeff Johnson:

Sayreville adjusts, perseveres, aims to keep it going on visit to East Brunswick

Injuries could’ve derailed Sayreville’s hopes of a big year before the Bombers’ season opener was over.

Instead — one on-the-fly reinvention later — Sayreville enters the second half of its campaign as the No. 8 team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, and still in the position to achieve the team’s annual goal: making a run in the postseason.

Aiming to climb back above .500, the 8th-ranked Bombers (2-2) will visit the East Brunswick Bears (0-4) Friday night in the Big Central Game of the Week on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with kickoff from Jay Doyle Field scheduled for 7:00 pm, and pregame at 6:45.

Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will call all the action; click here to listen.

More than anything, Sayreville’s string of injuries has impacted the team’s Gun Wing T offense. Over the first four weeks of the season, the Bombers have dealt with injuries to their starting quarterback, one of their top running backs, and multiple starters on the offensive line.

The Week 1 injury to senior QB Mike Colonnello prompted an offensive reshuffling that moved WR Caidan Holmes under center. The play-calling has also become run-first, giving Holmes and junior RB Zaimer Wright the chance to spark the offense on the ground.

Despite the adversity, Holmes and Wright have shined, combining to average more than 200 all-purpose yards per game and score five of Sayreville’s six touchdowns on the season.

The Bombers’ defense has done its part to keep the offense in games, allowing just 12 points-per-game. It’s also held Edison and top-ranked Phillipsburg to their lowest scoring totals of the season.

Click below to listen to Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Dom Savino talk with Sayreville head coach Chris Beagan about the 2022 Bombers:

East Brunswick seeks first win when Sayreville visits Friday night

The long series between the teams hasn’t always been kind to East Brunswick.

The Bears have had their moments against Sayreville, like a great revenge win in 2019, avenging a regular season loss with an upset of the top-ranked Bombers in the semifinals of the Central Jersey Group 4 playoffs en route to East Brunswick’s second state title under longtime head coach Marcus Borden.

Now, one of his many proteges will try to get his team’s first win of the season against a Sayreville team jockeying for position in the middle of the North 4 playoff race.

The Bears (0-4) and 8th-ranked Bombers (2-2) will square off in East Brunswick Friday night in the Big Central Game of the Week on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with kickoff from Jay Doyle Field scheduled for 7:00, and pregame at 6:45 pm.

Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will call all the action; click here to listen.

East Brunswick has struggled to put points on the board this season, but has been in all but one of its four games. After dropping their opener on a Thursday night in Hillsborough, 42-6, they were within ten points in a loss at Monroe, 15 in a home loss to South Brunswick, and lost 17-7 last week at Old Bridge in the Battle of Route 18.

While last year’s group was a senior squad with experience (read: many two- and three-year starters), this year’s senior-laden group has less time under their belt, and that’s shown. Fourth-year head coach Andy Steinfeld is just focused on them getting better, and avoiding costly and untimely mistakes.

Running an option with some spread, the BEars are easily led offensively by Ben Solimini, a senior quarterback who’s more of a threat to run than pass. He’s the team’s leading rusher with 506 yards in four games – three over 100 – and has scored five touchdowns, the only rushing touchdowns the team has.

He’s only thrown for 123 yards and one touchdown this season, and his longest connection went for 17 yards.

Click below to listen to Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with East Brunswick head coach Andy Steinfeld about the 2022 Bears:

“The Big Central in 2 Minutes” – Week 4: Liners stake their claim, and who had the biggest upset?

On this week’s trip through “The Big Central in Two Minutes,” Mike Pavlichko weighs in on Phillipsburg’s claim to the No. 1 ranking in the league, who had the biggest upset wins of Week Four, and whether Somerville should be in a division with Group 5 schools/

Click below to listen to the Week Four edition of “The Big Central in Two Minutes”:

New faces, same results: Hillsborough wins opener led by Tasetano-Donoghue connection

Let’s make it perfectly clear: everyone who put up big numbers for Hillsborough’s undefeated, 13-0 state championship team in 2021 is gone.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at the scoreboard.

Just like last year’s team, which had played together since their days with the Junior Raiders, the 2022 version of Hillsborough High School football has some kids who’ve done the same. And Friday night, in their season opener at home, the Raiders found that connection as quarterback Ryan Tasetano found receiver Shane Donoghue for two long touchdowns, as the Raiders scored the first 35 points of the game in a 42-6 blowout of East Brunswick.

The win extends the Big Central Conference’s longest active winning streak to 14 games. That’s also the second longest active streak in the state, tied with Bergen Catholic, which has won 14 in a row, including a 12-0 state championship season last year, and a win in its final game of the 2020 COVID year. Only Caldwell – last year’s North Group 2 Regional Champion – has won more consecutive games: 15 and counting, with their season opener coming up tomorrow night at Morris Catholic.

It was the opening game for both teams, and next week, Hillsborough will play at arch-rival Bridgewater-Raritan Friday night, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Rick Mantz, who won a title as a player (1980) and head coach (2020) at Hillsborough is now the Panthers’ head coach, adding even more juice to one of the Big Central’s biggest rivalries.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko with postgame reaction from Hillsborough’s season-opening win over East Brunswick:

QB Ryan Tasetano (left) and TE Shane Donoghue talk with CJSR after their season-opening win. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)
QB Ryan Tasetano and TE Shane Donoghue
Head coach Kevin Carty Jr.