Tag: GMC Baseball

“More than just a game,” Autism Awareness Challenge will feature 70 baseball and softball teams from across New Jersey this weekend

Just like last year, it’s the biggest it’s ever been.

The 2023 Autism Awareness Challenge returns this weekend to North Brunswick’s Community Park, where there will be a full slate of 20 baseball games and 15 softball games played over three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

That’s 35 games, 70 teams, just like last year.

Are we having fun yet?

The whole thing started in 2008 with just eight teams from the Greater Middlesex Conference, founded by Mike Garlatti, who heads up Baseball Warehouse in Highland Park. A scout for the Colorado Rockies, Garlatti also was a Rutgers assistant under Fred Hill on the 1990 team that missed a trip to the College World Series by just one game.

When it started in 2008, there were just eight Greater Middlesex Conference teams taking part.

Garlatti started the Teamwork Unlimited Foundation a couple of years after the initial event, which didn’t even have a fundraising component; it was simply dedicated to raising awareness about autism, after his son was diagnosed and found to be on the spectrum.

The Foundation now distributes money raised to autism support services and related groups. Scholarships are also handed out.

Garlatti spoke with Central Jersey Sports Radio about this weekend’s event. Click below to listen, and scroll down for a YouTube video recapping last year’s event.

Follow Team Work Unlimited Foundation on Twitter at @teamworkunlimit for schedule updates and more, including how to make a donation.

Colonia’s Pressley is red-hot heading into clash with unbeaten Trojans

Coming off a COVID-stoppage between Christmas and New Year’s – and already having their opener cancelled for non-COVID-related reasons, who knew what to expect from Colonia in the New Year, despite starting 2-0?

All they did was go 3-1 since resuming play January fourth, with senior guard Saivon Pressley scoring no fewer than 26 points in each game, with back-to-back 30-plus point games coming off the break, scoring 30 at North Brunswick, and 32 against Woodbridge.

He’s now averaging 26.2 points per game for the top-ranked Patriots – oh, and he joined the 1,000-point club Saturday in a loss to Lenape – making him the top scorer in the Greater Middlesex Conference.

Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talked with Pressley on the eve of his team’s big clash with No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas (9-0).

Click here to listen:

Monroe gets the top spot it deserved, intriguing rematches abound, and EB Tech gets snubbed: A GMC Tournament Preview

Who doesn’t love a tournament seeding meeting?

Let me rephrase that: Who doesn’t love a tournament seeding meeting when they don’t have a horse in the race?

I thought South Plainfield could have made a case for the top seed in the GMC Championship Tournament that starts tomorrow morning with eight games at various locations throughout the day.

Of the first four teams “on the board” – the four division champs, with Monroe winning the committee’s tiebreaker over St. Joe’s – the Tigers were the only team that had a “quality win.” A quality win is defined as a win against any of the other teams “on the board,” and South Plainfield could claim a 1-0 win over Middlesex, a perennial contender in the GMC and especially the state tournament when their opponents are schools of a more similar size.

Both teams were nominated, but after a discussion, Monroe was a unanimous top seed. And you can’t say they deserved it. But to be honest, they and the other Falcons – St. Joe’s – might be 1a and 1b in the GMC this year.

The teams split in the regular season, with St. Joe’s winning a 2-0 road game last Saturday, but Monroe returned the favor on Metuchen Monday with a 12-9 win.

Reliever C.J. Wisniewski struck out six batters in the final three innings of Monday’s win at St. Joe’s.

Look, runs-wise it was fairly even: Monroe outscored STJ 12-11 in the series. Sure, Monroe won the more “recent” matchup, but it was only a few days later. The Metuchen Falcons were error prone, committing five errors in the game – though one observer behind the plate who was visiting from North Jersey seemed to count eight in one inning. (I should also add the condition of the field didn’t help the home team any, but hey, both teams had to play on it.)

Both have arms, both can hit the ball, and both could have played a neater game than they did Monday. But Monroe got what it deserved in the Number One seed.

East Brunswick Tech got the shaft

I thought the committee did a horrible job putting East Brunswick Tech as the third seed in the GMC Invitational.

For the uninitiated, with a wide range of quality teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference, it holds a secondary tournament (think NIT) to allow the teams that would normally be in the high-teens to 30-seed range to win a championship, playing more competitive games than if, for example, a Highland Park (winless in the Blue Division this year) were to face Monroe in the opening round.

Scott Pede got the win in relief of Joye Moye in EB Tech’s 12-5 win over Timothy Christian on May 12, 2021 in East Brunswick.

You can say what you want about the Gold Division (I thoroughly enjoyed the EB Tech-Timothy Christian game we broadcast a couple of weeks ago) but any team that goes undefeated in its division as East Brunswick Tech did (12-0) deserves some recognition.

You can only win the games you’re given. EB Tech isn’t in the Red Division. But they got put behind 2-13 Piscataway and 6-8 Sayreville.

The Bombers I could take.

Maybe the committee decided to look at it overall, counting Sayreville as the 17th seed, Piscataway the 18th and EB Tech 19th. But that’s not a good way to look at it. The 17 seed is the No. 1 seed in the “other” tournament. Reward the best of the rest with the best spot.

I don’t care if you want to try and sell me that the Chiefs could beat East Brunswick Tech. I haven’t seen Piscataway. I’m not here to debate that. That’s not what seeding is about.

But to sit here and tell me that Piscataway deserves a bye as the second seed in the Invitational over a 13-1 East Brunswick Tech team whose only loss was to Middlesex – the fourth overall seed in the main dance – you’ve got to be joking.

A team that’s unbeaten in its division deserves at least one of the top two spots in the invitational. Do you know what it takes to go undefeated in any sport, against any schedule, at any level? I know: talent, focus, and hard work.

One bad pitch could have made EB Tech 11-1 in the division.

But it didn’t.

I’m an independent journalist, I don’t root for teams. I do like good stories. So…

I hope East Brunswick Tech runs away with the whole damned thing.

Rant over.

Rematch, rematch, everywhere a rematch

Of the eight opening round games in the GMC Championship Tournament, half are rematches from earlier in the season.

Two of them were played just this week.

In a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio Wednesday, Spotswood beat East Brunswick at home 6-5 in extra innings on a walkoff two-RBI double by Tyler Lewandowski, who, ironically, allowed the Bears to break a 4-4 tie in the top of the inning when his wild pitch brought in the man on third.

RECAP & REACTION: “Walk ’em off Spotswood!” Lewandowski’s double off the wall lets Chargers keep Commander’s Cup Trophy another year

In a quirk of how the seeding works, East Brunswick is the 7th seed, while Spotswood is 10th, so now they will play at the North end of Summerhill Road. Yes, the Bears are in the Red Division, and even beat the top two seeds in the tourney – Monroe and St. Joe’s – but they are 9-9, 8-6 in their division. The Chargers are 15-5, 11-3 in their division.

Spotswood’s Tyler Lewandowski deals Wednesday against East Brunswick.

East Brunswick’s division losses included one each to Monroe, St. Joe’s, South Brunswick, and Old Bridge, and twice to JP Stevens, the only team below them in the Red. Spotswood dropped a pair to Blue Division Champ Middlesex, and one to Metuchen.

The other teams what will square off again within days of each other are Metuchen and North Brunswick in the 8/9 game. This one will stay in Metuchen, though, as the Bulldogs are the higher seed.

Metuchen won a 4-1 ballgame Wednesday afternoon, as the Bulldogs scored three late runs – two in the fourth and one in the sixth – to come out with the win.

But Korbid Thompson, who covers North Brunswick sports for the King James Radio Network (follow him here on Twitter) says Metuchen could have its hands full with Zach Konstantinovsky set to take the mound.

“Metuchen had better be ready to swing the bats,” says Thompson, “because Konstantinovsky has not walked a batter in his last 19 innings pitched.”

Korbid notes the Bulldogs have won five straight, and both their crossover games this year. One was over North Brunswick, the other was EB Tech’s only non-divisional GMC loss this year.

“I’m expecting Matt Rowe to get the start for the Bulldogs. If this game comes down to extras, North Brunswick is 3-0 in games after seven innings this year.”`

JP Stevens and Edison will play on Boulevard of the Eagles Saturday. Though not in the same division, they did play a crossover back on May 8th, which Edison won 4-2 behind a strong 6 2/3 innings by Sal DellaFave, who allowed two hits and two unearned runs, to go along with nine strikeouts.

And St. Joe’s and Old Bridge will play a third game this year, with the Falcons looking to sweep the Knights. They beat Old Bridge on the road 4-1 on May 3rd, and again the next day in Metuchen 6-3.

RECAP & REACTION: Goldan no-hits Old Bridge through five en route to St. Joe’s win

The opening game was a stellar outing for Andrew Goldan from tendinitis issues, and he was pulled from the game after five innings on a strict pitch count, despite no-hitting the Knights to that point.

GMC Championship Tournament Schedule

(9) North Brunswick at (8) Metuchen, 10:30 am
(10) Spotswood at (7) East Brunswick, 11 am
(12) Woodbridge at (5) South Brunswick, 11 am
(13) Colonia at (4) Middlesex, 11 am
(14) Perth Amboy at (3) South Plainfield, 11 am
(15) Old Bridge at (2) St. Joseph, 11 am
(11) JP Stevens at (6) Edison, 12 noon
(16) JFK at (1) Monroe, noon

Tuesday, May 25 at North Brunswick Community Park
The games involving the two highest remaining seeds will be played at 7 pm.
The other games will be held at 4 pm.

Saturday, May 29 at East Brunswick Tech
Noon and 2:30 pm

Sunday, June 6 at East Brunswick Tech

Monroe takes #1 seed in GMC Tournament

Powered by a 12-9 road win Monday at St. Joe’s of Metuchen, Monroe was awarded the top seed in the upcoming GMC Baseball Tournament by the six-member seeding commitee.

The Falcons will open play Saturday in the first round against the No. 16 seed.

Central Jersey Sports Radio’s live coverage of the tournament will begin in the quarterfinals next Tuesday, with matchups and times to be determined.

After the Monroe Falcons – which shared the Red Divsion title, the top four seeds went to Red-co-champ St. Joseph at No. 2, then White winner South Plainfield and Blue Champion Middlesex.

South Plainfield was one of the two teams nominated by the committee for the top overall seed, but the decision to make Monroe the top pick was unanimous.

Overall, of the first five teams picked, three came from the GMC Red, with one each from the Blue and White.

Monroe and St. Joe’s split this season, with the team from Metuchen winning 2-0 this past Saturday. But Monroe picked up the win on the road Monday 12-9, a factor that weighed in the committee’s decision when breaking the tie, to determine who would go on the board first from the GMC Red.

The fifth seed went to South Brunswick, followed by Edison 6th and East Brunswick 7th, with Metuchen rounding out the top eight seeds.

All games at 11 am on Saturday, May 22 unless changed by the home school or noted below.

(9) North Brunswick at (8) Metuchen
(10) Spotswood at (7) East Brunswick
(11) JP Stevens at (6) Edison (noon)
(12) Woodbridge at (5) South Brunswick
(13) Colonia at (4) Middlesex
(14) Perth Amboy at (3) South Plainfield
(15) Old Bridge at (2) St. Joseph
(16) JFK at (1) Monroe

All games at 4 pm on Friday, May 21.

(1) Sayreville and (2) Piscataway have byes
(14) Piscataway Tech at (3) East Brunswick Tech
(13) Wardlaw-Hartridge at (4) St. Thomas Aquinas
(12) Highland Park at (5) Carteret
(11) Timothy Christian at (6) Somerset Tech
(10) Dunellen at (7) South River, winner at (2) Piscataway
(9) Perth Amboy Tech at (8) South Amboy, winner at (1) Sayreville

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.

Instant replay: Spotswood walks off East Brunswick 6-5 in extra innings to retain Commander’s Cup Trophy

The Bill Thompson Memorial Commander’s Cup Trophy only had to make a short journey to its home for the next year after Wednesday’s 16th annual meeting between Spotswood and East Brunswick.

Tyler Lewandowski’s two-RBI double off the left field wall in the bottom of the 8th made up for his wild pitch in the top of the inning that gave East Brunswick a one-run lead, and it gave Spotswood a 6-5 walkoff win over the Bears.

POSTGAME REACTION: Listen to hero Tyler Lewandowski and head coach Glenn Fredricks talk about the win.

The win was the fourth straight for the Chargers in the series, who last lost in 2016. They’ve taken five of the last six against East Brunswick, and won both home games in the series. The Chargers also lead 3-1-1 in extra inning games, though the Bears lead the overall series 8-7-1.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino call all the action of Wednesday’s 16th annual Commander’s Cup Trophy game:

“Walk ’em off Spotswood!” Lewandowski’s double off the wall lets Chargers keep Commander’s Cup Trophy another year

Spotswood only led once in Commanders’ Cup XVI against East Brunswick: when it counted.

The Chargers had twice tied the score after trailing 2-0 and 4-2 against the Bears at “The Swamp” Wednesday afternoon, before coming back to win 6-5 in extra innings, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The teams went to extra innings tied at 4. East Brunswick went ahead 5-4 in the top of the eighth when Dustin McGinnis scored from third after a wild pitch by Spotswood reliever Tyler Lewandowski with the bases loaded.

But they say baseball is a game of redeeming features, and Lewandowski showed that old adage still holds water.

Wednesday’s game was sponsored in part by Fredricks’ ACBL Team, New Brunswick Matrix. Click for details on the team!

In the bottom of the 8th, after left fielder Nicholas Vitale grounded to short and third baseman Ethan Williams popped up to first, DH Justin Prasch walked, and right fielder Matt Frobosilo did the same.

With two on and two out, Lewandowski – 0-for-4 on the day, and whose wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to score for EB – drove a ball deep into the power alley in left center. East Brunswick left fielder Zack Zebro and center fielder Dylan Lugo converged on the track, and the ball went off the chainlink outfield fence, falling to the warning track.

Spotswood’s Tyler Lewandowski deals Wednesday against East Brunswick.

Jackson Walsh – the starting pitcher, pinch running for Prasch – came home on the deep fly ball to tie the game, and Frobosilo followed him home, giving Spotswood a 6-5 walkoff victory.

Click below to listen to Dom Savino with the game-winning call:

The win keeps the Bill Thompson Memorial Commander’s Cup Trophy with Spotswood for another year. They’ve had it since a May 31, 2017 victory against East Brunswick, the latest one being their fourth straight in the series, which the Bears now lead 8-7-1.

The Chargers have also won five of the last six meetings dating back to 2015, which was the first and only other time the series had been played at SHS. They are now 2-0 all-time in the series at “The Swamp.”

Click below to hear Dom Savino with postgame reaction from Tyler Lewandowski and Spotswood head coach Glenn Fredricks:

Spotswood pitcher/2B Tyler Lewandowski, whose walk-off double won the game
Spotswood head coach Glenn Fredricks

The history of the Commander’s Cup:

Spotswood and East Brunswick will play their annual Commander’s Cup game on Wednesday, a matchup that was born out of Post 25 American Legion baseball.

You can hear the game live on Central Jersey Sports Radio with pregame at 3:45 and first pitch at 4 pm, as Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino call all the action. Click here to listen.

Chargers’ coach Glenn Fredricks, a Spotswood alum who’s now in his 17th year as the program’s head coach, took over the Milltown Post 25 baseball team in 2004, and says the game came about because of adjutant Bill Thompson’s love for baseball.

The team, of course, featured kids from both high schools and all three towns, since high school students in Milltown attend Spotswood.

The next year, when Fredricks first led Spotswood, he decided the high school teams should play each other every year, with the winner keeping Thompson’s trophy.

Click below to hear Fredricks talk about the origins of the Commander’s Cup:

All-Time Commander’s Cup Trophy Results
East Brunswick leads 8-7-1

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 – Spotswood 5, East Brunswick 5 (8 inn.) (at Trenton)
5/9/05 – East Brunswick 5, Spotswood 4 (at EB)

Bears look to bring Commander’s Cup back to East Brunswick

The Commander’s Cup trophy – awarded annually to the winner of each year’s Spotswood-East Brunswick baseball tussle – has been with the Chargers for over four years.

They took it back with them after a 6-0 road win on the last day of May in 2017, and it hasn’t been up Summerhill Road since.

Wednesday afternoon, the Bears hope to change all that.

Sponsor: New Brunswick Matrix Baseball

That’s when East Brunswick – which is 8-8 overall and 8-6 in the GMC Red through Monday’s win against Piscataway – will travel to take on Spotswood at the place the Chargers affectionately call “The Swamp.”

(The descriptor is quite apropos.)

First pitch is set for 4 pm, and you can hear the entire game on Central Jersey Sports Radio with Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino calling all the action, starting with the pregame show at 3:45. Click here to listen to the live broadcast.

The Bears will throw Mike Marchesi to start the game, and head coach Chris Kenney hopes to get two to three solid innings from him before going to senior Chris Procaccini.

East Brunswick will be playing its third game in as many days, its third such stretch this season, with all coming since the calendar turned to May.

Click below to hear head coach Chris Kenney talk with Mike Pavlichko about the Bears’ season so far, and the matchup with the Chargers.

Spotswood, in the mold of its head coach, renews rivalry with East Brunswick in Commander’s Cup game at “The Swamp”

For anyone who knows Glenny Fredricks, the longtime Spotswood baseball coach, he epitomizes the tiny boro where he grew up.

Small, scrappy, gritty. Underdog mentality.

That’ll be the mindset of his Chargers, too, when they host East Brunswick Wednesday in Commander’s Cup XVI, for the Bill Thompson Memorial Trophy. It’s tied in with American Legion Post 25 in East Brunswick, where the late Thompson – a big baseball fan – was once their baseball adjutant for the post’s team.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will provide play-by-play of the game, beginning with a pregame show at 3:45, with first pitch at 4 pm. Click here to listen to the live broadcast.

Wednesday’s game is sponsored by Fredricks’ ACBL Team, New Brunswick Matrix.

Spotswood (13-5) had reeled off six straight wins before running into Middlesex, which won the Blue Division outright with a sweep of the Chargers this weekend, 10-0 Saturday at “The Swamp,” and 5-2 at home Monday afternoon.

East Brunswick (8-8) will be playing its third game in as many days as the Bears come off a win over Piscataway Monday, and host Westfield Tuesday afternoon.

Spotswood will throw junior Jackson Walsh (1-1, 3.41 ERA) against the Bears, and will look to get on base, then wreak havoc from there.

Click below to listen to Spotswood head coach Glenny Fredericks talk about the Chargers’ season so far, and their matchup Wednesday with East Brunswick: