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)
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)
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.