Tag: Skyland Conference

Skyland Conference coaches unveil 138 All-Division baseball selections for 2023

The baseball coaches of the Skyland Conference on Wednesday afternoon selected their All-Division teams for the 2023 season.

Following is the complete list of honorees:


First Team

  • Bridgewater-Raritan: Matt Fattore (1B/P), Michael Fattore (3B/DH), Devin Goldberg (2B/CF), Jimmy Turchi (OF), Joey Letko (OF)
  • Hillsborough: Matthew Wescott (OF), Graham Ross (P)
  • Hunterdon Central: Mike Contiliano (IF), Noah Baird (P)
  • Immaculata: Colin Kassai (OF), Jayson Labrador (IF)
  • Ridge: Connor Byrne (P/DH), Brendan Callanan (SS/P), Julian Kielb (1B), Nick Rossi (C)
  • Watchung Hills: Martin Howell (C), Tino Lobozzo (IF)

Second Team

  • Bridgewater-Raritan: Matt Moore (SS), Noah Matheson (P), Cory Rible (P)
  • Hillsborough: Liam Gallagher (2B), Avery Whitney (OF)
  • Hunterdon Central: Kyle Yasunas (OF/DH), Jummy Lundavi (C), Jared Cassela (OF)
  • Immaculata: Danny Ferguson (C), Troy Rabosky (IF/DH)
  • Ridge: Luke Somelofske (P/3B), Aiden Stieglitz (P), Ben Larner (P), Nick Selitti (OF), Ezra Sadowski (OF)
  • Watchung Hills: Nick Perillo (P), Trenon Stanard (P)

Honorable Mention

  • Bridgewater-Raritan: Frankie Verano (OF)
  • Hillsborough: Max Romanok (P)
  • Hunterdon Central: Alex Chayko (P)
  • Immaculata: Greg Zimmerman (P)
  • Ridge: Matt Shawah (IF)
  • Watchung Hills: Matt Novello (OF)


First Team

  • Franklin: Ryan Piro (1B)
  • Montgomery: John Donahue (OF), Justin Swerdlow (IF)
  • North Hunterdon: Chris Sand (P), Ben Linzer (P), Wyatt Demeo (OF), Eddie Appolina (P)
  • Phillipsburg: Garret Bubrowski (C), Dylan Melsky (OF)
  • Rutgers Prep: Zach Fronio (P), Andrew Parisi (C), Max Treonze (P), Ethan Nepomuceno (IF/C)
  • Somerville: Chase Koplitz (OF), Brayden Keller (Util), Ty Akins (IF)

Second Team

  • Franklin: Ryan Mrotek, Mike Schiermeyer, Izaiah Robinson
  • Montgomery: Tyler Conners, Lucas Heines, Johnny Kimick
  • North Hunterdon: Tyler Anderson, Alex Famolari, Brandon Suler
  • Phillipsburg: Kevin Burgess, Eddie Wiendel, Justin Hoadley
  • Rutgers Prep: Evan Laub, Cody Rullo
  • Somerville: Ryan Ciesla, CJ Banos, Karson Wengryn

Honorable Mention

  • Montgomery: Cole Schulberg (1B)
  • North Hunterdon: Jesse Lance (IF)
  • Phillipsburg: Andrew Hausman (1B)
  • Somerville: Ed Duffy (IF)
  • Rutgers Prep: Li Perez (OF/P)


First Team

  • Belvidere: Cale Exley (P)
  • Bound Brook: Jake Anderson (P), Lucas Coleman (C)
  • Delaware Valley: Jack Reardon (P), Stoy Fohring (C), Anthony Saniscalchi (IF), Cooper Fransen (IF), Danny Shapiro (OF)
  • Manville: Nick Bentz (P), Geoffrey Mathis (IF), James Mascola (IF)
  • South Hunterdon: Dillon Gallagher

Second Team

  • Belvidere: AJ Enslin, Nathan Ciccorelli
  • Bound Brook: Damian Ognowski (3B)
  • Delaware Valley: John Croasdale (OF), Michael Kelley (1B), Jared Leeds (P)
  • Manville: Logan Klemetovicz (P), Josh Barrios (1B), Elijah Capone (OF)
  • South Hunterdon: Aaron Parisi (OF), Ed Cooper (DH), Colton Hettmen (P)

Honorable Mention

  • Belvidere: Mason Pantophet
  • Bound Brook: Nick Anderson (IF)
  • Delaware Valley: Kevin Hutts (OF)
  • Manville: Sebastian Carvajal (C)
  • South Hunterdon: Aaron Zalescik (C)


First Team

  • Bernards: Evan Hoeckele, Charlie Gonella, Matt Giunta, Henry DePew
  • Gill St. Bernard’s: Zack Wendell, John DiGregorio
  • Pingry: Jake Francis, Nick Lorenzo, Alex Payne, Gavin Wang
  • Voorhees: Jeff Manning, Charlie Worster, Joey Nolan
  • Warren Hills: Daniel Willis, Cody Miller

Second Team

  • Bernardds: Tyler Helpinstill, Matt Falzarano, Connor Laverty, Ryan Tondo
  • Gill St. Bernard’s: Colin Chou, Matt Park, Tim Park
  • Pingry: James Bergman, Kailar Ahn
  • Voorhees: Jeremy Jordan, Ray Schiavo, Brandon Aulert
  • Warren Hills: Matt Garabed, Charlie Bland, Evan Matthew

The Valley Division coaches did not select an Honorable Mention team.

Red-hot South River looks to keep it going as Rams play in their 14th Autism Awareness Challenge

The South River Rams have been there almost since the beginning.

Of the Autism Awareness Challenge’s 15 seasons, this will be their 14th.

Longtime South River head coach Mike Lepore, Jr., is a big fan of the event, but he also knows it’s good baseball.

On Sunday, the Rams (7-1) will take on Bernards – which is 4-3 heading into Saturday’s Somerset County Tournament first round game at Hillsborough – in Game One of a doubleheader you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio, starting at 9:45 am with pregame, and first pitch for the Rams and Mountaineers at 10 am.

Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will be on the call, with the opener followed by Edison vs. Barnegat at 1 pm. Click here to listen to both broadcasts.

The Rams have been getting great hitting from senior Matt Marques and super-sophomore Julius Rosado, who had a fantastic year as a freshman in 2022 and already is committed to Rutgers.

Marques is a perfect player to hit behind Rosado, who already has drawn three intentional walks among his eight bases on balls so far this season. Yes, Rosado still is hitting .435, with six RBIs, five doubles and a triple. Marques himself is hitting .444 and leads the team with 13 runs batted in, making it a pick-your-poison type of scenario for opposing pitchers.

Lepore will throw freshman Brendan Lell against the Mountaineers. He’s only thrown 5 2/3 innings this season, allowing seven runs – six earned – on five hits. In minimal action, he’s shown control, walking two, striking out five.

Rosado, a stellar arm, will be available. if needed. But, Lepore says his intention is to start him for game one of a critical Tuesday-Thursday home-and-home series against Blue Division-leading and currently undefeated (9-0) Spotswood.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk witth South River head coach Mike Lepore Jr. about the Rams’ season so far and the matchup with Bernards:

INSTANT REPLAY: Somerville 12, Rutgers Prep 8

Somerville’s bats came alive, knocking out ten hits in a 12-8 win over Rutgers Prep in Somerset, while Ty Akins virtually shut down the Argonauts in relief over the last three innings of the game. Akins also helped his cause at the plate, knocking in three runs and scoring another after he reached on a leadoff error on a fly ball to center in the third.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas call all the action on Central Jersey Sports Radio on April 13, 2023:

Bridgewater-Raritan makes case for No. 1 seed in SCT with statement win over Hunterdon Central

They’ve knocked off a pretty solid North Jersey program in St. Joe’s of Montvale. Earlier this week, they blanked defending Somerset County Tournament Champion and state-ranked Ridge.

And Thursday afternoon, Bridgewater-Raritan knocked off another state-ranked foe, defending North 2, Group 4 champ and 2022 statewide Group 4 runner-up Hunterdon Central.

The 4-2 victory puts the Panthers in first place in the Skyland Conference Delaware Division at 4-0, a half-game ahead of the Red Devils, who are 3-1 in the Delaware.

But not only that, it makes a strong case that Bridgewater-Raritan should be the top seed in the Somerset County Tournament. With a compressed season this year after the NJSIAA made changes to the year-round sports calendar, the seeding meeting is Monday night at Immaculata High School, and this was BR’s last conference game before the confab at Immaculata.

Tournament play opens Wednesday, April 19th, with the top four teams getting byes to the qaurterfinals, to be played at higher seeds, on Tuesday, April 25th.

The Panthers – who are now 5-1 overall – scored three times in the third inning, and though Central got back two in the fourth, BR added an insurance run in the seventh and hung on with some solid starting and relief pitching.

Starter Jason Cozzi went four innings for the win, allowing two runs and striking out six, Cory Rible and Stephen Colon combined for three shutout innings to close it out.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Bridgewater-Raritan head coach Max Newill about the win, and the Panthers; hot start to the season so far:

Somerville bats come alive, Akins stymies Rutgers Prep in relief for 12-8 win

For the kind of game that was played Thursday afternoon in Somerset, a 12-8 Somerville win over Rutgers Prep, it would figure that the deciding factor may have just come down to a pitcher.

After the Argonauts (1-5) went ahead 7-6 in the fourth, the Pioneers (3-2) scored six straight runs over the next three innings – two apiece – and reliever Ty Akins limited Prep to just a single run on three hits over the last three innings of the ballgame to hang on for the win, in a game heard live on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The game was a back and forth affair early on. ‘Ville opened the scoring with two runs in the top of the first, but the Argos came right back to tie it 2-2 in the bottom half. Somerville scored four times in the third, and Rutgers Prep evened it up in their at bat, 6-6.

But after Prep went ahead 7-6 in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by starting pitcher Zach Fronio – whose day was done after three innings – that was all they could must until their last whacks in the seventh. But by then, Somerville had added six runs to take a 12-7 lead.

Akins – who started the game at first, but was about to take the mound for the bottom of the fifth – knocked in two runs with a two-put single in the top of the inning. In the sixth, Andrew DeAngelis knocked in a run with a single, and a Chase Koplitz walk brought in a second run. Then in the seventh, Ed Duffy knocked in a run on a ground ball to short that was thrown out of play, while a DeAngelis ground ball to third scored Duffy.

All the while, Ty Akins – who in 2 and 2/3 innings coming into the game had a 7.88 ERA, allowing three earned runs – was locking down Rutgers Prep.

Akins allowed a leadoff single in the fourth, but got a strikeout, ground out and flyout to strand Cody Rullo. In the sixth, he gave up a two-out single to Andrew Parisi, but got Fronio to ground out to short to end the inning.

He only encountered some trouble in the seventh, allowing back-to-back one-out doubles to Cody Rullo and Joey Dwek – who knocked in Rullo – but both were more a function of fielder positioning than anything else. Akins stranded Dwek on second to end the ball game by getting a strikeout and a line out to short.

Dylan Hornick got the win in relief for Somerville in his first appearance of the season, while Peter Wheeler (0-1) took the loss in relief for Rutgers Prep.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

Somerville senior 1B/P Ty Akins
Somerville’s Ty Akins. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)
Somerville Head Coach Chris Banos

Somerville’s Banos fitting new players into new roles as Pioneers look to get over .500

For Somerville baseball, the storyline in the early part of the season has been how new varsity players fit into the team – and how some returnees are taking on new responsibilities.

Some of that is by design, some not.

Where it’s not is on the pitchers’ mound, where Pioneers’ head coach Chris Banos has the unenviable task of trying to find some tentative help to fill-in for the recently-injured Kolbie Stellpflug. He may miss a few games, but even missing a pitcher of that caliber for a week or so in such a condensed season as 2023 will be impactful.

Follow Sportsplex at Metuchen on Instagram for the latest on open gym sessions on their courts and turf!

When Somerville travels to Rutgers Prep Thursday afternoon, the Pioneers will have a new face on the mound in Kyle Giacobello. After not playing baseball at all in the last two seasons, the football player will return for his first-ever varsity start.

He’s only worked one inning so far this year, throwing 13 pitches, striking out two, allowing no runs and no hits.

You can hear Thursday’s game on Central Jersey Sports Radio beginning with pregame at 3:40 pm, and first pitch at 4 as Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas call all the action. Click here to listen.

Others also have taken on new roles.

Ty Aikens and Chase Wengryn were exclusively on the mound last year, but now find themselves stepping up to the plate to make up some of the production that graduated last year.

Some of the other key returnees from last season include catcher Karson Wengryn, who is in his third varsity season and provides a threat both defensively and with the bat.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Chris Tsakonas preview Somerville’s game at Rutgers Prep with Pioneer head coach Chris Banos:

Rutgers Prep isn’t off to a hot start, but Santowasso thinks Argonauts are about to turn the corner

Coming off a year in which the Rutgers Prep baseball team had a pretty solid season – a 19-6 record, Somerset County Tournament finalists – head coach Larry Santowasso figured his team was primed for an even better 2023.

With a 1-4 record through its first five games, though, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

Thursday, they will try and pick up win No. 2 on the season when Rutgers Prep entertains Somerville (2-2) in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas will call all the action with pregame at 3:40 pm and first pitch at 4. Click here to listen.

Rutgers Prep took its typical preseason trip down south to do get ready for the year, and do a little bonding. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

And even to look at the game results or season stats to figure out what’s going doesn’t make it entirely obvious.

To wit: they started 0-3, losing by three, three and four runs.

One of last year’s breakout freshmen, Andrew Parisi, who hit .537 last year, is hitting .538 through five games.

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Go figure?

Santowasso says there are little things that, put together, have added up to the record being what it is. But he also knows his team is getting a lesson in baseball you just can’t teach: sometimes, it just doesn’t happen.

Sometimes, you hit where the fielders are. Sometimes, you don’t get pitches to hit.

And he realizes baseball is one of the few things in life where the old adage – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Sometimes, in baseball, you just have to keep plugging away, and the hits – and wins – will come.

Click below to hear a preview of Thursday’s game with Rutgers Prep head coach Larry Santowasso:

Veteran Thompson will get the ball as young Immaculata faces state-ranked Ridge on Opening Day

The high school baseball season opened Monday across New Jersey, but two championship programs from 2022 will open Tuesday afternoon in Flemington.

That’s when defending Non-Public North B champ Immaculata (No. 9 in the Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten) takes on defending Somerset County Tournament Champion and state-ranked Ridge (No. 1 in the Bellamy Top Ten) in the first game of the season for both schools.

It’s a game you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio beginning at 3:45, with first pitch at 4:00 from Diamond Nation in Flemington. Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas will call all the action; click here to listen.

The Spartans, a bit inexperienced in 2022, may be a bit more experienced in some ways, by virtue of their run in the state tournament which took them to the group finals, where they lost to Ranney Prep, ranked No.2 in the state preseason.

But they are also younger, with just one senior on the roster, righty pitcher Greg Zimmerman.

But on Opening Day, the ball will go to junior Josh Thompson, who went 7-3 last season. He struck out 36 and walked 19 in 58 innings pitched, with a 3.98 ERA.

Thompson can also hit, a big plus since head coach Kevin Cust’s Spartans will be without the defensive play of infielder Jayson Labrador for the next two weeks due to injury. But he will be able to hit, and Cust says Labrador will DH for another position player because “we can’t lose his bat in the lineup.”

Labrador hit .329 last year with 11 runs batted in.

Click below for a preview of the game with Immaculata head coach Kevin Cust:

Last year, Rutgers Prep was a finalist; this year, the goal is to finish

Rutgers Prep baseball coach Larry Santowasso is the first to admit that maybe the 2022 version of the Argonauts was a little ahead of schedule.

Counting on two uber-freshmen, a host of sophomores and juniors, and just four seniors – only two of whom saw significant playing time – Prep went 19-6, and reached the finals of both the Prep B Tournament and the Somerset County Tournament. They earned the top seed in Non-Public North B in the state tourney, but were upset in the first round by eventual champion Immaculata.

They reached two finals, but couldn’t finish. So now, that’s the goal in 2023.

The team is now bonding and partaking of Spring Training in the most Spring Training of settings: Vero Beach, Florida, where they work out every year and scrimmage teams from the Sunshine State at the Jackie Robinson Sports Complex. And yet, this team may need it the least, because the Argonauts are mostly in tact from last season.

The Rutgers Prep baseball team after a scrimmage in Vero Beach, FL, as the Argonauts prepare for the 2023 season. (Submitted photo by head coach Larry Santowasso)

Sure, the Argonauts lose two significant seniors. Nick Baldev – a position player and fielder who hit .217 and drove in 11 runs, but also pitches 32 innings and struke out 55, while walking only 18 to the tune of a 2.62 ERA – has graduated, along with first baseman/outfielder Anthony Brigante, who his .262 but drove in 22 runs.

Everyone else is back, though. There’s senior James Jackman (.353, 11 RBI, 4 HR), junior Evan Laub (.333, 15 RBI), junior Nick Pizzie (.400, 26 RBI) and sophomore Cody Rullo (.358, 10 RBI). And then, the biggest bat of them all, Andrew Parisi, who as a freshman only hit .537, led the state in RBIs with 54, and cranked 11 home runs – good for fourth in New Jersey.

On the mound, the top pitcher returns in Zach Fronio. As a freshman, he threw 42 2/3 innings, striking out 58, walking 19, finishing with just a 1.64 ERA.

Rutgers Prep opens its season on Tuesday, April 4th against Montgomery, and make an appearance on Central Jersey Sports Radio on Thursday, April 13th, when the Argonauts entertain Somerville in a Raritan Division game set for 4 pm.

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

Ridge will look to defend Somerset County Tourney title with a mix of veterans and newcomers

Win some, lose some. Graduate some, return some.

That’s the story for the Ridge baseball team as it embarks upon the 2023 season, which it will open on Tuesday, April 4th at Diamond Nation in Flemington against Immaculata, a game you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The Red Devils won the Somerset County Tournament championship in 2022, blanking Rutgers Prep in the final 6-0. And they had the horses to make a run at the North 2, Group 4 championship, but they lost an epic 5-4 game in 11 innings in the sectional semis to Woodbridge.

It might not have been how he planned it, but Ridge head coach Tom Blackwell says the emotions of that game are still felt, and it’s given the 2023 club a fuel for the fire, a sense that they left some unfinished business.

That’s the win some, lose some.

On the roster side of things, the offense will lose catcher George Busnach (2 HR, 17 RBI), centerfielder Mike Olivo (.433, 1 HR, 17 RBI) and left fielder Brian Leitz (.411, 1 HR, 16 RBI). But Ridge returns outfielder Luke Somelofske (.413, 10 RBI), shortstop Brendan Callanan (.446, 1 HR, 22 RBI) and top run producer and infielder/outfielder Julian Kielb (.429, 2 HR, 27 RBI).

On the mound, the Red Devils also will miss Olivo and his miniscule 0.31 ERA in 45 1/3 innings pitched, as well as Andrew Shahwah. But they bring back Callanan and Connor Byrne, who combined for over 102 innings thrown last year, neither, with Callanan sporting a 2.03 ERA, and Byrne at 1.83.

Blackwell believes his team – which has spent a lot of time with each other win the offseason – will be poised for another run this year.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko preview the Ridge season with head coach Tom Blackwell: