Tag: Rutgers Prep

From 1-6 start to SCT Champs: Rutgers Prep’s Santowasso named 2023 CJSR Coach of the Year

Any good coach will tell you the job he or she has done is all about their players. Larry Santowasso of Rutgers Prep – who’s been the Argonauts’ head coach for nearly three decades – will say the same thing.

But his efforts to help bring his team back from a 1-6 start to a 14-15 finish – with trips to the Prep B and Non-Public North B finals, and a Somerset County Tournament Championship in the mix – have earned him Coach of the Year honors from Central Jersey Sports Radio for 2023.

With the SCT seeding meeting just two weeks into the season because of the way the event had to be scheduled to fit the semifinals and title game in at TD Bank Park, working around the Somerset Patriots’ schedule, Prep was just 1-6 when all the coaches gathered at Immaculata High School in Somerville to seed the tournament.

Bridgewater-Raritan, at the time, was a no-brainer top-seed, and a vote wasn’t even held; everyone agreed. Then, the coaches lobbied on behalf of their teams. Santowasso knew they wouldn’t be a high seed, but basically said “We’re not a 1-6 baseball team.”

Turns out they weren’t.

They won five straight to win the Somerset County Tournament, with junior Max Treonze outdueling Ridge’s Connor Byrne, to beat the defending champions, a team they’d lost to in the finals in 2022.

They also reached the Prep B final, losing to Pennington, and a pitcher named Bryce Meccage, who Santowasso thinks may be the best in the state. And then they went all the way to the Non-Public North B final in the state tournament, where they lost on a walk-off single at St. Mary-Rutherford.

His team never quit at 1-6. And while it takes the players’ to execute the vision, Santowasso had the vision, and his team was rewarded.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Rutgers Prep head coach Larry Santowasso, as well as juniors Max Treonze (P/1B) and Evan Laub (2B) about their comeback season:

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:

Rutgers Prep takes St. Mary-Rutherford to the brink, falls 4-3 in Non-Public North B final

On a day when Rutgers Prep and St. Joseph of Metuchen played separately for state titles, and it was a former Falcon who figured decisively in a defeat for the Argonauts.

Xavier Arana – who transferred after last year from St. Joe’s to St. Mary of Rutherford – scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh and got the win in relief for the top-seeded Gaels in a 4-3 walk-off win over third-seed Rutgers Prep in Saturday’s Non-Public North B title game up in Bergen County.

St. Mary (20-9) will go on to face the winner of Saturday’s South B title game between second-seed and defending champ Ranney and top-seed Gloucester Catholic.

Right from the get-go tensions were high, with both benches highly vocal in a back-and-forth affair throughout.

Rutgers Prep head coach Larry Santowasso started with his sophomore ace Zach Fronio, who’s committed to Maryland, and he cruised through the first three innings, only allowing two baserunners, striking out five. It was the fourth inning that started to give Fronio trouble. He allowed three consecutive singles, including an RBI single from St. Mary’s catcher Kyle Watson that put the Gaels out in front 1-0. 

Gaels starter Blayze Conte was also cruising along in the game, allowing just one hit and a walk through four innings. It was in the fifth inning that Conte got himself into trouble, allowing back-to-back singles to Max Treonze and Nick Pizzie, walking James Jackman to load the bases, and then a 2 RBI double for shortstop Cody Rullo.

With still two outs in the inning, Gaels Head Coach Nigel Archibald kept Conte on the mound to try and get the final out. But Rutgers Prep freshman catcher Ethan Nepomuceno hit a double of his own, scoring Rullo and giving Rutgers Prep a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth. That’s where Conte’s day ended, and Archibald put in relief pitcher David Anderson to get the final out. Anderson got Zach Fronio to ground out to shortstop to stop the bleeding for the Gaels.

Conte ended up with a no-decision, went 4 2/3 innings, gave up three runs on five hits, struck out four, and walked two. 

With the Gaels down two going into the bottom of the fifth, they knew they had to start a rally. They did just that, with the nine-hole hitter Arana roping a single to right field to get the ball rolling for St. Mary. Leadoff hitter Tyler Giordano legged out an infield single allowing Arana to advance to second. The Gaels had runners on first and second with one out, when Fronio struck out Jason Rosado for the second out, but the Gaels didn’t give up. Blayze Conte hit a single to center to load the bases, and third baseman Jacob Herrera hit a two-run single to center to tie the game at three apiece. 

It was crunch time. A game tied at three with two innings left. The Gaels took out pitcher David Anderson – who recorded one out in the fourth – and put in the lefty Arana. 

Fast forward to the top of the seventh inning. With Arana still on the mound, he worked a 1-2-3 inning, retiring Rutgers Prep to go to the bottom of the seventh tied at three. Santowasso pulled pitcher Fronio – who had reached over 100 pitches – and put in Li Perez for the seventh.

But the Gaels wasted no time getting runners on base. Arana again led off the inning, and this time was hit by a pitch. Perez then walked Tyler Giordano to put runners on first and second with nobody out. The stage was set for St. Mary’s second baseman Jason Rosado, who walked off the Argonauts, sending a ball into shallow left-center field which scored Arana from second for the 4-3 final.

Fronio finished the day with six innings pitched, giving up 3 runs on eight hits. He struck out 12 and walked one. Perez, who didn’t record an out, took the loss.

Arana earned the win for St. Mary with two innings of relief, allowing just two hits and striking out one.

Click below for postgame reaction sponsored by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

Rutgers Prep head coach Larry Santowasso
St. Mary-Rutherford’s Blayze Conte (in the cowboy hat) and Kyle Watson celebrate their Non-Public North B title. (Photo: Dylan Allen)
St. Mary-Rutherford reaction from head coach Nigel Archibald, pitcher Blayze Conte and Jason Rosado, who had the game-winning hit.

Rutgers Prep only worried about Rutgers Prep heading into Non-Public North B final at St. Mary

Forgive Larry Santowasso, the veteran Rutgers Prep coach, if he doesn’t know a lot about St. Mary-Rutherford.

The Gaels are the top-seed in Non-Public North B, but don’t get a lot of ink – or webspace – down here in Central Jersey.

But it’s not much of Santowasso’s concern. He’s just interested in his team. Has been from the very beginning of the season, when they were 1-6 to start the year, and seeded 12th in the Somerset County Tournament.

He knew his team was better than that, and that Bill Parcells’ wisdom didn’t apply to the Argonauts.

As it turned out, they weren’t what their record was, and they still may not be what their record is, which is 14-14 as they head into Saturday’s 12 noon sectional final as the second-seed against St. Mary.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will have updates of the game on Twitter via reporter Dylan Allen, and you can follow him by clicking here.

Rutgers Prep will throw Zach Fronio (2.2, 1.75 ERA) in the game, after Max Treonze pitched five scoreless Thursday against Gill St. Bernard’s in a 9-0 semifinal win, and Li Perez got the save.

It’s unknown if Andrew Parisi will be back in the lineup. He’s been a bit dinged up the last couple of weeks and hasn’t played since a May 16th loss to Ranney. Cody Rullo, who’s also been banged up, returned to to play on Wednesday.

Rutgers Prep will be playing for its first state title since 2013, when the Argonauts won the Non-Public Group B state title. Their last appearance in a sectional final came in 2014.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Rutgers Prep head coach Larry Santowasso:

INSTANT REPLAY: Non-Public North B Semifinals – (2) Rutgers Prep 9, (7) Gill St. Bernard’s 0

Starter Max Treonze – in his first start back after a broken nose – threw five scoreless innings, and Rutgers Prep’s scored seven runs in the first inning to help the second-seeded Argonauts get past seventh-seed Gill St. Bernard’s, 9-0, in the Non-Public North B Semifinals.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko call all the action from Diamond Nation in Flemington on May 31, 2023:

Championship Weekend is set with seven CJSR-area teams vying for titles Friday, Saturday

With wins by Rutgers Prep and St. Joseph of Metuchen Wednesday in non-public sectional semifinal play, there will be seven teams from the Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage are vying for state titles this weekend.

In Non-Public North B semifinal action, third-seed Rutgers Prep beat seven-seed Gill St. Bernard’s 9-0 behind an explosive offense, and solid pitching from Max Treonze and Li Perez. The Argonauts (14-4) will play at top-seed St. Mary-Rutherford (19-9) Saturday at 10 am for the title.

In the Non-Public South A semifinals, second-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen exploded for a seven-run third inning and beat fifth-seed Notre Dame 11-3. The Falcons (21-9) will visit top-seed Red Bank Catholic (23-5) – the No. 1 team in the state – Saturday at 11 am for the championship. Click here to listen.

Prep and Joe’s join North Brunswick, Old Bridge, Bridgewater-Raritan, Spotswood and Middlesex – the five public schools who will go for sectional titles this Friday. Scroll down for the full championship schedule with dates and times.


Central Jersey Group 4 Final
(2) North Brunswick at (1) Old Bridge, 4 pm

North 2, Group 4 Final
(5) Bayonne at (2) Bridgewater-Raritan, 3 pm (Listen Live)

Central Jersey Group 2 Final
(3) Spotswood at (1) Rumson-Fair Haven, 4 pm

Central Jersey Group 1 Final
(3) Middlesex at (1) Point Pleasant Beach, 4 pm


Non-Public South A Final
(2) St. Joseph-Metuchen at (1) Red Bank Catholic, 11 am (Listen Live)

Non-Public South B Final
(3) Rutgers Prep at (1) St. Mary-Rutherford, 10 am

Treonze, seven-run first inning put Rutgers Prep in first sectional final in nearly a decade

Larry Santowasso may have been the Rutgers Prep head coach since before any of his players were every born – Sorry, coach! – but this game was a big one, and with all his experience, he was worried.

Rutgers Prep got its first win of the season after an 0-3 start against Gill St. Bernard’s on April 10th, 25-0. Three touchdowns, a two-point conversion and a field goal.

“When you beat someone convincingly and then you see them in a win-or-go-home game, it brings a lot of nervousness for a coach,” Santowasso said before the game.

Well, he didn’t have to worry for too long.

Third-seed Rutgers Prep scored seven times in the first inning against Gill starter Colin Chou, and chased him before he could even get an out. That was all the Argonauts needed to beat the seventh-seeded Knights 9-0 at Diamond Nation in Flemington Wednesday – as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio – putting them in Saturday’s Non-Public North B sectional final.

Rutgers Prep (14-14) will visit top-seed St. Mary-Rutherford at 10 am Satuday for the title.

It’s the first trip to a sectional title game since 2014, when the Argos lost to St. Joseph-Hammonton, a year going all the way to win a state championship.

Cody Rullo led off the game getting hit by a pitch, Evan Laub singled, and Ethan Nepomuceno walked to load the bases before Zach Fronio hit a sharp single to right to drive in two runs. Maddux Chu also got hit by a pitch, then Li Perez reached on an E3 to make it 3-0. Max Treonze walked to force in another run to make it 4-0. Nick Pizzie grounded to first for the first out, and Chu beat the tag at home to make it 5-0. Then, Rullo – in his second at bat of the inning – hit a two RBI single to make it seven-zip.

After a 1-2-3 first, and with a 7-0 lead, Treonze nearly faltered in the second, allowing a leadoff double and a one-out single, but he ended up striking out the side to keep Gill off the board. He threw five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, striking out 11 to get the win. He’s now 6-0, with his ERA dropping to 0.17 on the season, allowing just one run in 41 innings pitched.

Prep added a run in the third on a sac fly to center by Laub, and got another in the fourth on a 4-6 fielder’s choice by Perez.

Perez came in to pitch the last two innings, allowing two hits, and preserving the shutout.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by SportsPlex at Metuchen!

Rutgers Prep pitcher Max Treonze
Rutgers Prep head coach Larry Santowasso

Rutgers Prep-Gill North B semifinal highlights live coverage Wednesday on CJSR; St. Joe’s also in action

As the state tournament continues, with just eight CJSR-area teams remaining, we’ll be bringing you live coverage of the Non-Public North B semifinals, where an area team is guaranteed to make it to the title game in the section this Saturday.

Third-seed Rutgers Prep (13-14) takes on seventh-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (10-14) for a trip to the finals, where the winner will take on either 4th-seed Montclair-Kimberley or top-seed St. Mary-Rutherford.

Mike Pavlichko will have all the live play-by-play from Diamond Nation in Flemington with pregame at 11:45 am. Click here to listen.

The Argonauts will throw Max Treonze (5-0, 0.19 ERA) in his first start since suffering a broken nose after getting hit by a fastball in the Prep B Final against Pennington. Reliever-turned-starter Colin Chou (1-1, 3.29 ERA) will go for Gill St. Bernard’s.

Sophomore catcher Andrew Parisi has been killing it at the plate again for Rutgers Prep, hitting .492, while fellow soph Zach Fronio – who got the win on the mound in the quarters last Friday against Morris Catholic – leads the team with 30 runs batted in.

For Gill, it’s senior Zach Wendell leading in most of the offensive categories, hitting .494 with 15 stolen bases, while Chou has driven in a team-leading 22 runs.

St. Joseph seeks finals berth, too

Meanwhile, in a 4 pm game also at Diamond Nation in Flemington, second-see St. Joseph-Metuchen (20-9) will take on sixth-seed Notre Dame (20-4) in a Non-Public South A semifinal. The Falcons are this year’s GMC Tournament champions, with Jimmy Mulvaney besting Zach Konstantinovsky in the final, boosted by a Tyler Delvecchio home run. The Falcons have one of the most feared lineups in the GMC.

The other semifinal features the top-seed and No. 1 ranked team in the state, Red Bank Catholic (22-5), taking on fourth-seeded St. Augustine (17-7), which also is ranked in the statewide Top 20.


Non-Public North B
(4) Montclair-Kimberley at (1) St. Mary-Rutherford, 3 pm
(7) Gill St. Bernard’s at (3) Rutgers Prep, 12 pm (Diamond Nation, Flemington) (LISTEN on CJSR)

Non-Public South A
(4) St. Augustine at (1) Red Bank Catholic, 4 pm
(6) Notre Dame at (2) St. Joseph-Metuchen, 4 pm (Diamond Nation, Flemington)


Central Jersey Group 4 Final
(2) North Brunswick at (1) Old Bridge, 4 pm

North 2, Group 4 Final
(5) Bayonne at (2) Bridgewater-Raritan, 3 pm

Central Jersey Group 2 Final
(3) Spotswood at (1) Rumson-Fair Haven, 4 pm

Central Jersey Group 1 Final
(3) Middlesex at (1) Point Pleasant Beach, 4 pm

SATURDAY, MAY 3: Non-Public Sectional Finals (TBA)

Three of five area non-publics advance in state playoffs, as Rutgers Prep, Gill St. Bernard’s and St. Joe’s all win

Just three non-public schools from the Central Jersey Sports Radio coverage area remain in the state playoffs, with Rutgers Prep, Gill St. Bernard’s and St. Joseph-Metuchen advancing, while Pingry and St. Thomas Aquinas were eliminated.


Below are Friday’s results, followed by next week’s schedule in all sections with CJSR-area teams remaining:


Non-Public North B
(1) St. Mary-Rutherford def. (8) Hawthorne Christian, 13-1 (5 inn.)
(4) Montclair-Kimberley def. (5) Roselle Catholic, 10-0 (6 inn.)
(3) Rutgers Prep def. (6) Morris Catholic, 6-3
(7) Gill St. Bernard’s def. (2) St. Thomas Aquinas, 8-3

Non-Public South A
(1) Red Bank Catholic def. (8) Pingry, 4-2
(4) St. Augustine def. (5) Christian Brothers Academy, 5-4 (8 inn.)
(6) Notre Dame at (3) Donovan Catholic, 9-6 (Thursday)
(2) St. Joseph-Metuchen def. (7) Paul VI, 8-4


Central Group 4
(5) East Brunswick at (1) Old Bridge, 6 pm (live on CJSR)
(6) Monroe at (2) North Brunswick, 4 pm

North 2, Group 4
(5) Bayonne at (1) Ridge, 4 pm
(3) Woodbridge at (2) Bridgewater-Raritan, 4 pm

North 2, Group 3
(4) South Plainfield at (1) Millburn, 3 pm
(3) Randolph at (2) Cranford

Central Group 2
(12) Ocean Township at (1) Rumson-Fair Haven, 4 pm
(10) Delran at (3) Spotswood, 2 pm

Central Group 1
(5) Manville at (1) Point Pleasant Beach, 4 pm
(3) Middlesex at (2) Shore, 4 pm


Non-Public North B
(4) Montclair-Kimberley at (1) St. Mary-Rutherford
(7) Gill St. Bernard’s at (3) Rutgers Prep, 12 pm (Diamond Nation, Flemington)

Non-Public South A
(4) St. Augustine at (1) Red Bank Catholic
(6) Notre Dame at (2) St. Joseph-Metuchen

FRIDAY, MAY 2: Public Sectional Finals

SATURDAY, MAY 3: Non-Public Sectional Finals

Fronio’s 11 Ks help advance Rutgers Prep into North B semis with 6-1 win over Morris Catholic

Just like Rutgers Prep’s season on the whole, obstacles had to be overcome in order to come out on top.

Sophomore Zach Fronio struck out eleven while Ethan Nepomuceno and Li Perez each drove in two runs to get the third-seeded Argonauts past 6th-seed Morris Catholic Friday in a Non-Public North B quarterfinal game in Somerset.

Fronio picked up his second win of the year (2-2) when it mattered most, in the state tournament, after a 15-day layoff since his last start, a 2-0 loss to Pennington in the Prep B Tournament Final.

But that wasn’t all. The injury bug has been nipping at two starters – Andrew Parisi and Cody Rullo, and neither played today. That put Maddox Chu behind the plate, and he and Fronio worked together masterfully.

Prep scored first in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by Nick Pizzie.

Then, after Morris Catholic tied it in the top of the fourth on a sac fly to center by Nate Eckerson, the Argonauts responded with three in their half of the inning, when they sent eight hitters to the plate.

Pizzie led off with a single, and after James jackman struck out, Nepomucino hit an RBI double. Evan Laub singled, then Fronio drove in a run with a ground-out to short, and Chu singled in another run.

Nick Pizzie of Rutgers Prep drives in the first run of the game with a single in the second inning of a 6-3 win over Morris Catholic in the Non-Public North B Quarterfinals in Somerset on May 26, 2023. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Morris Catholic got a run back in the sixth on an RBI single by Alex Kibler, who came in to relieve starter Sean Hegarty on the mound in the top of the inning, with Hegarty batting for himself in the lineup.

But Prep added two more insurance runs in the sixth to make it 6-2. With the bases loaded, Perez hit a ball deep in the hole that was fielded by the shortstop, but the throw to first was not in time and aggressive baserunning by the Argos plated a second run.

Max Treonze – who started at first, but flipped positions with Fronio to close out the game – saw his first action on the mound since getting drilled in the nose with a fastball a couple of weeks ago. He got a first pitch groundout back to him, then hit Nick Scerbak, who got to second on a wild pitch. Then after a walk to Declan Norton and a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Ryan Osterhoudt drove him in with an RBI single.

But that was all they would get as Treonze struck out Kibler to end the game.

The victory puts Rutgers Prep – which won the Somerset County Tournament as the 12-seed after starting the season 1-6 – at 13-4 heading into next week’s Non-Public North B semifinals, where they’ll face the seventh-seed Gill St. Bernard’s. The Knights upset second-seed St. Thomas Aquinas 8-3 Friday afternoon.

According to the NJSIAA state tournament schedule, that game is to be completed by Wednesday, but it could be played a day early, on Tuesday, because Rutgers Prep has its prom Wednesday evening.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

Rutgers Prep pitcher Zach Fronio
Rutgers Prep head coach Larry Santowasso