Tag: Old Bridge

Cutoff Weekend Playoff Analysis: South Group 5

It’s down to the final weekend of the regular season in high school football, and Cutoff Weekend is just days away. This week, Central Jersey Sports Radio will bring you exclusive, team-by-team analysis of all the playoff scenarios for the 57 public schools in the Big Central Conference.

It’s all brought to you by My Family Appliances on Route 1 South in the Wick Plaza, Edison.

And don’t forget to join us for our “Playoff Projection Show” on Saturday at 6 pm (moved to an hour later) as Mike Pavlichko brings you all the playoff projections, with analysis and commentary by Marcus Borden, live in studio!

With that, here’s a look at the North Group 5 supersection, with all scores and playoff standings based on Gridiron New Jersey’s official calculations as of Sunday, October 15, 2023. Click on the heading to see the standings at Gridiron New Jersey:


2. Hillsborough (7-1, 2.8 UPR): We think it’s simple for the Raiders. A win over Westfield (4-6) Friday night at home would sew up second-place overall – if Toms River North loses at Red Bank Catholic (6-1) on Friday – and the top-seed in Central Jersey Group 5. (The South’s top seed would go to overall No. 1 Cherokee.) A loss, and Toms River North moves up to second regardless since RBC is a multiplier, leaving ‘Boro looking at anywhere from a three to a five seed, depending on how Washington Twp. and Marlboro do this weekend. Wins from them would push the Raiders further down; losses by both would keep Hillsborough third, we believe.

7. North Brunswick (7-0, 6.6 UPR): These Raiders’ have a huge game Friday night at home against Cranford (4-3), one of the bigger playoff implication games this weekend. Their ceiling appears to be right where they are now, at No. 7, but we don’t think everything is going to break that way. Assuming North Brunswick beats the Cougars, giving wins to everybody else from one through nine – which seems realistic except Rancocas Valley (6-2) vs. Highland Regional (4-3) could be a toss-up – and we think puts the Raiders in sixth, which would make them the three seed in Central 5, putting them on a collision course with Toms River North potentially – on the road – in the sectional semifinals. Put a North Brunswick loss in that scenario, and we think they end up seventh, the four-seed in Central 5, with a potential all-Raider semifinal in Hillsborough in the second week of the playoffs. How could you not root for matchups with the same school nickname?

8. South Brunswick (5-3, 9.2 UPR): The middle of three Big Central Conference teams lined up from seven through nine, the Vikings visit Somerville (4-4) Friday night in another critical game that could go either way. Looks like seven might be the ceiling for South Brunswick if they come home winners from Brooks Field and things break the right way for them with teams around them losing. North Brunswick’s matchup with Cranford being a toss-up, plus Rancocas Valley, makes it all the more complicated to predict where the Vikes’ will actually finish. A loss, and South Brunswick could drop to ninth, losing a first round home game in the process.

9. Hunterdon Central (5-3, 10.6 UPR): With a home win over Perth Amboy (2-6) likely, the Red Devils probably can’t get any higher than the eight seed, but jumping up to a first round home game isn’t impossible if things break the right way, including the North Brunswick-Cranford and Rancocas Valley-Highland Regional tossups (they need losses by the the Raiders and RV). But unlike the two teams above them, who play more solid opponents, a defeat to the Panthers could drop them to 11th or lower, so this is a big win for Central if they can secure it Friday night.

OUT: We tried everything in the book, giving the Knights a win over visiting Bridgewater-Raritan (2-6) Friday night, and losses to the four teams above them in both OSI and power point average – Cherry Hill East, Howell, Eastern, Williamstown, Vineland, and Southern – and could only get them as high as 17. That’s where they finished last year with a big win on Cutoff Weekend, but they got in based on an NJSIAA head-to-head tiebreaker rule with South Brunswick, which they had beaten in the regular season. This year, it’s Howell at 16, and they haven’t played, so that loophole is out, and – we believe – so are the Knights.

Week 7 Friday night Playoff Analysis: Group 5

Note: This article contains an update to the North 5 standings and analysis due to a technical glitch on our part which didn’t include quality or group points for any of the teams. The below reflects the updated standings.

Through the end of the season, Central Jersey Sports Radio will be updating unofficial playoff standings following Friday night’s games. Full analysis after the weekend will come during the week as the official standings are released by Gridiron New Jersey.

Here’s a look at unofficial standings after games of Friday, October 13th in Group 5. Results are calculated using scores on Gridiron New Jersey as of 9:30 am on October 14th:

A quick look shows the Stateliners held steady with their win over Union, though their lead over third-place Union City has shrunk from 0.8 UPR points to 0.2 points. The question is: can they hang on with a win over winless East Brunswick next week, or will it hurt them? And will they get some help from Union City or others behind them? The Soaring Eagles play at 3-5 Clifton next week.

Watchung Hills holds in fourth, their UPR from from 3.4 to 4, while Union drops from fifth to seventh with their loss last night to the Stateliners, and Plainfield holds in sixth with a 6.2 UPR. Bottom line is all those teams should be pretty safe for first round home games if they close with wins next week.

Westfield dropped to 11th place; the Blue Devils host Ridge Saturday afternoon.

As expected, Bridgewater-Raritan went from the wrong side of the playoff bubble to the good side – 17th to 16th – with a huge home win over Elizabeth Friday night. The Minutemen dropped to 20 and should be out; they’ll guarantee that if they lose next week, having only one win, where the NJSIAA minimum is two.

Piscataway dropped to 18th place with its loss to Sayreville at home Friday night. The Chiefs visit New Brunswick next week, and even a win may not help them; the Zebras are winless, and without any other results entered, a win there would drop them from 18th to 21. It doesn’t look good for the Chiefs.

Hillsborough’s win last night, coupled with a Marlboro loss, puts the Raiders up a spot into third, while North Brunswick – which defeated winless East Brunswick Friday night – drops from No. 5 to sixth place. They will try and recoup those points when they play a solid Cranford team at home next Friday night.

Hunterdon Central holds in ninth as the Red Devils snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Franklin, while South Brunswick’s win over Edison gave them a big boost, moving the Vikings from 12th into eighth place.

Old Bridge’s win at New Brunswick didn’t move the needle, as expected, keeping the Knights in 18th place. Franklin and Edison would have a lot of ground to make up. The Warriors are in 21st place, with Edison behind them at No. 22.

Then again, there are three teams in front of them who may not qualify for the playoffs. Williamstown (17th, 0-8) definitely won’t, since they have one game remaining and won’t meet the two-win threshold by the NJSIAA for playoff qualification. That might also be the case for Vineland (19th, 1-5) and Eastern (20th, 1-6), except they both still have two games left: one today, one next week. But even if they don’t, they still play into the UPR formula, so Franklin is 6.2 UPR points out of a playoff spot; Edison is 6.6 points out. That’s a lot of ground to make up. The one caveat here is that Edison plays St. Thomas Aquinas next Friday night and will be guaranteed at least 24 power points if they lose (way more if they win). That would up them from a 7.63 power point average to 9.45, a jump of five spaces (as of today) in power point rank, shedding 2 points off their UPR number.

Bottom line: Old Bridge has a chance, Edison may be a longshot. Vineland and Eastern are the games to watch today. Franklin should be out.

Week 7 Playoff Analysis: Group 5

With just two weeks of play left before the state playoffs are seeded, things are heating up in the playoff chase. Here’s our look at the Big Central Conference teams in playoff contention in Group 5 as we head into Week 7 of high school football around the state.

And, of course, don’t miss our “Playoff Projection Show,” scheduled for 5 pm on Saturday, October 21st, when we’ll reveal our predicted matchups and seeds for the postseason. It’s all presented by My Family Appliances of Edison, which will be giving away three $100 gift cards during the show to lucky listeners!

All our analysis is based on Gridiron New Jersey’s official playoff calculations performed for the NJSIAA and listed on their website as of 9:30 am on October 10. For full standings, click on each supersection’s header below:


2. Phillipsburg (5-1, 2.4 UPR): The Stateliners remain in the second spot this week, but their lead has slimmed a bit over the third place team, which now is Union City, just 0.8 UPR points behind. Watchung Hills is just one point back. A win at Union this weekend would help bolster their cause, but it remains to be seen if a win over East Brunswick at home on Cutoff Weekend would hurt them. The Bears – at the moment – are the second winless team on P’burg’s schedule, which otherwise has three ranked teams – Sayreville, Ridge, Hillsborough – and two others (Hunterdon Central and Union) that had been ranked in the past couple of weeks.

4. Watchung Hills (6-1, 3.4 UPR): The Warriors rebounded off their first loss of the season to Montgomery with a road win against a very good Plainfield team. Things get no easier the next two weeks, with St. Joseph-Metuchen at home, then a road game at Elizabeth – which just stunned Elizabeth for its first win – on Cutoff Weekend. There’s a slim chance that if the Warriors could win out, they could get a top two finish and a top seed, but a lot of scenarios would have to break right. We’ll have a much better idea after this weekend.

5. Union (4-3, 5.8 UPR): The Farmers held steady this week in fifth, despite the loss to previously-winless Elizabeth, but they fell one spot in OSI standing and dropped in their UPR by 0.6 points. If things go right, they could end up with a top four finish, but they would also have to pull off two huge upsets, topping No. 4 Phillipsburg at home then No. 2 Ridge on the road in successive weeks.

6. Plainfield (4-2, 6.2 UPR): The Cardinals are a good example of what playing a strong schedule does. Despite their loss to Watchung Hills last Saturday, they gained 0.4 UPR points and moved from seventh place to sixth in the standings. Two teams (5-2 Montclair and 3-4 Clifton) are right behind them, within one UPR point, so there could be some movement there, but it looks like the Cardinals won’t finish in the top four, which only guarantees them a first-round home game.

10. Westfield (3-3, 11.4 UPR): The Blue Devils had a big win over Somerville Saturday, and climbed up five points in the standings in the process. We called them a bubble team last week, but no more. And with two challenging games remaining, we’re not even sure going 0-2 the rest of the way – with a loss to Ridge at home this week and Hillsborough on the road next week – can keep them from the postseason. We’re calling Westfield in, clinching a berth with their win against the Pioneers.

15. Piscataway (4-3, 15.2): Another example of how your schedule affects your standing, PIscataway dropped in UPR to 15.2 (by 0.2 points) and fell a spot from 14 to 15 this week with a victory over winless East Brunswick. The last two weeks, the news is a mixed bag. The Chiefs host a huge game this weekend with old GMC rival Sayreville (Friday night at 6 on CJSR – click here to listen) that they very well may need to make the playoffs, because their season finale against currently winless New Brunswick isn’t going to help them either. That would make it two winless teams and two two-win teams (Franklin and Monroe) killing their schedule. So it makes this Friday night uber-important.

17. Bridgewater-Raritan (1-6, 16.6 UPR): The Panthers are a win shy of the minimum wins required by the NJSIAA (2) to make the playoffs, but if they get one at this point, it will give them a huge jump against the six losses they have, even if it does come against one-win Elizabeth and/or two-win Old Bridge. They might need to win both, they might need to win just one, depending on what the teams around them do. We’ll have a better idea after next week.


4. Hillsborough (6-1, 3.8 UPR): Thanks to No. 1 Cherokee and No. 2 Toms River North continuing to win – and even Marlboro, which has won its first division title since 1994 – it doesn’t look like the Raiders have a shot at a top four seed. The likely scenario is they finish fourth – giving them a two seed in whatever section they land – assuming they can close out the season with two wins over Somerville and Westfield. And both of them are at home.

5. North Brunswick (6-0, 5.2 UPR): Ah, the schedule. A road trip to winless East Brunswick this weekend may not hurt their cause much, but won’t help them either. The Raiders already dropped a spot from fifth last week to sixth this week, but with a win over the Bears – and another next week at home to Cranford – North Brunswick may be able to keep from dropping further, depending what everyone else does. As long as the Raiders don’t lose to East Brunswick, we’ll assume they start the playoffs at Steve Libro Field.

9. Hunterdon Central (4-3, 10 UPR): Here’s the benefit of a good schedule: despite a third straight loss, the Red Devils didn’t drop this week in the standings, though their UPR did go from a 9.6 to a 10, showing a fall of one ranking spot in power points. They are 0.8 UPR points behind eighth-place Atlantic City (6-1, 9.2 UPR). Can they finish in the top eight and get a first round home game? It might be doubtful, considering they visit Franklin this week and host Perth Amboy the next, a significant drop in their schedule from the likes of Ridge, Phillipsburg and Hillsborough the past three weeks.

12. South Brunswick (4-3, 10.8): If you figured this out and looked at the math, yes, the Vikings are just 0.8 UPR points behind Hunterdon Central, but three places back. IN fact, there are five teams within 1.6 UPR points of each other, from Atlantic City to Hunterdon Central, Kingsway, Freehold Township and South Brunswick. It just means anything can happen in the middle of the pack here, but we still think the Vikes end up in the bottom eight and playing on the road in the first round.

18. Old Bridge (2-5, 19.8): For the Knights, 32. UPR points is a tough hill to climb. They’ve won two of their last three – albeit against East Brunswick and Monroe – and visit New Brunswick this week (0-7) and host Bridgewater-Raritan next week (currently 1-6). We don’t think it’s enough to move the needle, unless the Knights get a lot of help, but it’s tough to tell if it’s possible until the Strength Index numbers lock next week and we know for sure how much each game is ultimately worth.

19. Edison (3-4, 20.2 UPR): Despite being a spot below the Knights, the Eagles have an extra win, and have a better shot at making the postseason a year after winning their first sectional title since 1991. Now, they might have to beat St. Thomas Aquinas to get in, but we’ll see. Assuming they beat South Brunswick this weekend, Edison would be a very good playoff candidate with a victory over the Trojans. A loss – even with the multiplier – might leave them in 17th, and then it depends what teams like Howell, Southern, Williamstown and even Old Bridge might do. Some of that help could come this week, so again, the picture will be clearer after this weekend.

Piscataway handles Old Bridge in the rain with 2 TDs each from Stephens, Thompson

Football coaches love a kid who can score many different ways.

De’shaun Stephens scored twice, both in different ways, Friday night in the rain for Piscataway.

The Chiefs got a two rushing touchdowns from Horace Thompson, and two more from Stephens – a receiving touchdown and a pick six – to help seal the deal.

But it didn’t start the way Piscataway (3-3) wanted. Old Bridge (1-5) got on the board first on a Jaden Griffiths touchdown after the Knights’ recovered a Chiefs’ fumble.

But Thompson scored twice in the second quarter to give Piscataway the lead for good, en route to 28 unanswered points the rest of the way.

Click below for postgame reaction from Marcus Borden, presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

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:

McSorley, Villani, Thomas Papeo talk Team of the Year honors for CJ4 champion Knights, who were several years in the making

So many Old Bridge Knights – whether they played a large or small role – contributed to the team’s success in 2023, bringing them their first sectional title since in eight years.

Hascup, McSorley, the Papeos, Villani, Scire, Meyer, and the list goes on.

That’s how it is with a championship team. It’s never one person; it’s the collective.

And that’s how it was with Old Bridge baseball this year, which finished 21-9 on the season, won the Central Jersey Group 4 title, and made it all the way to the statewide Group 4 final before falling to Ridgewood, the North 1, Group 4 champ.

All told, it’s a season that will go down in Old Bridge baseball lore.

We caught up with three of the many key parts to Knights’ baseball in 2023; click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Kyle McSorley, Mike Villani and Thomas Papeo – along with their head coach Matt Donaghue – about being named Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Team of the Year:

All seniors, Mike Villani will be playing his collegiate ball at Stony Brook, Thomas Papeo will move on to Kean, while Kyle McSorley will be playing at Iona.

Old Bridge finishes No. 1 in final Bellamy & Son Paving Baseball Top 10; Knights are CJSR Team of the Year

The Old Bridge baseball team reached unprecedented heights in 2023, reaching its first-ever state title game. And though they fell just a few runs short of an overall Group 4 title, the Knights – who won Central Jersey Group 4 for the first time in eight years – are the No. 1 team in the final Bellamy & Son Paving rankings, making them the Central Jersey Sports Radio Team of the Year.

Old Bridge finished 21-9 on the season, and beat North Brunswick 2-1 in the CJ4 title game, their first appearance in the finals since 2019. It was the first ring for head coach Matt Donaghue, who played for the Knights in high school under the legendary Fred Cole.

Scroll down for the full rankings.

Finishing second is St. Joseph-Metuchen (21-10), which was in the top ten during the season, but fell out in the last rankings before the state tournament started. The Falcons were the GMC Tournament champions, besting Red Division champion North Brunswick in the finals.

Ridge (25-4) finishes third in the rankings, despite the Red Devils’ being disqualified from the state tournament for a pitch count violation in their North 2, Group 4 quarterfinal game. Ridge had a successful season to that point, and still is one of the best teams in the area.

North Brunswick (21-7) comes in fourth in the final rankings, having won the Red Division in the GMC. But they fell just short in the league tournament finals, and lost to Old Bridge in the Central Jersey Group 4 title game.

Checking in at No. 5 is Rutgers Prep (14-15), which had a wild season. The Argonauts started 1-6, then won five straight to win the Somerset County Tournament, beating the top two teams in the county en route: Bridgewater-Raritan in the semifinals and Ridge in the finals. They also made it all the way to the Non-Public South B title game, losing on a walk-off single at St. Mary-Rutherford.

Bridgewater-Raritan (23-7) comes in sixth. The Panthers were the top-seed in the Somerset County Tournament, thanks to early wins over Ridge in-league, and Hunterdon Central out of conference.

Spotswood (21-8) had a terrific season, winning the GMC Blue Division title, and going all the way to the Central Jersey Group 2 title game, where the Chargers lost to Rumson-Fair Haven.

Woodbridge (20-6) comes in eighth, with its second straight 20-win season.

Coming in ninth is Middlesex (17-9), which made it all the way to the Central Jersey Group 2 championship game, where the Blue Jays lost to Point Pleasant Beach for the second year in a row.

In tenth is South Plainfield; the Tigers reached the GMC tournament semifinals – losint 2-1 to St. joe’s – and made the North 2, Group 3 semifinals, eliminated by Millburn in another 2-1 loss.

Below are the full, final Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten Rankings for 2023:

Old Bridge falls short in Group 4 final; Knights fall 4-0 to Ridgewood

by Korbid Thompson

The two teams on a collision course to Bob DeMeo Field in Hamilton took very different paths to get there. In the end, Ridgewood came out as a champion.

The championship season of Old Bridge – they won Central Jersey Group 4 – would have come to an end one way or the other on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Knights, they would end up on the short end of a 4-0 final at the hands of North Jersey, Section 1 champ Ridgewood (24-7) in the NJSIAA Group 4 finals at Veterans’ Park.

It was a scoreless game until the bottom of the third inning, when Old Bridge starting pitcher Justin Hascup would hit a bump in the road. Bobby Kuensler of Ridgewood started the inning with a leadoff single. Two batters later, senior third baseman Lucas Barker hit a line drive to left center field that cleared the fence for a two-run home run.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Hascup looked to be in the clear, as the inning started with two out and nobody on base, but Jay Wittmaack would the first walk of the day for the Maroons, and leadoff man J.T. Luther delivered an RBI single to bring home Wittmaack for a 3-0 Ridgewood lead. 

Old Bridge’s best chance to score some runs off Ridgewood starter Vincent Luther would come in the top of the sixth inning, when the top two guys in the Knights’ batting order would reach base to start the inning. John Smith singled, followed by a Thomas Papeo single. Two batters later, Mike Villani single to load the bases. With one out, designated hitter Frank Papeo would step to the plate. On a 1-2 pitch from Luther, Papeo would ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat for the Knights.

Ridgewood would tack on one more run in the bottom of the sixth with a first and third double steal, as pinch runner Zach Kranz would score from third base after pinch runner Calder Warden would steal second, drawing the throw from Old Bridge catcher Kyle McSorley. 

That was all Vincent Luther would need. Luther would pitch 6 2/3 innings, having to exit from the mound after throwing 113 pitches on the day. Senior righty Brendan Chanley would come in to get J.T. Meyer to pop out to first base for the final out, and give Ridgewood their second state championship in five years.

As for Old Bridge, the Knights finish their season at 21-9 under fifth year head coach Matt Donaghue with a Central Jersey, Group 4 title in their trophy case.

Click below for postgame reaction from Korbid Thompson with Old Bridge head coach Matt Donaghue:

Old Bridge seeks historic title in state Group 4 final against Ridgewood Saturday

Very rarely does a team play a game it knows is it’s last of the season, especially a winning team.

But that’s the case for Old Bridge Saturday, when the Central Jersey Group 4 champion Knights (21-8, 7-5 GMC Red, 2nd place) travel down to Veterans’ Park in Hamilton to take on Ridgewood (23-7, 8-0 Big North Freedom champs) at Bob DeMeo Field, in a game you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Scroll through for a complete preview of the game:

Group 4 Finals: Old Bridge (21-8) vs. Ridgewood (23-7)
When: Saturday, 4 pm (pregame 3:45)
Where: Bob DeMeo Field, Veterans’ Park – Hamilton, NJ
Coverage: Korbid Thompson on play-by-play (click here to listen)
First Pitch Forecast: 79, partly sunny, WNW wind 8 mph (out to left field)

Old Bridge: Justin Hascup (9-1, 1.47) OR Frank Papeo (6-2, 1.56 ERA)
Ridgewood: Vincent Luthor (8-2, 1.47) OR Brendan Chanley (3-1, 1.30)


Old Bridge: Matt Donaghue, 5th season (82-62)
Ridgewood: Kurt Hommen, 10th season

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Old Bridge head coach Matt Donaghue about the Knights’ run this season, and the Group 4 title game:


Old Bridge (No. 1 seed in Central Jersey Group 4)

  • def. (16) West Windsor-Plainsboro North 3-0 in CJ4 1st round
  • def. (9) West Windsor-Plainsboro South 10-0 in CJ4 quarterfinals
  • def. (5) East Brunswick 8-0 in CJ4 semifinals
  • def. (2) North Brunswick 2-1 in CJ4 finals
  • def. South champion Eastern 8-6 in Group 4 semifinals

Ridgewood (No. 4 seed in North 1, Group 4)

  • def. (13) Morristown 10-0 in N1-4 1st round
  • def. (12) Paterson Eastside 14-4 in N1-4 quarterfinals
  • def. (1) Passaic Tech 8-1 in N1-4 semifinals
  • def. (2) Bloomfield 12-11 in N1-4 finals
  • def. North 2 champion Bayonne 14-13 in Group 4 semifinals

Game Preview

Old Bridge allowed just a single run – to North Brunswick in the sectional final – in four Central Jersey Group 4 playoff games, but found themselves in a tough battle with Eastern. They found a way, with timely hitting, good pitching when they needed it, and an aggressive style that caused Eastern to make mistakes they shouldn’t have. But that’s what the Knights do: put pressure on other teams. Expect them to do more of the same.

Pitch counts reset with four days in between games, so both coaches have their whole compliment available. JT Meyer was a surprise start in the Group 4 semis, and pitched well overall, the big blow a three-run home run by Sam Winsett. Justin Hascup got the win in relief, and is the more likely starter for Saturday’s game.

This is the first-ever trip to the state finals for the Knights, whose longtime skipper – and head coach Matt Donaghue’s former coach – Fred Cole brought Madison Central here in 1988, a year before they won the GMC Tournament. Their CJ4 title is their first since 2015, but they lost to Williamstown that year in the state semifinals.

Old Bridge is a veteran group. Thomas Papeo is the top hitter at .404, driving in 18 runs, while Kyle McSorley has a team-leading 27 RBIs and six home runs; both are seniors. Fellow senior Mike Villani is hitting .391 with 17 runs batted in, third on the team, and no bigger three RBIs than the ones he drove in with a bases-clearing double to left-center that tied his team with Eastern at 6-6 on Monday back at Fred Cole Field.

Ridgewood got knocked out of the Bergen County Tournament in its first game, in the Round of 16, with a 5-1 loss to Pascack Valley. But the Maroons have won nine straight since then, including their last two in their final at bat. They came from behind and scored two in the top of the seventh at Bloomfield in the North 1, Group 4 final to win 12-11, then won a back-and-forth game with a walk-off single against Bayonne to take a 14-13 decision in the group semifinals.

Ridgewood is a solid-hitting team, about 60 points higher than Old Bridge, which was right about even with Eastern. They have four regulars hitting .400 or better, led by senior JT Luther, hitting .442 with 29 runs batted in and three home runs. No one has hit more than four, but they have 18 on the year as a team. Jack Foerch hits .435 with a team-leading 35 RBI.

Pitching-wise, they don’t give up much, with an ERA of 1.73 on the season.

Can Old Bridge continue to rep CJ4?

The winner of Central Jersey Group 4 has won four of the last seven statewide Group 4 titles. That includes Hunterdon Central in 2016 and 2018, Middletown South in 2021, and Howell last season.