Tag: state playoffs

Thuderstorms push CJ1 semifinals to Wednesday; Middlesex and Florence never started

In the end, it was probably the best-case scenario for both teams.

Before Florence could even get off their long, yellow bus, the Central Jersey Group 1 semifinals, originally scheduled for today at 4 pm, were called off.

Lightning and thunder could be seen and heard in the distance around 3:00 as the Middlesex players were warming up. Then a loud crack and a flash sent them off the field, and into the school for what head coach Justin Nastasi hoped would be a “wait it out” situation.

Middlesex players warm up before the Central Jersey Group 1 semifinals against Florence Tuesday. It will now be played Wednesday at 1 pm.

In the end, the forecast was not good, and the game was called.

Top-seed Middlesex (17-4) and 12th-seed Florence (8-8) now are scheduled to play at 1 pm tomorrow at Mountainview Park in Middlesex, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Pregame is scheduled for 12:30 pm. Click here to listen.

Middlesex is seeking its third straight crown in Central Jersey Group 1, and it fourth straight appearance in the title game. The Blue Jays have won it in four of the last five seasons, and have also won two Group 1 statewide championships in that stretch.

As of this writing at 4:45 pm, the other GMC team left in the state tournament, Old Bridge, was in a rain delay at Marlboro. The 12th-seeded Knights trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the third, with the Mustangs getting the leadoff man aboard with a walk.

Both starters – Justin Herbstman for Old Bridge and Alex Jankowski for Marlboro eclipsed the 31 pitch mark, so neither would be available if the game had to be continued tomorrow.

Keep checking this website, and follow us on Twitter at @cjsportsradio, for the latest on both games.

Old Bridge finally wins a close one, in a big spot

They’re not the 1962 Mets, but at some point Old Bridge head coach Matt Donaghue had to wonder if a break was going to go his team’s way.

After all, they had been going the other team’s way for a good part of their 7-17 season, until Wednesday night.

Ten of their 17 losses and come by 3 runs or less; four of them by two runs or one.

That’s when it finally all broke right for the 12th-seeded Knights, who knocked off 5th-seed South Brunswick in the opening round of the NJSIAA baseball state playoffs in Central Jersey Group 4.

Youth was served in this one, which also leaves Donaghue with a bright outlook for the future.

Sophomore Thomas Papeo went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Justin Herbstman – a fellow soph who’s committed to Virginia Tech – got the win in relief, blanking the Vikings and striking out nine in 4 1/3 innings our of the ‘pen.

Next up for the Knights (8-17) is Princeton, the 13th-seed, which knocked off 4th-seed Edison Wednesday 6-4. That gives Old Bridge an unexpected home game Sunday at 2 pm, a late start due to it being an SAT testing day.

Click below to hear about how it happened, the team’s outlook heading into states, and more with head coach Matt Donaghue, pitcher Justin Herbstman and shortstop Thomas Papeo:

North Brunswick’s Blevins told hard-luck Raiders they were due for the tide to turn – and he was right

How would you like to throw a one-hitter, and lose the ball game?

That’s what happened to North Brunswick on Monday in the GMC semifinals. Zach Konstantinovisky hurled the kind of game that wouldn’t be called anything less than a gem. And yet, his 10th-seeded Raiders lost to 5th-seed South Brunswick 2-0 as part of the lowest scoring semfinals in conference history, which date to 1986.

But he’ll get another chance in the state tournament this weekend after North Brunswick – the 7th seed in Central Jersey Group 4 – escaped with a 1-0 walk-off win against 10th-seed Hightstown in the opening round of the NJSIAA playoffs Wednesday.

And how they did it was just as remarkable.

After the hard-luck loss on Monday, head coach Mark Blevins told his team he expected some good luck for a change.

You’ve heard of “I’d rather be lucky than good?” Well, North Brunswick didn’t need luck, and they were better than good.

Sean Anderson robbed one of Hightstown’s top hitters of a home run. Kyle Tarabokia hit Konstantinovsky – playing first base – with a perfect relay to nab a runner at the plate.

And Pat McCann delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh: just a routine single.

You know: the kind with the bases loaded, two outs, and on a 2-2 pitch.

Now, the Raiders will travel to Flemington to take on 2nd-seed Hunterdon Central at 2:30 Saturday afternoon, a late start due to SAT day, according to Blevins.

Click below to hear North Brunswick coach Mark Blevins talk about the Raiders’ thrilling win over Hightstown, and preview Saturday’s matchup with the Red Devils:

Old Bridge is a big winner, North Brunswick walks off on Day 2 of NJSIAA state tourney

With the first round in the books in the NJSIAA baseball tournament, Old Bridge pulled off one of the upsets of the day.

The 12th-seeded Knights knocked out 5th-seed South Brunswick – one of the GMC Tournament finalists this weekend – with a 6-2 road win in the opening round of the Central Jersey Group 4 section.

Mike Villani had two hits and three RBIs in the win, while Thomas Papeo was 2-for-3 with a run batted in,

Starting pitcher Justin Herbstman went 4 1/3 innings, fanned nine Vikings, and didn’t surrender a single earned run. He allowed just four baserunners, one by virtue of a hit.

And because of another upset, Old Bridge will play a home game in the quarterfinals Saturday afternoon.

Fourth-seed Edison was knocked off by 13th-seed Princeton Wednesday 6-4, as the Little Tigers got to starter Sal DellaFave for three runs in the first, then chased him from the game in the fifth, scoring three more.

Now, Old Bridge – a double digit seed – will get to host a home game when the Little Tigers travel to Fred Cole Field.

Meanwhile, North Brunswick won a wild one.

The 7th-seeded Raiders got by 10th-seed Hightstown 1-0 on a walk-off, bases loaded single with two outs by Pat McCann.

And that wasn’t the extent of the key plays for North Brunswick, which saw outfielder Sean Anderson pull a Hightstown homer back into the yard with a leaping catch at the wall in the third, while the Raiders threw out a runner at home in the fifth to keep the game scoreless.

North Brunswick will travel Saturday for a second round game at 2nd-seed Hunterdon Central.

We’ll have a closer look at those two games later Thursday here on cjsportsradio.com.

With Timothy Christian being eliminated by St. Rose of Belmar Tuesday, only seven out of 23 GMC teams that qualified remain in the state tournament, with one of them – St. Joseph-Metuchen – yet to play, having a first round bye in Non-Public South A.

Here are Wednesday’s results, section by section, for games involving GMC teams, which are noted in CAPS:

Central Jersey, Group 4
(1) Manalapan def. (11) SAYREVILLE 11-1
(9) Marlboro def. (8) MONROE 11-4
(13) Princeton def. (4) EDISON 6-4
(6) Freehold Twp. def. (11) EAST BRUNSWICK 2-0
(7) NORTH BRUNSWICK def. (10) Hightstown 1-0

Central Jersey, Group 2
(8) Robbinsville def. (9) EAST BRUNSWICK TECH 13-0
(5) SPOTSWOOD def. (12) Johnson 3-2
(3) SOUTH PLAINFIELD def. (14) Manasquan 4-2
(10) Holmdel def. (7) METUCHEN 5-1

Central Jersey, Group 1
(12) Florence def. (5) PERTH AMBOY TECH 15-4
(4) SOUTH AMBOY def. (13) Bound Brook 6-5
(14) Riverside def. (3) SOMERSET TECH 10-7

North Jersey-Section 2, Group 4
(8) Franklin def. (9) JP STEVENS 2-1
(3) Watchung Hills def. (14) PERTH AMBOY 5-0

North Jersey-Section 2, Group 3
(4) Ferris def. (13) COLONIA 2-1
(11) Chatham def. (6) WOODBRIDGE 5-0
(7) West Morris def. (10) JFK 10-4

Here’s the upcoming schedule of state tournament games involving GMC teams, noted in CAPS:


Non-Public, South A
(5) ST. JOSEPH-METUCHEN at (4) Red Bank Catholic
*both teams had a first-round bye


Central Jersey, Group 4
(13) Princeton at (12) OLD BRIDGE
(7) NORTH BRUNSWICK at (2) Hunterdon Central

Central Jersey, Group 2
(5) SPOTSWOOD at (4) Voorhees
(11) Raritan at (3) SOUTH PLAINFIELD

Central Jersey, Group 1
(8) South Hunterdon at (1) MIDDLESEX
(12) Florence at (4) SOUTH AMBOY