Tag: Monroe

2023 Big Central Preview: National Gold Division

From a championship program ascent from it’s nadir to a slinging quarterback returning to his hometown, the National Gold Division could shape up to be one of the most interesting in the Big Central Conference in 2023.

Piscataway rebounded from a winless season after sitting out 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – an administrative decision, not a team one – to go 6-3 last year and win the division. Expectations are even higher for the Chiefs, where winning state titles is the ultimate goal year-in and year-out.

East Brunswick will get Vito Tropeano, Jr. back, after he spent a year at Elizabeth playing for John Fiore.

The rest of the division can make some moves, too. Old Bridge is coming off a .500 campaign but ran into the gauntlet that was Toms River North in the playoffs last season. South Brunswick also was 5-5, and is looking for big things in Joe Goerge’s second year back in Monmouth Junction.

And there’s a new coach at Monroe, alum Nick Isola, who played under Chris Beagan and coached under Dan Lee.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko’s preview of the United Gold Division from the Big Central Conference’s inaugural Media Days:

INSTANT REPLAY: GMC Tournament Semifinals – (1) North Brunswick 2, (4) Monroe (1)

Zack Konstantinovsky struck out ten and Omar Carreras hit a two-run homer in the third inning to put top-seed North Brunswick back in the GMC Tournament title game, with a 2-1 victory over fourth-seed Monroe. The Raiders will get to defend their 2021 title against third-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen, in a rematch of last year’s final, on Saturday, May 20th.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the play-by-play of the GMC Tournament semifinals on May 13, 2023, from Ray Cipperly Field in East Brunswick:

Carreras HR, dominant Konstantinovsky put defending GMCT champ North Brunswick back in the finals

It was the pitchers’ duel everyone expected.

Back on May 11th, North Brunswick’s Rutgers-bound ace Zack Konstantinovsky bested Monroe’s Oregon-bound ace Harrison Lollin 1-0.

Saturday, in a GMCT Tournament semifinal game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio presented by Auto Lounge of Edison, the result was the same, just a different score: 2-1 Raiders, thanks in large part also to a two-run homer by Omar Carreras.

North Brunswick – the top-seed and defending champ – now moves on to play third-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen in next Saturday’s GMC Tournament final at 2 pm at East Brunswick Magnet School. It’ll be their second straight meeting in the finals.

Monroe falls to 11-7.

“Zack K” didn’t get off to the greatest of starts. Having not given up more than three hits in a game all season, he allowed three in the first inning alone. Aidan Lane hit a one-out double, then after Harrison Lollin struck out for the second out of the inning, Trevor Wallace drove him in with an RBI single.

Lucas White followed with another single, then a Kyle McCauley bunt down the third base line was so good, there was no play at any base. But with the bags full, Konstantinovsky readers back and got Jake LoBue to strike out on three pitches to end the inning.

And that’s really all the Falcons did to threaten. They got a baserunner via walk in the second but stranded him. Lollin got on base after getting hit by a pitch in the second, but Konstantinovsky got the next three batters.

North Brunswick got its runs in the third on a no-doubt home run by Carreras. EJ Accetura beat out an infield hit on a hard ground ball to third. After a pop-up and fly out, Carreras came up with two down and Accetura on second and blasted a home run over the left field wall.

Konstantinovsky pitched seven innings, walked one, hit a batter, and allowed just four hits, striking out ten for the win to improve to 7-0 on the season. Lollin dropped to 5-2 with the loss.

Now, North Brunswick will try and win its second straight GMC title. Last year, they won their first, beating St. Joseph. Now the teams will rematch.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

North Brunswick pitcher Zack Konstantinovsky
North Brunswick catcher Omar Carreras
North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins

Pitching and defense the key for Monroe ahead of GMCT semifinal

Ask fourth-year head coach Sean Field if there was an inflection point in his team’s season or any notable reason for the turnaround and you’ll get a pretty casual “not really.”

Monroe was 1-4 following a walk-off loss to East Brunswick on April 13. Since then, the Falcons have won 10-of-12 and will play for the school’s first GMC final appearance since 2017 on Saturday.

“I’ve always had a good feeling about this team,” Field said. “Even when we were 1-4, I kept telling the guys, ‘I’m really proud of you. Just keep punching, and eventually we’re going to break through.'”

Break through, they have.

Last Saturday, in their first GMC Tournament game, the fourth-seeded Falcons (11-6) handled Piscataway, 7-0, behind a 13-strikeout, 3-hit shutout from junior Harrison Lollin.

In the quarterfinals Wednesday, junior Lucas White tossed a no-hitter, striking out 10 in the 1-0 win over South Brunswick.

In 14 GMC Tournament innings, Monroe pitchers have allowed three hits, no runs, and struck out 23 opposing batters. Lollin, who has a 1.35 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 41.1 innings this season, will get the ball again for Monroe this Saturday.

WATCH: Here’s the final out of Lucas White’s no-hitter in the GMC Tournament semifinals

“You know you’re always in it,” Field said. “You know you’re always going to send somebody out there who is going to give you a quality start. Hitting will get you through the regular season, but come playoff time, it really comes down to pitching and defense.”

The Falcons will look to keep home plate untouched against top-seeded North Brunswick (13-5) at East Brunswick Magnet School’s Ray Cipperly Field in the second game of a doubleheader you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio, driven by Auto Lounge of Edison.

Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the action with first pitch set for 2:30. Click here to listen.

Click below to hear a preview of Monroe in the GMC Tournament semifinals from head coach Sean Field:

Back in the semifinals, back to their ace for North Brunswick in GMC Tournament

The GMC Tournament is a “Wednesday” Tournament.

With everyone’s top pitcher going in Monday’s second round – the opening games for the top 12 seeds – and that same guy coming back on Saturday in the semifinals, Wednesday is the day you have to get through.

Hope your starter can go deep, keep the bullpen out of it, win and move on.

For the top seed and defending champion North Brunswick, it didn’t really matter who was on the mound. Their bats did all the work.

The Raiders have scored 35 runs and surrendered none in two GMCT games so far – against South River and Edison – and now are a win away from a repeat trip to the finals, a chance to defend their 2022 crown.

But still, they love to have their ace out there: Zack Konstantinovsky.

The Rutgers-bound senior has been a dominant pitcher for nearly three years now. This season, he’s 6-0 with a 0.19 ERA. He’s only allowed two runs all year, one earned, in 37 1/3 innings of work, walking only six, and striking out 50.

Put it this way, he’s hit more home runs the last two seasons (ten, with six coming this season) than he’s given up earned runs the last two seasons (eight).

Saturday, in the GMC Tournament Semifinals at East Brunswick Magnet School’s Ray Cipperly Field, North Brunswick (13-5) will take on fourth-seed Monroe (8-6) in the second game of a doubleheader you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio, driven by Auto Lounge of Edison.

Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the action with first pitch set for 2:30. Click here to listen.

But the Raiders aren’t just about Zack K, whether his arm or his bat. Yomar and Omar Carreras can hit, and Justin Batts – a transfer from Bergen Catholic who lives in North Brunswick and played with many of his teammates since they were young – is heating up at the plate just a week-and-a-half into his season, after sitting out 30 days because of the transfer rule.

Click below to hear a preview of North Brunswick in the GMC Tournament semifinals from head coach Mark Blevins:

INSTANT REPLAY: GMCT Quarterfinals – (4) Monroe 1, (12) South Brunswick 0

Monroe junior Lucas White pitched a no-hitter – walking just one and striking out ten – in a 1-0 victory for the fourth-seeded Falcons over 12th-seed South Brunswick in the GMC Tournament quarterfinals at North Brunswick Community Park as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, presented by Auto Lounge of Edison.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino call all the play-by-play on May 10, 2023:

WATCH: Here’s the final out of Lucas White’s no-hitter in the GMC Tournament quarterfinals

Monroe’s Lucas White was nearly flawless Wednesday in fourth-seed Monroe’s 1-0 GMC Tournament quarterfinal win over 12-seed South Brunswick.

He walked just one batter in pitching a full, seven-inning no-hitter, having retired the first eleven batters he faced, then the next ten after the base on balls to complete the no-no.

Click below to watch the final out as White strikes out the side to end the game:

Video by Dom Savino, play-by-play by Mike Pavlichko

Yes! A No-No! Lucas White no-hits South Brunswick to advance Monroe to GMC Tournament semifinals

Coming into the GMC Tournament quarterfinals with two pitchers with ERAs in the fives ans sixes, you might have thought you’d see some runs.

You thought wrong.

But more than that, Monroe got a no-hitter from junior Lucas White – and it was nearly a perfect game. He struck out ten and allowed just one base-runner in a 1-0 win for the fourth-seeded Falcons over 12-seed South Brunswick – as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio – to advance to Saturday’s GMC Tournament semifinals in East Brunswick.

White retired the first eleven batters he faced before walking opposing starting pitcher Ethan Fantel, who pitched a great game in his own right, allowing just one earned run on five hits in six innings of work.

But after the base on balls, White retired the next ten batters in order, and struck out the side in the seventh to seal the game.

White was the beneficiary of some solid fielding, including a catch along the warning track in right center field by Jake Lobue to end the fourth, and some solid infield play on hard hit balls.

White improves to 2-2 with the win; Monroe now 10-6. They’ll face either top-seed North Brunswick or 9th-seed Edison in the semifinals Saturday at East Brunswick Magnet High School. South Brunswick falls to 7-12.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

Monroe starting pitcher Lucas White
Monroe head coach Sean Field

Monroe coach Field lauded his team after 1-4 start, now Falcons are a win away from GMCTs Final Four

When a team is feeling good about itself as Monroe baseball was heading into 2023, getting extra work in during the offseason that not every club has the time or manpower to pull off, starting 1-4 can be a real downer, even if you’re playing in the grueling GMC Red Division and lost three of those games by a single run each.

But Sean Field got his Falcons to stay the course – and having a good one-two punch on the mound like Harrison lollin and Lucas White doesn’t hurt either – eventually going on a seven-win tear.

Now, the fourth-seeded Falcons – who finished fourth in the uber-competitive Red – are in the quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon against another divisional foe, 12th-seed South Brunswick, which knocked off 5th-seed and White Division champion Sayreville in the second round.

The Falcons and Vikings will play at 4:00 this afternoon at North Brunswick Community Park, in a game you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio with pregame at 3:45, as part of a doubleheader presented by Auto Lounge of Edison.

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

The Falcons will put White on the mound today, coming in with a 1-2 record and a 5.25 earned run average.

Offensively, the Falcons are a bit of a light-hitting team, at .270 on the year, but with great pitching, it’s gotten the job done.

This will be the third meeting with South Brunswick this year, with the Falcons winning both in slugfests: 3-0 on April 17th and 11-6 the next day. They avoided Viking ace Joey Tuttoilmondo in both those games, and will avoid him again Wednesday afternoon, with Ethan Fantel going for South Brunswick.

Click below to hear Monroe head coach Sean Field talk about the Falcons’ 2023 season heading into the GMCT quarterfinals against South Brunswick:

After upset of White Division champ Sayreville, South Brunswick has eyes on GMCT semis

Entering the season with an inexperienced roster and an arduous division slate, South Brunswick had two big goals: be competitive in every game and play the best in the GMC Tournament.

Well, mission accomplished.

The 12th-seed Vikings are the lowest seed to advance to this year’s GMCT quarterfinals, earning a Red Division rematch against Monroe. First pitch is set for 4 pm Wednesday at North Brunswick Community Park.

Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will broadcast the game live as part of Central Jersey Sports Radio’s doubleheader coverage, presented by Auto Lounge of Edison. The pregame show starts at 3:40; Click here to listen live.

South Brunswick has pieced together back-to-back wins for just the second time this season, more recently pulling off the biggest upset of the tournament’s second round on Monday with a 5-3 road win over 5th-seed Sayreville.

In that game, the two most seasoned Vikings starred.

Senior pitcher Joey Tuttoilmondo struck out a season-high 14 batters, fueled in part by senior catcher Ryan Kessler’s early three-run home run that gave the team a lead it would never relinquish.

Beyond those two veterans, though, South Brunswick’s roster consists mainly of juniors earning their first Varsity playing time. Their entire outfield is made up of juniors. Now, their experience-building process has led them to the GMC Tournament’s Elite Eight.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Dom Savino with South Brunswick head coach Tim Sweeney on the Vikings’ big second-round win and the growth the team has displayed throughout the spring: