Tag: GMC Tournament

VIDEO: Watch the final out as North Brunswick wins its first-ever GMC Tournament title

Sixth-seed North Brunswick – in its first appearance the county final in 12 years – won its first-ever GMC Tournament Championship with a 4-2 victory over top-seed and defending champion St. Joseph-Metuchen. Zack Konstantinovsky – who fanned ten in the game – struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win.

Watch the final out, with the final call from Mike Pavlichko, as heard live Sunday afternoon on Central Jersey Sports Radio:

INSTANT REPLAY-GMCT Finals (6) North Brunswick 4, (1) St. Joseph-Metuchen 2

The 6th-seeded North Brunswick Raiders got a complete game three-hitter from Zack Konstantinovsky, and a game-winnning two-RBI double from Kyla Tarabokia in the sixth, to beat top-seed and defending champion St. Joseph-Metuchen 4-2 in the GMC Tournament Championship game on May 29, 2022.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the play-by-play from Ray Cipperly Field at East Brunswick Tech in East Brunswick, NJ:

GMCT Postgame: North Brunswick’s Kyle Tarabokia, Zack Konstantinovsky and Mark Blevins on the Raiders’ first-ever GMC title

In the middle of the interview, there it came: the ice bath.

It’s a tradition in sports, but it seemed to have a little extra oomph on Sunday, Memorial Day weekend, after North Brunswick made history, winning its first-ever GMC Tournament championship, and knocking off a local baseball powerhouse in the process.

After allowing two runs in the bottom of the first to give away the 2-0 lead the Raiders got in the first, Zack Konstantinovsky pitched like the Zach Konstantinovsky every seemed to know and expect in this big game.

And the kid is just a junior.

Konstantinovsky – a Rutgers commit – allowed back-to-back doubles to lead off the game by St. Joseph’s Mark Gialluisi and Josiah Brown, who knocked in the first run. Robbie Carvelli drove in the second run on a grounder to short after Brown moved to third on a wild pitch.

But that was all the wild Zach would show the rest of the way. He allowed just one more hit – an infield hit that ricocheted off his glove in the third, and two more base runners beyond that – on a walk in the fourth and an E6 in the fifth. He struck out ten, retired the last eight batters to face him and struck out the side in the seventh to end it, knocking off the defending GMC Tournament Champions.

North Brunswick’s Zack Konstantinovsky (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick starting pitcher Zack Konstantinovsky:

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Not that he needed it, Konstantinovsky seemed to get a second wind when North Brunswick broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth with a pair of runs to take a 4-2 lead.

Omar Carreras led off with a walk, and Frankie Garbolino got hit by a pitch. After a sac bunt by Pat McCann moved the runners to second and third, Kyle Tarabokia drove a shot almost right down the first base line and into right field, ending up with a two-RBI double that turned out to be the difference in the game.

North Brunswick’s Kyle Tarabokia (Photo: Mike Pavlilchko)

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick right fielder Kyle Tarabokia:

For North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins, it only took five seasons at the helm to deliver a GMC Tournament title.

In his first year, the Raiders won just eight games, but improved to 18-10 in 2018 before taking a step back an going 9-17 in the last season before COVID019 wiped out 2020.

Last season, the Raiders went 17-10-1, making it to the GMC Tournament semifinals, where Konstantinovsky one-hit South Brunswick – that one hit being a home run by Justin Gallagher in the fifth – but lost 2-0, as the Radiers were eliminated.

And that made Sunday’s win extra sweet.

Blevins is now 72-63-1 all-time at North Brunswick.

North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins:

What’s next? The Raiders will enjoy this one, but as Belvins and others said after the game, they’re already thinking about rival South Brunswick, their opponent in the opening round of the Central Jersey Group 4 playoffs this Wednesday. The Raiders are the 5-seed and will take on 11-seed South Brunswick (12-2) at 4:00.

They’ll have to do so without Konstantinovsky, who will be unavailable after going the distance in the GMC final, while South Brunwick will have program and single-season strikeout leader Joey Tuttoilmondo available; he’ll likely get the start Wednesday.

Even “Greater” Brunswicks: The GMC Tournament win by North Brunswick means the three outlying Brunswick schools – North, plus East and South – have all won league championships, with namesake New Brunswick the only one not to do so. The Bears have won five titles, the most of the three, while South Brunswick has won two and North Brunswick one. East Brunswick’s last title came in 2016, while South Brunswick won it in 2010, beating the Radiers in what was their last finals appearance before this year.

A complete preview of the 2022 GMC Tournament Championship: St. Joseph-Metuchen vs. North Brunswick

Sunday at noon, St. Joseph of Metuchen will play North Brunswick for the 2022 GMC Tournament Championship in baseball.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will have complete coverage – presented by Dayton Toyota Service, Route 130 in South Brunswick – starting at 11:30 am with our pregame show; first pitch is scheduled for noon. Justin Sontupe will call all the action.

The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but postponed a day due to thunderstorms in the forecast for Saturday.

Click here to listen to the live broadcast!

Scroll through this story for the finals at-a-glance, interviews with the two head coaches, links to our coverage of both teams, how they got here, team records and finals history, and other notes and stats.

GMC FINALS AT-A-GLANCE

Teams:
(1) St. Joseph-Metuchen (21-6, 13-1, GMC Red Champions, #4 in NJ)
(6) North Brunswick (19-9, 10-6 GMC White, 3rd place)

Starting Pitchers:
St. Joseph: Andrew Goldan (5-1, 1.44 ERA)
North Brunswick: Zack Konstantinovsky (5-1, 0.66 ERA)

Date and Time: Sunday, May 29 – 12 noon
Location: Ray Cipperly Field at East Brunswick Tech HS
Listen On: Central Jersey Sports Radio (Click here to listen live!)
Announcers: Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe

Head Coach Interviews:

St. Joseph-Metuchen head coach Mike Murray
North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

St. Joseph:
First Round: def. (16) South River 5-0
Quarterfinals: def. (9) South Brunswick 14-4
Semifinals: def. (5) Woodbridge 10-1

North Brunswick:
First Round: def. (11) Colonia 7-0)
Quarterfinals: def. (3) Middlesex 14-13
Semifinals: def. (7) East Brunswick 1-0 (12 innings)

Coverage of St. Joseph:

Coverage of North Brunswick:

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MORE GMC & TOURNAMENT COVERAGE:

FINALS HISTORY:

This will be the second meeting between the Falcons and Raiders in the GMC finals. St. Joe’s won the first in 2009, 6-0.

The teams did not face each other in the regular season this year.

St. Joseph (7-1):

2004: St. Joseph 6, Carteret 0
2005: East Brunswick 8, St. Joseph 1
2006: St. Joseph 11, South Amboy 0
2008: St. Joseph 3, Old Bridge 2
2009: St. Joseph 6, North Brunswick 0
2014: St. Joseph 1, South Plainfield 0
2017: St. Joseph 1, Monroe 0
2021: St. Joseph 2, South Brunswick 0

North Brunswick (0-2):

2009: St. Joseph 6, North Brunswick 0
2010: South Brunswick 9, North Brunswick 2

NOTES AND NUGGETS:

The “Greater” Brunswicks: A team with “Brunswick” in its name has been to the last three GMC Tournament finals, and four of the last six. They’re all the surrounding Brunswicks, too. East Brunswick won the tournament in 2016, South Brunswick made it in 2019 and 2021, losing both, and North Brunswick is in it this year. But South and East Brunswick are the only teams ever to win it. The Vikings won in 2002 and 2010 – beating the Raiders in ’10 – while East Brunswick won the very first GMCT in 1986, then again in 1991, 1997, 2005 and 2016. New Brunswick has never made a GMC title game.

It’s Joe’s and Edison: The Falcons are making their ninth appearance in the GMC title game, tied with Edison for the most berths in the final in league history. East Brunswick is just behind them with seven, with South Plainfield has made it five times. North Brunswick is among five teams that have made the finals three times, joining JP Stevens, Bishop Ahr (now St. Thomas Aquinas, but all were under their former name), Piscataway and Old Bridge.

Will it be more Joe’s and Edison? The Eagles own the record for GMC Tournament wins with eight, but a victory Sunday by the Falcons would tie them with Edison. East Brunswick has five. No one else has more than two: South Brunswick and Old Bridge have each won a pair of titles.

Goose Eggs: In eight prior GMC Tournament finals appearances, St. Joseph has only allowed nine runs, but eight of them came in one game. That happened in their only loss – they’re 7-1 in the finals – an 8-1 defeat in 2005 at the hands of East Brunswick. In their seven wins, they have pitched six shutouts, including last year’s 2-0 win over South Brunswick. Old Bridge, in a 3-2 loss to the Falcons in the 2008 title game, is the only team to score against St. Joe’s in their finals wins. That also includes a 1-0 win for the Falcons over South Plainfield in 2014, which they won on a bases loaded walk-off walk.

Red Division Rules: A team from the top division in the GMC has won four of the last five finals. East Brunswick won it in 2016, while St. Joe’s won in 2017. South Plainfield out of the White took the 2018 title, but Old Bridge claimed the flag for the Red again in 2019, and last year, St. Joe’s won it all.

Higher Seeds Rule Lately: The last lower seeded team to win a GMC title was in 2018, when 14th-seed South Plainfield beat 12th-seed Perth Amboy 2-1 in a 12 inning title game.

St. Joseph, North Brunswick broadcasters talk Falcons-Raiders in GMCT Finals

Korbid Thompson has been at it for over a decade now, covering all manner of North Brunswick Township High School Sports for his King James Radio Network. He’s seen a lot of successes in that time period, and now will get the chance for the first time ever to call a GMC Tournament baseball championship game with his hometown Raiders in it.

Ben Chadwick is a junior as St. Joseph-Metuchen and has been doing play-by-play and commentary for St. Joe’s Student Media for two years now, including over a dozen baseball games in that span. He plans on pursuing that dream in college.

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

So, we decided to talk to them – the guys who know their respective teams best and are around them the most – for the inside scoop and all the details on the Falcons and Raiders.

Both have seen plenty of their baseball teams this season, and will see more Sunday afternoon when top-seed and defending champion St. Joseph takes on 6th-seed North Brunswick in the GMC Tournament final at Ray Cipperly Field at East Brunswick Tech.

The game was moved from Saturday, due to the threat of thunderstomrs that day.

First pitch is set for noon Sunday, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe hitting the air at 11:30 am for the pregame show; click here to listen.

The Falcons won the tournament last year, with Andrew Goldan pitching a complete game shutout in a 2-0 win over South Brunswick.

The Vikings are the team that ended North Brunswick’s run in the tournament last year, getting just one hit off Saturday’s starter, Zach Konstantinovsky. But it was a home run, and that was the difference in the game.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Ben and Korbid about St. Joe’s and North Brunswick:

Ben Chadwick, St. Joe’s Student Media
Korbid Thompson, King James Radio Network

GMC Tournament Finals moved to Sunday due to thunderstorm threat

Greater Middlesex Conference officials have done a lot of weather watching this week, hoping they would not have to move Saturday’s county championship game.

But that turned out not to be the case, as officials pulled the plug on Saturday’s 2 pm title game at Ray Cipperly Field at East Brunswick Tech between top-seed and defending champion St. Joseph Metuchen and 6th-seed North Brunswick.

Scattered thunderstorms are predicted throughout a good portion of the day on Saturday.

GMC President Mike Pede officially announced the move just before 1:30 Friday afternoon. The game will now be played at noon on Sunday, still at East Brunswick Tech.

The field at EB Tech is one of the most pristine natural grass surfaces in the state, maybe even the nation, at the high school level.

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To translate, they don’t want to see outside forces affect the game, or the game affect teams, in a negative fashion. The main goal is to not have to reschedule, as that can throw off future pitching matchups. But they also don’t want to see weather affect a game with so much on the line.

To the point, the GMC did the same thing last year, moving the tournament semifinals – scheduled for the Saturday before Memorial Day – to Memorial Day itself, with showers in the forecast for the entire weekend.

St. Joseph, which is 7-1 all-time in the finals, is seeking back-to-back titles for the first time since they were the last team to do it in 2008 and 2009.

North Brunswick is back in the final for the first time since 2009 and 2010. They are the last team to make the GMCT final in consecutive years (South Brunswick made it in 2019 and 2021, with a year off in between due to the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling the 2020 season) and are seeking their first title, having lost both of those back-to-back appearances.

The pitching matchup is expected to be a stellar one between St. Joe’s Rutgers-bound senior Andrew Goldan and North Brunswick’s Rutgers-bound junior Zack Konstantinovsky, who has struck out a whopping 101 batters on the year, while walking only one.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will provide live coverage of the game, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action, beginning with the pregame at 11:30 am. First pitch is at noon. Click here to listen live.

Keep checking our site for more stories throughout the day Friday and Saturday, culminating in a complete preview Saturday with notes, stats, tournament history and more.

Falcons have added maturity to hitting, pitching and fielding

There was no question St. Joseph of Metuchen could hit the ball last year, when – after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic – the Falcons were a two-seed and won the GMC Tournament. They had pitching, too. And they could play the field.

But one thing they feel like they have going for them this year is maturity.

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It’s been a common theme with a lot of spring sports. Any senior right now who might have otherwise had a three- or four-year varsity career has maybe gotten two and some change under their belt.

Today’s junior only had one year under his or her belt coming into this season.

Top-seed and defending champion St. Joe’s hopes that will be at least part of the difference Sunday when the Falcons take on 6th-seed North Brunswick, which is seeking its first-ever county title, in the GMC Tournament Championship game at Ray Cipperly Field in East Brunswick.

Friday afternoon, GMC officials moved the game from Saturday – with thunderstorms in the forecast – to Sunday. Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the play-by-play, with pregame beginning at 11:30 am and first pitch set for 12 noon. Click here to listen.

Click below for coverage from Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlickho, who stopped by St. Joe’s practice this week:

Catcher Mark Gialluisi
Centerfielder Robbie Carvelli

Future Rutgers stars Goldan and Konstantinovsky: the unflappable vs. the unhittable

Andrew Goldan is hard to rattle. As a sophomore, in his first varsity season at St. Joseph of Metuchen, he calmly, coolly, and collectedly, went the distance in the 2021 GMC Tournament championship game for the win.

In this year’s semifinals, with Donovan Zsak laboring through three innings, still getting a little twinge in that Tommy John-repaired elbow, Goldan – a full-time starter – jumped in as a reliever and kept Woodbridge off the board for the final four innings en route to a 9-1 win and a berth in this weekend’s finals.

Zack Konstantinovsky is hard to hit. The North Brunswick junior had an impressive sophomore campaign, striking out 70 and walking only ten. That’s a tough act to follow.

But follow it, he did. This year? Heading into Saturday’s GMCT finals, he’s racked up 101 strikeouts. And he’s walked only a single solitary batter.

Just one.

How impressive have both of them been? Well, both are going to play major Division I college baseball in the near future. And neither will be playing too far from the high school fields they currently call home.

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Goldan’s family just has to head a little further down Route 27, and Konstantinovsky’s just up Routes One and 18 to Piscataway, where both will soon call Bainton Field home, as they play for the Steve Owens’ Scarlet Knights.

Goldan will join them next year; Zack in a couple of years. They’ll be joined by JT Kroner of Colonia, another solid GMC arm.

And when they get there, they’ll find Chris Brito, a Perth Amboy alum who is RU’s full-time first baseman this season as a redshirt junior.

The two will square off this Sunday as the starting pitchers in the GMC Tournament Championship Game, which will be played at noon at Ray Cipperly Field at East Brunswick Tech. It was rescheduled from Saturday, due to thunderstorms in the forecast.

You can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio with pregame beginning at 11:30 am. Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the action; click here to listen.

Click below to hear Zack Konstantinovsky and Andrew Goldan talk about their decisions to go to Rutgers, their connection with the GMC, and Saturday’s matchup:

Brown says St. Joseph took 2021 to bond, and still won the GMC; this year it’s full steam ahead

When the Middlesex baseball team won the statewide Group 1 title in 2021, and the Hillsborough Raiders won football’s South Group 5 championship, going 13-0 last year, it was the culmination of years of hard work, often together.

Most of the Blue Jays had been played Little League together; some even met there. Most of the Raiders had grown up on the Pop Warner fields in town.

That’s not typically the case at a parochial school like St. Joseph-Metuchen, where students often come from several towns away in any direction, and might take more time to mesh.

Which made it all the more remarkable what the Falcons did last year, playing consistent team baseball as they learned about each other, considering there was no 2020 baseball season, and not everyone was in school. They went on to win the GMC Tournament championship.

This year, the Falcons – now the top-seed – are in the finals again, looking for back-to-back titles and their eighth overall, when they take on 6th-seed North Brunswick at 2 pm Saturday at East Brunswick Tech’s Ray Cipperly Field. You can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action; click here to listen.

CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko talked about the 2022 season, their 2021 bonding, and Saturday’s title tilt with junior shortstop Josiah Brown. Click below to listen:

Highly-respected Bennett talks umpiring, a shortage, and the need for more to join the profession

If there’s a county baseball tournament title game on the schedule, chances are Warren Bennett will be on the field in blue, and behind the plate, vocally belting out the ball and strike calls.

He’ll be there for the Somerset County Tournament championship game Monday night between Ridge and Rutgers Prep at TD Bank Park. And he’ll calling balls and strikes for the GMC Tournament Championship game between St. Joseph-Metuchen and North Brunswick this coming Saturday as well.

And even when he wasn’t supposed to be working, just taking in the GMC Tournament semifinals, he was out on the field explaining to both coaches why there was a long delay: the heat had gotten to one of the umpires, and an alternate had to go and get his gear on to work the plate.

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Bennett got involved as a baseball official when he was in high school, a way to make a few extra bucks. Now, his job is as vital as ever, for a variety of reasons. Fewer are going into the profession, and it’s created a shortage that’s at dangerous levels, sometimes forcing sub-varsity games to be postponed or cancelled due to a lack of officials.

Bennett is the president of the Mickey Sedlak Chapter of the New Jersey State Federation of Umpires, which includes baseball and softball officials mainly for Middlesex County. But, Bennett says the umpires in the group are so veteran and so well-respected, they’re often called upon to officiate games outside the area, even all the way up in Hudson County.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Warren Bennett talk about his experience as an umpire, the officials’ shortage, and how to get involved in being an umpire at the high school level or beyond: