Tag: South Plainfield

INSTANT REPLAY: GMC Tournament Semifinals – (3) St. Joseph 2, (7) South Plainfield 1

Third-seeded St. Joseph-Metuchen erased an early 1-0 deficit with two runs in the sixth inning to get past seventh-seeded South Plainfield 2-1 in the GMC Tournament semifinals on Saturday, May 13th at Ray Cipperly Field in East Brunswick. The Falcons go on to play top-seed and defending champion North Brunswick in the finals on Saturday, May 20th, a rematch of last year’s title game.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the play-by-play:

St. Joseph rallies for two late runs to get by South Plainfield 2-1, earning third straight trip to GMCT title game

South Plainfield’s Aldo Pigna kept St. Joseph of Metuchen’s feared lineup in check for most of the game.

But not all of the game.

After the seventh-seeded Tigers got on the board first in the fifth inning to go ahead 1-0, the third-seeded Falcons nearly batted around in the bottom of the seventh and went ahead 2-1, then kept South Plainfield off the board in the seventh for the win, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, driven by Auto Lounge of Edison.

St. Joe’s (15-7) now will face either top-seed and defending champion North Brunswick or fourth-seed Monroe in next week’s finals. It’ll be the third straight trip to the GMC Finals for the Falcons, who won in 2021, but lost last year to North Brunswick. They are 7-2 all-time in the finals.

South Plainfield dropped to 11-11 with the loss.

The Tigers scored a run in the fourth with two outs. Jay Alvarez doubled over the left fielder’s head, then Ashton Donovan drove him in with a single to center field.

But with Pigna moving right along, he lost his control of the strike zone in the sixth.

Josiah Brown singled to lead off the inning, then Tyler DelVecchio walked. Matthew Kosuda then followed it up with a single to tie the game at one.

After another walk to Joseph Zammiti to load the bases, still with none out, Christian Azcona popped up into foul territory for the first out. Pinch hitter Connor Drury struck out for the second, but a walk to nine-hitter Bobby Christiansen drove in the second run,

Pigna stuck in there, though and got Mark Gialluisi on a groundout to end the inning and strand the bases loaded, limiting further damage.

But in the last chance in the seventh, South Plainfield would threaten. Donovan led off with a single, then Kevin Penny followed with another after Brandon Bickunas flew out to center for the first out. Brian Potts flew out to left before Brian Rios came in to close it out.

And he did, getting the save after flying out Nick Irizarry to right on one pitch to end the game.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

St. Joseph starting pitcher Jimmy Mulvaney
St. Joseph head coach Mike Murray

South Plainfield looks to keep rolling as Tigers face St. Joe’s in GMCT semis

For third-year coach Scott Glichenhaus and South Plainfield, the start of this season was a bit of a rollercoaster.

A shut-out loss, followed by a 10-run win. Another close loss, and then another hit parade. Lose one, then win one against the top of the GMC. Rinse and repeat.

Boasting one of the most prolific offenses in the GMC, the Tigers (11-10) opened their season with splits against North Brunswick, East Brunswick, and South Brunswick. The offense was in a pattern: 0 runs, then 11, then 3, then 12, then 0, and then 16.

It wasn’t a matter of capability; it was a matter of consistency.

With 54 runs scored over their last six games – five of them wins – seventh-seeded South Plainfield has found that consistency, and at just the right time. In Wednesday’s GMC Tournament quarterfinal upset of second-seeded Old Bridge, the Tigers exploded for 11 runs, including at least one in each of the final five innings.

They now find themselves just one win away from their first GMC final since 2018, when South Plainfield won it all as a No. 14 seed.

Freshman centerfielder Dom Massaro is hitting .360 with a team-leading 24 RBIs. Junior infielder Jayden Alvarez is hitting .377 with 19 RBIs and junior infielder Zach Robinson is hitting .377 with 18 RBIs. As a group, they have hit seven home runs and together comprise one of the most feared offensive trios in the GMC.

On Saturday, South Plainfield looks to keep the bats rolling against third-seeded St. Joseph’s in the first game of the GMCT semifinals at East Brunswick Magnet School’s Ray Cipperly Field. The Tigers and the Falcons split a pair of games during the regular season.

Game time is 12:00, the first of two semifinal games, both of which you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio, driven by Auto Lounge of Edison with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action. Click here to listen; coverage starts at 11:40 am

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Justin Sontupe talk with South Plainfield head coach Scott Gleichenhaus about the progression of his team in 2023:

St. Joseph’s bats held down the fort while the pitching found its groove

Baseball is truly unlike any other sport.

But rather than extol its virtues, the one detriment is that pitching takes time.

It takes time to get the feel of the ball, rediscover the mechanics, find a connection with your catcher, and so on. It’s why spring training for Major League ball players is about six weeks.

So when you have significantly more inexperienced pitchers – i.e., high schoolers – getting only about a week to figure it out due to the new NJSIAA calendar, well, the results don’t automatically come right off the bat, so to speak.

Good thing St. Joseph of Metuchen coach Mike Murray has kids like Robbie Carvelli, Josiah Brown, Christian Azcona, and veteran catcher Mark Gialluisi in the lineup.

Their bats helped St. Joe’s in the early going, and now that the pitching has come around, the Falcons are playing their best baseball at the right time: in the county tournament.

Saturday, third-seeded St. Joseph (13-7, pending Friday’s game at Bridgewater-Raritan) will take on 7th seed South Plainfield (11-10) in the first game of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament semifinals at East Brunswick Magnet School’s Ray Cipperly Field.

Game time is 12:00, the first of two semifinal games, both of which you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio – driven by Auto Lounge of Edison beginning at 12:40 pm with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action. Click here to listen.

The Falcons are seeking their third straight trip to the GMC Tournament title game, having won the event in 2021 – the first year after COVID – but falling last year to North Brunswick in the finals.

And should they reach their tenth GMC championship game overall – where they are 7-2 all-time, with six shutout wins – it could be a rematch of last year’s final, with top-seed and defending champion North Brunswick taking on fourth-seed Monroe in the other semifinal at 2:30, which can also be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Click below to hear Centreal Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with St. Joseph head coach Mike Murray about the progression of his team in 2023:

INSTANT REPLAY: GMCT Quarterfinals – (7) South Plainfield 11, (3) Old Bridge 4

After building a 5-1 lead with runs in four straight innings, seventh-seed South Plainfield put up a six-run seventh and beat second-seed Old Bridge 11-4 in GMC Tournament quarterfinal action at North Brunswick Community Park, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, driven by Auto Lounge of Edison.

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

South Plainfield’s 6-run seventh helps put Tigers in GMCT semis for first time since 2018 title season

For a while, South Plainfield was nickel-and-diming Old Bridge to death in their GMC Tournament quarterfinal game.

The seventh-seeded Tigers had scored a run each in the third, fourth and fifth innings, adding two in the sixth to take a 5-0 lead over the second-seeded Knights.

But after Old Bridge got a run in the sixth to make it 5-1, South Plainfield sent eleven men to the plate in the top of the seventh, scoring six runs on just four hits to take an 11-1 lead.

And while Knights made it interesting, the Tigers (10-10) prevailed 11-4 in the end, and move on the semifinals for the first time since they won the whole thing in 2018.

They’ll take on third-seed St. Joseph Metuchen at noon at Ray Cipperly Field at East Brunswick Magnet School, while the 2:30 semi will feature top-seed North Brunswick and fourth-seed Monroe. Both games can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, presented by Auto Lounge of Edison.

The Tigers got on the board in the third when Aldo Pigna reached on a two base error by center fiielder Justin Meyer, who dropped a deep fly ball. After a groundout, Dan Kapsch knocked him in with a single.

In the fourth, Brandon Bickunas led off with a double, went to third on a groundout, and scored on an infield hit by Pigna.

In the fifth, Kapsch led off with a walk, then came in on a single three batters later by Ashton Donovan to make it 3-0.

Then, South Plainfield scored two more in the sixth when Brian Potts singled, moved to second o a wild pitch, and Dan Massaro singled him in. He stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, then was driven in on a single by Jay Alvarez.

The bottom of the inning, though, was when things got really interesting.

Old Bridge’s Mike Villani led off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and when Frank Papeo Singled to get the Knights on the board, Tigers’ coach Scott Gleichenhaus pulled starter Kevin Penny for first baseman Ashton Donovan. He walked Evan Smith, then induced a pop out and got a strikeout for the first two outs of the inning. He walked Justin Meyer to load the bases, but got Thomas Papeo looking to end the inning.

The last two strikes – both called – appeared low. Papeo was frustrated, and so were the fans. But Papeo came out to pitch the top of the seventh, replacing reliever Justin Meyer. And his frustration boiled over on the mound, affecting his control.

He gave up a walk, a single, and a walk to load the bases before getting Pigna to strikeout. But Dan Massaro drove in two with a single, advancing to second on a throw to third that didn’t get courtesy runner Dan Gonzalez. Kapsch hit a ball to short, but the thorw to first was in the dirt, and got away from the first baseman Frank Papeo, allowing two more runs to score. Then Robinson hit a fly ball to center that was dropped – Old Bridge’s fourth error of the game. And after a foul out down the right field line, Donovan drove in two more runs with a bloop single that dropped in, making it 11-1.

And yet, Old Bridge (14-7) wasn’t done. John Smith walked to lead off the bottom of the seventh, followed by Kyle McSorley, and Villani knocked in a run with an RBI double. After a strikeout, Evan Smith drove in a run on a groundout to short and Josh Martinez singled another run to make it 11-4, but eventually Donovan – who’d been relieved by Robinson, came in to get the final out on a force out to short.

Click below for postgame reaction from South Plainfield head coach Scott Gleichenhaus presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

Old Bridge has had big wins, but knows much more work is to be done to bring home the crown in GMCT

The Old Bridge baseball team has some pretty big wins on its resume.

They’re one of few teams to win a game that North Brunswick ace Zach Konstantinovsky started. That’s happened only twice in his last two seasons, and the one time this year was a lightning-delayed, 10-inning game in which he was no longer a factor.

They are the only team in the GMC Tournament’s top four seeds – the top four teams in the Red Divsion – to have beaten all of the other three teams at least once.

And they knocked off statewide No. 1 Red Bank Catholic by a 2-1 score on April 23rd in the Autism Awareness Challenge.

But with apologies to Sir Duke and Ella, Knights’ head coach Matt Donaghue says “It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that ring.”

We’re paraphrasing of course, but Donaghue knows the real goal is the GMC Tournament title. The next step is to get to the Final Four, and to do that, his second-seeded Old Bridge team first has to get by 7-seed South Plainfield in the quarterfinals Wednesday evening 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. Game time is 7 pm; Click here to listen live.

The ball tonight – under the lights – will go to a young sophomore named Justin Hascup. Donaghue calls him a competitor who doesn’t back down, a “bulldog.” He’s put his faith in him.

Hascup has given him good reason to, with a 1.87 ERA in 30 innings pitched, and a record of 5-0. But perhaps more importantly, he’s beaten South Plainfield this year.

In a GMC Red Division game on April 27th – less than two weeks ago – the Knights beat the Tigers 8-3 on a strong start from Hascup, who went 6 1/3 innings, and gave up just two earned runs.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko with Old Bridge head coach Matt Donaghue on the Knights’ season, and what’s left to be done.

Don’t count out scrappy South Plainfield against Old Bridge in GMCT quarterfinals

Every tournament has two kind of contenders: the favorites and the sleepers.

A young ballclub that’s .500 and playing its best baseball at the right time? It’s a classic underdog, and it’s moving through a bracket it hopes to break.

Winners of five of its last seven games, 7th-seed South Plainfield looks to ride its hot streak into Middlesex County’s Final Four as the Tigers battle 2-seed Old Bridge in one of Wednesday night’s GMC Tournament quarterfinal games at North Brunswick Community Park.

Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will call the game as part of Central Jersey Sports Radio’s doubleheader coverage, presented by AutoLounge of Edison. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. Click here to listen.

South Plainfield enters the quarterfinals following its come-from-behind, 6-4 win over 10-seed Middlesex in the 2nd Round. The Tigers’ young bats shined, as junior Jayden Alvarez collected four RBIs, while sophomore Dan Kapsch and junior Zack Robinson each had three hits.

The game will be the third meeting of the spring between Red Division foes South Plainfield and Old Bridge, with the teams splitting the regular-season series. The Knights won the first matchup 8-3 on April 27th, but the Tigers earned the split the next day with a 3-2 victory.

South Plainfield is aiming for its first semifinals berth since 2018, when the Tigers won their first – and only – GMC Tournament title with a 12-inning victory in the championship game over Perth Amboy.

Dom Savino caught up with South Plainfield head coach Scott Gleichenhaus to discuss his team’s winning streak and talented lineup:

GMCT Quarterfinals are set, as top four seeds advance, while South Brunswick, Spotswood and Edison score upsets

There was a mix of chalk and some upsets in the second round of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament Monday, as the top four seeds – North Brunswick, Old Bridge, St. Joseph-Metuchen and Monroe all won, but three other lower seeds also won.

The 12 seed, South Brunswick won, as did 11th-seed Spotswood and ninth-seed Edison.

Here are the game recaps from Monday’s action.

Scroll to the bottom of this story for Wednesday’s quarterfinal round matchups, with times and field locations.

(1) North Brunswick 25, (16) South River 0 (5 innings)

In the most lopsided game of the day, the Raiders scored early and often in the win, plating six runs in the first, eight in the second, and eleven in the third. North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins emptied the bench, getting 16 different hitters in the game. Chris Rosario was 3-for-3 with two RBIs, while Justin Batts – struggling at the plate since returning after a mandatory 30-day sit out after transferring from Bergen Catholic – broke out with a 2-for-3 day and three runs batted in, while Yomar Carreras did the same. Fifteen players drove in runs for North Brunswick (12-5).

More importantly, it allowed ace starter Zack Konstantinovsky to breeze through a short outing, as he threw 71 pitches in four innings, allowing three hits and no runs, striking out eight. He would come back Saturday should North Brunswick reach the semifinals at East Brunswick Magnet school. South River (10-5) used five different pitchers in the loss.

The Raiders move on to Wednesday’s quarterfinals, where they will play 9th-seed Edison on Field One at North Brunswick’s Community Park at 7 pm.

(9) Edison 3, (8) East Brunswick 0

Of the top four teams in the GMC White Division, all of which were in action Monday, 9th-seed Edison was the only one to win. The Eagles (12-7) had lost four straight games coming into their game at 8th-seed East Brunswick, and one of those losses was to the Bears, just three days ago, mere hours after Edison learned they would play each other in their opening games of the county tournament. That was a 4-2 loss, but this was a 3-0 win for Edison.

Ace Jaxon Appelman made it through 6 2/3 innings, throwing 110 pitches in the game, not helped by six walks, but he only scattered three hits in the near-complete game shutout. Jordan Martins, Charlie Taub and Appelman each knocked in a run in the victory. The Bears fall to 7-10, and visit Spotswood in their annual Commanders’ Cup Trophy game at 4 pm.

(12) South Brunswick 5, (5) Sayreville 3

The Vikings (7-11) weren’t much better than Edison heading into the GMCT, having lost four straight before snapping the skid with a 6-3 win over Ewing out of Mercer County back on Friday. They kept the momentum going thanks to standout and High Point commit Joey Tuttoilmondo, who fanned a season-high 14 over 5 2/3 innings of work. He allowed just one run on five hits and never pitched without the lead, after the Vikings – who got a 2-for-4 night from Ryan Kessler, with a home run – scored three times in the top of the first to give Tuttoilmondo a little breathing room right from the get-go. Brian Culhane also homered and knocked in two runs. Sayreville – the GMC White Division Champ – fell to 12-6.

South Brunswick moves on to play 4th-seed Monroe in a 4 pm quarterfinal game on Field 2, a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, driven by Auto Lounge of Edison, as part of a doubleheader, with Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino calling all the action. Click here to listen live.

(4) Monroe 7, (20) Piscataway 0

Harrison Lollin continued his outstanding junior season, as the Oregon commit pitched a complete-game, three-hit shutout against the Piscataway (5-13). Lollin needed just 92 pitches to dispatch of the Chiefs, striking out 13 and walking none. It was his fifth game with double-figure strikeouts this season, his second-lowest pitch count, and fourth complete game of the season. Trevor Wallace scored three of the seven runs for Monroe (9-6), the fourth-place team in the stacked GMC Red. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Falcons.

(3) St. Joseph-Metuchen 12, (19) Metuchen 2 (5 innings)

In the “Battle of the Brainy Boro,” the St. Joseph bats did all the dirty work. One of the best top-to-bottom lineups ion the league, St. Joseph (12-7)got a 3-for-4 afternoon from Josiah Brown, who knocked in three runs, while Tyler Delvecchio also had 3 RBIs on a 2-for-3 night. Both hit home runs in the game. Robbie Carvellli and Bobby Christensen had 2 RBIs each. Starter Jimmy Mulvaney went the distance in the mercy-rule shortened game, needing just 85 pitches. He struck out seven, walked two, allowed five hits, and two earned runs. Metuchen dropped to 7-9.

The Falcons now take on Spotswood at 4 pm on Field 2 at Community Park on Wednesday.

(11) Spotswood 5, (6) Woodbridge 3

In one of the other big upsets of the night, Spotswood got 6 2/3 innings out of Seton Hall-bound senior Casey Cumiskey, who went 6 1/3 and struck out six, allowing just three earned runs on five hits against another one of the toughest top-to-bottom lineups in the GMC. The Chargers (14-4) got to Eddy Nunez for four runs in the fifth that turned out to be the difference. Click here for the full game story with postgame reaction.

(7) South Plainfield 6, (10) Middlesex 4

The sixth-place team in the brutal GMC Red Division makes it six division teams among the eight in the quarterfinals – along with Edison of the White and Spotswood of the Blue. South Plainfield (9-9) got back to the .500 mark and won its st third straight game, thanks almost singlehandedly to the bat of Jayden Alvarez, who had a 2-for-4 night with four runs batted in and a triple. Ashton Donovan also had an RBI from the Tigers, whose starter Aldo Pigna scattered four runs over six innings of work, striking out four to get the win, a big game in a big spot. Middlesex fell to 10-6 with the loss.

The Tigers move on to play second-seed Old Bridge on Field 2 at Community Park at 7 pm, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, driven by Auto Lounge of Edison, as the second game of a doubleheader, with Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino calling all the action. Click here to listen live.

(2) Old Bridge 4, (15) Carteret 0

Old Bridge has now won three straight after losing three in a row, thanks in large part to an outstanding effort from Frank Papeo. The starter went the distance, needing just 86 pitches to get through seven innings, allowing three hits and one walk, striking out seven. The Knights got a run in the second, a run in the fourth, and added two more insurance runs in the sixth. The Ramblers threatened a couple of times, getting a pair of doubles in the game, and a runner on third with two outs in the third, but just couldn’t push anything across on Papeo.


4 pm Games:
(3) St. Joseph-Metuchen vs. (11) Spotswood – Field 1
(4) Monroe vs. (12) South Brunswick – Field 2 (LIVE on CJSR)

7 pm Games:
(1) North Brunswick vs. (9) Edison – Field 1
(7) South Plainfield vs. (2) Old Bridge – Field 2 (LIVE on CJSR)

St. Thomas Aquinas finishes the season where it began: No. 1 in the Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Top Ten

On the strength of a 25-4 season – and its third straight GMC Tournament Championship – the St. Thomas Aquinas boys’ basketball team finishes the year at No. 1 in the final Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, never budging from the top spot from the preseason rankings all the way through to the end.

The Trojans have been the dominant boys’ team in Middlesex County for the last several years. Though their three-year run as full county tournament champs was interrupted by a loss in the GMC’s COVID-year, one-off, Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams four-team postseason pod to Colonia, they have won 31 straight games against Greater Middlesex Conference opponents since.

St. Thomas Aquinas has won 57 straight divisional regular season games, with the Trojans’ last loss coming in January 2018 at Carteret, back when they were in the Blue Division. And they are now 103-23 in five seasons with head coach Dave Turco at the helm.

Checking in at No. 2 in the final rankings is Colonia, which had a fantastic year, going 22-9 this season. Though they didn’t win the Red Division (STA did) or make the GMCT Final, they were the only boys’ basketball team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Coverage area to win a sectional title this season, beating Snyder to win its second straight North 2, Group 3 title, and third in the last four playoff seasons.

St. Joseph of Metuchen finished third, checking in at 18-11, rising all the way from No. 10 in the last rankings before the playoffs. The Falcons finished the year strong, reaching the Non-Public South A title game, where they lost to eventual Group A state champ Union Catholic.

Rutgers Prep (22-8) finishes fourth, having won both the Somerset County Tournament championship – beating defending champ Gill St. Bernard’s in a thriller – and the Skyland Conference Delaware Division title.

South River (26-4) checks in at No. 5, the darling of the GMC all year long. The Rams won the Blue Division title, but got the attention of Central Jersey basketball fans in late December, when they knocked off St. Joseph in Metuchen the day after Christmas. They picked up the third seed in the county tournament, and reached the semifinals. In the states, they went to the Central Jersey Group 2 final, losing to eventual state Group 2 champion Manasquan.

Gill St. Bernard’s finished 19-8 and comes in sixth in the final rankings. The SCT finalist had a successful season considering a Mergin Sina’s squad had almost a complete roster turnover of key players from last year’s team, and its highly-touted point guard returned to Europe just a couple of weeks into the season.

South Brunswick had a nice run all the way to the County finals, as well as the Central Jersey Group 4 final, and finished 20-7 on the season, checking in at No. 7.

In eighth is South Plainfield (23-6), which won the GMC White Division, and had one of the county’s top scorers in Brandon Dean.

Ninth is Bound Brook (22-5), the Skyland Conference Valley Division champs, followed by Hillsborough (19-8).

Below are the full final Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Rankings for 2022-23: