Tag: Monroe

Ridge is No. 1, the 2022 Team of the Year, in final Bellamy & Son Top Ten Rankings

Winning its first Somerset County Tournament Championship in over a decade helped propel the Ridge Red Devils to No. 1 in the inaugural Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten rankings on Central Jersey Sports Radio, and in the end, that’s where they finish – No. 1 in 2022 and the CJSR Team of the Year.

With more wins than all but one team in the CJSR coverage area, Ridge narrowly missed out on making the North 2, Group 4 title game, with a close, extra-inning loss to Woodbridge. Ridge finished the season 24-4, their most wins since picking up 22 in 2014.

Finishing second was North Brunswick. The Raiders knocked off then-No. 1 and top-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen in the GMC Tournament Final, winning their first title ever, and finished the year 22-10, with a loss to East Brunswick in the Central Jersey Group Four Finals. They were the lowest seed to win the GMC title since 14th-seed South Plainfield won it all in 2018, and second-lowest since JFK won in 2013.

North Brunswick with its 2022 GMC Tournament Championship trophy. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

The full rankings follow, with more details on the rest of the teams below:

In third is St. Joseph, 22-9, and the GMC Red Division Champions. Dominant all year long against the rest of the league, they ran up against the juggernaut that is Zach Konstantinovsky in the GMC Tournament finals. Zack “K” held the Falcons to two runs on three hits, in a 4-2 win. With some arm trouble to top starters Donovan Zsak and Andrew Goldan down the stretch, Joe’s was eliminated in the semifinals of Non-Public South A by Christian Brothers Academy.

Fourth is Woodbridge, which set a program record for wins, finishing 25-7, and might be the best team in the area without a title on its resume. The gritty, never-say-die bunch finished second in the White Division to Middlesex, and were knocked out in the GMCT semifinals by St. Joe’s. They did, however, beat Ridge in a marathon 11-inning North 2, Group 4 playoff game, before losing 5-1 at Hunterdon Central to future MLB draft prospect Kyle McCoy. The Barrons graduate a handful of seniors and are expected to be another tough out next season.

Fifth is East Brunswick, which made it to the Central Jersey Group 4 title game, losing to eventual statewide group 4 winner Howell. The Bears had a deep pitching staff, and lost one of the more epic GMCT semifinals ever played, a 1-0, 12-inning affair against North Brunswick. They finished 17-13.

In sixth is Immaculata. The Spartans may have been only 14-13, but play in the tough Skyland Conference Delaware Division, which – top to bottom – may be the best in the CJSR coverage area, rivaling the GMC Red. Though the Spartans didn’t even make it to the Somerset County Finals, they did something no other Somerset County team did this year: make it to Bob DeMeo Field in Hamilton for the Group Finals. And they did it by knocking off top-seed Rutgers Prep in the Non-Public North B finals, 11-2, then rallying from a 7-0 deficit entering the bottom of the 6th to beat Gill St. Bernard’s for the sectional crown. Immaculata would, fall, however, to Ranney in the Non-Public Group B finals.

Seventh is Rutgers Prep, which finished 19-6, Valley Division Champions in the Skyland Conference, and made the finals of the Somerset County Tournament, falling to Ridge. Powered by – among others – a pair of freshmen in pitcher Zach Fronio and catcher Andrew Parisi, the Argonauts will continue to be contenders.

Middlesex comes in eighth, the GMC White Division champion at 23-6. The Blue Jays won two critical games against Woodbridge just before the county tournament seeding meeting to win the title in their first year up from the Blue, a significant feat. But in the tournament, they suffered a late collapse against North Brunswick in the quarterfinals, and were the victim of a controversial call on a play at the plate that killed their rally. And after beating Point Pleasant Beach in the Central Jersey Group 1 finals for each of the past three seasons, this time, the Garnet Gulls came through. Middlesex will be in reload mode next year, with a number of seniors graduating.

Checking in ninth is Pingry, which finished 23-2 and had a tremendous year in and out of its division, and won the Prep A Tournament Championship, defeating Hun. They were also Skyland Conference Mountain Division champs, with their two regular season losses coming to Delaware Division squads – Ridge and Somerville. Their only other defeat came in the state tournament, to St. John Vianney our of the Shore Conference.

In tenth is Monroe, which finished 16-11, and came in second in the GMC Red Division, behind St. Joe’s. They started hot, going 7-1 before dropping four-in-a-row mid-season, including two to St. Joseph, sandwiched in between losses to Somerville and Jackson Liberty. They then ran off another seven wins in eight games before getting knocked out of the GMC Tournament in the quarters by East Brunswick. Their season ended in the Central Jersey Group 4 semis with a loss to eventual state Group 4 champ Howell.

There’s a new team atop the Bellamy & Son Top Ten: Ridge overtakes St. Joe’s after Falcons’ upset in GMCT Finals

North Brunswick’s upset of St. Joseph-Metuchen wasn’t enough to make the Raiders No. 1 in the Week 9 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, but it was enough to knock the Falcons from their season-long perch atop the rankings.

St. Joe’s was replaced by Somerset County Tournament champion Ridge, which beat Rutgers Prep 6-0 in the SCT final a week ago Monday. The Raiders – who shocked the Falcons with a 4-2 win Sunday in the GMC title tilt – moved up from fourth to second, while Joe’s dropped to third in the latest rankings.

Below are the Full Week 9 rankings:

St. Joseph, Ridge, Rutgers Prep continue to lead Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, while North and East Brunswick debut

The top three teams remain the same in the Week 8 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, but two new teams made the the Top Ten this week.

North Brunswick debuted and jumped all the way to fourth, on the strength of a big run as the 6th-seed in the GMC Tournament. They’re in Saturday’s title game after outlasting East Brunswick – the 7th-seed, which ousted 5-seed Old Bridge – by a 1-0 score in 12 innings Saturday in the semifinals.

Pingry dropped a spot this week after the addition of the Raiders and Bears, with No. 9 Old Bridge dropping out, along with South River, which had a 0-4 week. But the Big Blue are the first tournament champion in the area, after they won the Prep A Tournament Sunday with a 5-3 victory over Hun.

Below are the full Week 8 rankings:

Three upsets, top seed advances, and a controversial call: all in a night at the GMCT quarterfinal

Top-seed St. Joseph of Metuchen was the only higher seed to advance to the GMC Tournament semifinals, as Woodbridge, North Brunswick and East Brunswick all knocked off higher seeded teams Wednesday in the quarterfinals at North Brunswick Community Park.

It sets up a Saturday semifinal doubleheader featuring 7-seed East Brunswick and 6-seed North Brunswick in the opener at noon, and top-seed St. Joe’s against 5th-seed Woodbridge in the second game.

Both games can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio from Ray Cipperly Field at East Brunswick Tech, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action, with pregame for Game One beginning approximately 11:45 am. Click here to listen to both games live, and for free, thanks to presenting sponsor Dayton Toyota Service on Route 130 in South Brunswick.

The first team to advance Wednesday afternoon was the Barrons, over on Field Two, as they knocked off fourth-seed Old Bridge (14-11) by a 3-1 score behind another solid starting effort from Eddie Nunez.

Known as a strikeout pitcher, that wasn’t his M.O. in the game, but after giving up a run in the second, Woodbridge plated two in the third on back-to-back singles by Josh Vazquez and Ty Kobylakiewicz, the latter of which turned out to be the difference. Kobylakiewicz added an RBI double in the 5th to make it 3-1 Barrons.

Nunez went the distance, striking out four and scattering five hits in seven solid innings for Woodbridge (18-4).

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Woodbridge head coach Mike Monaco:

The Barrons will play St. Joe’s of Metuchen, the defending GMC Tournament Champions. In one of the two nightcaps, the top-seeded Falcons cruised past 9th-seed South Brunswick 14-4 by the ten-run rule in six innings. And it was one of the most undramatic walk-offs you’ll ever see: a grand-slam by Mark Gialluisi.

St. Joe’s (19-6) scored early and often, and built a 9-1 lead going into the top of the sixth. But South Brunswick (10-11) scored three times to make it 9-4. St. Joe’s got a run in the bottom of the inning before loading the bases for Mark Gialluisi, who hit a walk-off grand slam to end it. He finished with five runs batted in.

Falcons starter Andrew Goldan only pitched four-and-a-third innings, allowing a run on two hits, striking out seven to get the win. With a comfortable lead, head coach Mike Murray pulled him, with the intent of keeping his pitch count down – he only threw 66 pitches – to save him for a potential closer role Saturday.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from St. Joseph head coach Mike Murray:

The other opening game saw 6th-seed North Brunswick rally to beat 3rd-seed Middlesex, 14-13. It was a see-saw game that saw a pair of seventh-inning rallies, and ended with a controversial play at the plate.

Both teams were hitting the cover off the ball, with Middlesex holding a 2-1 lead after one inning. North Brunswick tied it at two in the third, but the Jays grabbed a run to make it 3-2. The Raiders got three in the fourth to make it 5-3, but Middlesex tied it up at 5-5 in the bottom of the inning. North Brunswick went ahead 7-5 in the top of the fifth, but the Blue Jays got three in their at bat to make it 8-7, then added two more in the sixth to make it 10-7.

And that’s where it got interesting, if not downright unfathomable.

North Brunswick exploded for seven runs in the top of the seventh – including a two-run homer by Frandy Martinez – to take a 14-10 lead.

And they almost gave it all back.

Middlesex got two on for AJ West, who cranked a three-run homer to pull the Blue Jays within one.

Middlesex senior AJ West cranks a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh of the GMC Tournament Quarterfinals at North Brunswick Community Park on May 18, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Ty Nicolay then got aboard, stole second, and made it to third on a fly ball to right, bringing up Bobby Ulmer, the walk-off grand-slam hero of last year’s Group 1 semifinal game.

Down 0-2 in the count after fouling off a tough pitch for strike two, the next pitch sailed over the catcher’s head. Nicolay broke from the third, and the play at the plate was close one, the throw low to the ground to the pitcher covering, and it appeared to beat him to the plate.

The home plate umpire called Nicolay out on the tag, ending the game and sending North Brunswick (16-8) to the semifinals, knocking out the Blue Jays (18-5).

Middlesex – including Nicolay and Ulmer – pleaded that the ball was loose on the ground and that the tag was never applied, but to no avail. Fan photos of the play show the ball out of the pitcher’s glove and on the ground, but after Nicolay had passed the plate.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins, and senior Frandy Martinez, via his cousin Gabriel Perez:

North Brunswick senior Frandy Martinez (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

And so the Raiders are on to face 7th-seed East Brunswick, which avenged a pair of regular season losses to Monroe with a 4-2 win over the second-seeded Falcons in the other nightcap.

Monroe (14-7) got to Bears starter Dustin McGuinness in the bottom of the first for a pair of runs, but East Brunswick (12-10) got them right back in the top of the second on an RBI double by Romeo Diaz and and RBI single by Christian Bermudez.

They then took a 3-2 lead in the third on a throwing error on a ball hit to the left side of the infield by Jack Gerould, and added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI double to the right field wall by Ryan Basham. They could have had more, but they left the bases loaded, with Gerould grounding into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

But it didn’t matter the way McGuinness settled down after spotting Monroe a pair of runs. He only allowed one more hit the entire way, a tough ball hit by Ryan Syvertson to short that Michael Marchese threw in the dirt, but it wouldn’t have gotten the speedy Syvertson anyway.

After a walk to the next batter, McGuiness didn’t allow another baserunner the rest of the way, retiring eleven straight, closing the game with a three-hit, 10-strikeout performance to get the win.

Click below for postgame reaction from East Brunswick’s quarterfinal win:

East Brunswick starting pitcher Dustin McGuinness
East Brunswick head coach Chris Kenney

Blue Jays make big jump, Old Bridge debuts, St. Joe’s stays atop new Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten

With two wins over Woodbridge to break a first-place tie and claim the GMC White Division title, earning the third-seed in the GMC Tournament, Middlesex made a big lead from 8th to 5th in the Week 7 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten rankings.

St. Joseph and Ridge remained Nos. 1 and 2, while Rutgers Prep – which claimed a berth in the Somerset County Tournament finals next Monday with a semifinal win last week – rose from fifth to third. Monroe climbed two spots to third after gaining the second-seed in the GMC Tournament.

Woodbridge fell to sixth, while Somerville dropped out. And Old Bridge made its first appearance in the Bellamy rankings this season, finishing 3rd in the tough GMC Red, and earning the fourth seed in the county tournament.

Below are the full Week 7 rankings:

St. Joe’s is the favorite, but here’s how all 16 teams can win the GMC Tournament

No team worth its weight in stirrups and rawhide enters the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament bemoaning its seed and wishing they were someone else.

If you’re picked as one of the top 16 teams in the league and make the “big dance,” there’s reason to think you have a shot, or else why get up in the morning?

The way the tournament is laid out, with enough time for every team’s No. 1 starter to pitch three games – that is, if Mother Nature cooperates on Monday – just about everyone has a shot, since there are so many good No. 1s in the county.

So why should 16th-seed South River have hope like top-seed St. Joe’s or third-seed Middlesex has hope that they can win it all?

Click below to listen to Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko break down all 16 teams:

Solid week for the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, with little movement in the Week 6 rankings

Only two teams moved in the Week 6 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, after the entire slate of ranked teams combined to go 20-3 in the week gone by, with nobody losing more than once.

Woodbridge and Somerville flip-flopped, as the Barrons moved up to third on the strength of a 2-0 week, while Somerville dropped to fourth after going 1-1.

The rankings – though released Monday night – were compiled before Monday’s Somerset County Tournament doubleheader.

Below are the full Week 6 rankings:

Tourney wins and regular season streaks juggle bottom of Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, while St. Joe’s and Ridge remain at the top

Despite a pair of losses to North Jersey schools, St. Joseph of Metuchen remains at No. 1 – where it’s been all season long – in the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten rankings, followed closely behind by Ridge at No. 2.

At this point, the Falcons are widely expected to garner the top seed in the GMC Tournament, when the committee meets next Friday, May 13. St. Joe’s is the defending tournament champion.

The Red Devils already are the top seed in the Somerset County Tournament, and they won their opening game in the quarterfinals Saturday 13-3 against Gill St. Bernards, and will face 4th-seed Bridgewater-Raritan in the last of two semifinal games at TD Bank Park on Monday, May 9.

The top four spots all remained the same, with Somerville holding in third and Woodbridge in fourth. Rutgers Prep inched up to fifth, while Monroe flip-flopped with the Argonauts and fell to sixth.

Bridgewater-Raritan – one of the four remaining teams in the SCT – returned to the top ten after a week’s hiatus. The Panthers dropped out last week at 4-6 but rebounded with a very strong week, going 4-1 with regular season wins over Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Watchung Hills and Mongtomery, and their SCT win over 5th-seed Watchung Hills. Their only loss of the week came in Delaware Division play against Hunterdon Central.

Middlesex held in eighth, Pingry – on a 2-2 week – moved to ninth – and South River made its debut, at 11-2, the current leader in the GMC Blue Division. The Rams are one of just four GMC teams to begin the week with ten-plus wins – Woodbridge, Middlesex and Joe’s being the others – while having won seven straight games.

Below is the full Bellamy & Son Paving Week 5 Top Ten:

Falcons, Red Devils keep rolling along, while only undefeated area team makes its debut

While St. Joseph of Metuchen and Ridge remain No. 1 and No. 2 in the Week 4 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten baseball rankings, the only undefeated team remaining in Middlesex or Somerset Counties has made its first appearance of the season.

They’ve done it quietly, with stellar pitching, up in Martinsville, as Pingry (7-0) makes its debut this week.

The Big Blue have only allowed a single run all season, in a 14-1 Opening Day win at Bound Brook. That’s a streak of 37 straight shutout innings, with the lone score coming in the fourth of a five-inning mercy rule win against the Crusaders. Pingry has blanked opponents in 40 of 41 innings pitched.

They visit Belvidere tomorrow and host Delaware Valley Thursday before facing No. 2 Ridge (9-1) Friday, in a game just added to the Central Jersey Sports Radio broadcast schedule. First pitch is set for 4 pm. Mike Pavlichko calls all the action with pregame at 3:45; click here to listen.

Below is the full Bellamy & Son Paving Week 4 Top Ten: