Tag: state playoffs

Top-seed Ridge DQ’d from state tournament by NJSIAA after pitch count violation

As first reported by NJ Advance Media’s Luis Torres, the Ridge baseball team – the top seed in the North 2, Group 4 playoffs – has been disqualified from the rest of the state tournament after a pitch count violation.

The report says the violation came in the Red Devils’ 8-1 quarterfinal win over eighth-seed Westfield on Thursday, when ace Connor Byrne threw 82 pitches, following a 69-pitch outing Monday against Piscataway. That would have given him 151 pitches thrown in a period of four calendar days, one over the NJSIAA pitch limit for a five-day calendar period.

According to the NJSIAA pitch count rules, the five-day rule is a hard limit of 150 pitches. The rule says: “Once the 150-pitch limit in five calendar days is reached, the pitcher may not continue with the current batter.”

That’s different from the single-day rule, which says once the 110-pitch limit is reached, a pitcher may continue until the batter reaches base, is retired, or the third out is recorded to complete that half-inning or game.

The rule did not always include the caveat that a pitcher who reaches 150 in a five-day period must be removed immediately.

The report by NJ Advance Media said the game was protested by Westfield, to determine whether or not Byrne exceeded the limit.

The NJSIAA provided the following statement in an email to Central Jersey Sports Radio Saturday afternoon: “During Thursday’s quarterfinal game of the NJSIAA Section 2, Group 4 baseball tournament, Ridge High School violated pitch count rules. As a result, its pitcher was declared ineligible and, per rule, Ridge was required to forfeit. Westfield High School will now advance to face Bayonne High School on Tuesday (5/30).”

The NJSIAA rules state: “Failure to remove a pitcher when he has reached the maximum number of pitches thrown is the basis for protest by the opposing coach. If the protest is upheld, the penalty shall be forfeiture of the game.”

Ridge head coach Tom Blackwell, when reached via text message, said he was speaking to his team on a Zoom call. This story will be updated with additional comments, if available.

The result means Ridge – one of the favorites to win not only the section, but maybe even a statewide Group 4 title – is out, and Westfield is back in. The Blue Devils will now play at fifth-seed Bayonne Tuesday in one semifinal game, while third-seed Woodbridge and two-seed Bridgewater-Raritan square off in the other semifinal, for a trip to the North 2, Group 4 championship game.

It also means whichever CJSR-area team wins the Woodbridge-Bridgewater game would now be guaranteed to host the finals, since the teams in the other semi would both be lower seeds.

It’s Championship Friday! Five area teams vie for state sectional titles

One team seems like they’re there every year. Another has some of the deepest pitching in their league. A third has played the role of underdog to the hilt. And of the other two, one is guaranteed to go home a champion today.

Those are the story lines this Friday, as Middlesex, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, Immaculata and Gill St. Bernard’s all play for sectional titles in four separate championship games this afternoon.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will bring you one of those contests live, the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 title tilt between 3rd-seed Woodbridge and top-seed Hunterdon Central. Game time is at 3. Pregame begins at 2:30 from Flemington with Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas calling all the action. Click here to listen.

Scroll down for previews and more details on all four title games involving CJSR-area teams:

North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 Championship Game:

(3) Woodbridge (25-6) at
(1) Hunterdon Central (23-4)
3:00 pm Friday in Flemington, NJ

Starting Pitchers:
Woodbridge – Eddie Nunez (9-2, 1.98 ERA)
Hunterdon Central – Kyle McCoy (6-0, 0.00 ERA)


Woodbridge head coach Mike Monaco
Hunterdon Central head coach Kevin Cuozzi


1st Round: def. (14) Newark East Side, 12-2
Quarterfinals: def. (6) Westfield, 8-4
Semifinals: def. (2) Ridge, 5-4 (11 innings)

Hunterdon Central:
1st Round: def. (16) Phillipsburg, 14-0
Quarterfinals: def. (9) Elizabeth, 10-1
Semifinals: def. (4) Watchung Hills, 4-0

Key Stats:

Eddie Nunez can go nearly the distance Friday, having thrown 46 pitches against Ridge in relief in their 11-inning marathon Tuesday. That means he has 104 remaining, six shy of the 110 pitch limit for a single game. Matt Troche and Drew Lukachyk are also available, but Josh Vazquez – who started the Ridge game, is not.

Troche – at a respectable .239 – has the lowest average in the starting lineup, and only three starters are hitting below .300 heading into the final, which means there are no easy outs in the Barrons lineup.

Yes, you read that right about Kyle McCoy. The tall, lanky lefty has not allowed a single earned run all year, letting up just one inconsequential run up all year, that in the Red Devils’ opening round playoff game, a 16-1 victory over Elizabeth. He’s being talked about as an MLB Draft prospect, and head coach Kevin Cuozzi says they’ve eased him off the gas pedal a bit this year – something he can afford to do with a deep staff – to keep him McCoy fresh just for this time of year.

Championship History:

Woodbridge is seeking its first-ever state title, in only its fourth finals appearance since the advent of the playoffs in 1971. They were champs in 1935, 1938 and 1939, those last two coming under Nick Priscoe, who also was the football coach, and for whom the Barrons football stadium is named. His teams won double championships – in baseball and football – in ’38 and ’39, and he also won a state title on the gridiron in 1960.

In the playoffs, Woodbridge is oh-for-three in finals:

  • 1977: lost to Piscataway, 2-1, in the Central Jersey Group 4 final
  • 1987: lost to Hunterdon Central, 3-0, in the Central Jersey Group 4 final
  • 2017: lost to Millburn, 3-1, in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 final

Hunterdon Central last won a sectional title in 2018, when they went 28-2. They beat Manalpan 4-0 in the CJ 4 final, then went on to win the statewide Group 4 title, beating Westfield 7-0 in the championship game.

The also won the Central 4 title in 2017 (2-1 over Freehold) but lost to Millburn in the statewide Group 4 final, 10-5. In 2016, they beat South Brunswick 12-2 to win the CJ 4 title, then won the state Group 4 crown with a 4-2 win over Morristown. In 2013, they beat Brick Memorial in the CJ4 final, 2-1, but lost to Eastern in the Group 4 semis.

The Red Devils’ last sectional final loss came to Hillsborough in 2012, a 6-1 defeat. The Raiders that year went all the way to the Group 4 final, where they lost to Manalapan, 2-0, finishing 17-14.

More Red Devils: If Woodbridge is to win its first-ever sectional championship, they will have beaten the Red Devils in back-to-back games: Ridge in the semifinals, Hunterdon Central in the finals.

What’s Next? The winner of this game goes on to host the winner of North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4, based on the rotating host sites pre-determined by the NJSIAA. (Last year was the first year of that system, with Central and North 1 champions hosting. This year, South and North 2 champs host.) The North 2, Group 4 final is between 2-seed Passaic Tech (25-5) and 4-seed Livingston (20-8). That game is scheduled for 1:30 this afternoon at PCTI.


Central Jersey Group 4 Championship Game:

(9) East Brunswick (17-2) at
(2) Howell (22-6)
2:00 pm Friday in Howell, NJ

Starting Pitchers:
East Brunswick – Joe Ditzel (4-1, 0.84 ERA)
Howell – Nick Gomes (4-1, 2.76 ERA)


East Brunswick:
1st Round: def. (8) Freehold Twp., 8-6
Quarterfinals: def. (1) Middletown South, 1-0
Semifinals: def. (5) North Brunswick, 4-2 (8 innings)

1st Round: def. (15) Manalapan, 3-1
Quarterfinals: def. (7) Monroe, 5-4
Semifinals: def. (3) Jackson Memorial, 3-2

Key Stats:

East Brunswick has beaten all higher seeds to get to the final, including the top-seed, defending champ and heavy favorite Middletown South in the quarterfinals. And their win over 5th-seed North Brunswick was a revenge win for the Bears. They lost a regular season meeting in walk-off fashion on back-to-back home runs, and a 1-0 game in the GMC Tournament semifinals that took 12 innings.

The key pitching number to know is Ditzel’s sub-one earned run average. The Bears have allowed just eight runs in their first three state playoff games, including that shutout of Midd South. They’ve been playing solid baseball the last month or so

Championship History:

It’s been a while for both of these schools: East Brunswick has won only one sectional title, Central Jersey Group 4 in 1997. Howell hasn’t won since 1994. One very long streak will come to an end today.

What’s next? The winner here gets the South Jersey Group 4 winner. That game features 6th-seed Cherokee (21-7) at top-seed Kingsway (26-4), and is being played at noon today.


Central Jersey Group 1 Championship Game:

(1) Middlesex (23-5) vs.
(2) Point Pleasant Beach (19-9)
4:00 pm Friday at Mountainview Park in Middlesex, NJ

Starting Pitchers:
Middlesex – Stephen Young (4-1, 3.05 ERA) OR Aidan Kozak (4-1, 1.60 ERA)
Point Pleasant Beach – James Larsen (3-3, 4.62 ERA)


1st Round: def. (16) Highland Park, 10-0 (5 innings)
Quarterfinals: def. (8) Riverside, 12-3 (6 innings)
Semifinals: def. (5) Shore, 11-1 (6 innings)

Point Pleasant Beach:
1st Round: def. (15) Henry Hudson, 10-0 (5 innings)
Quarterfinals: def. (7) Bound Brook, 4-0
Semifinals: def. (3) New Egypt, 9-1

Key Stats:

These teams have met in the Central Jersey Group 1 title game each of the last three playoff seasons, with Middlesex winning them all. Yes, they certainly have the Garnet Gulls’ number. The Jays beat them on a walk-off last year 2-1. They beat them in 2019, 6-1. And Middlesex shut them out 2-0 to win the CJ1 title in 2018.

For good measure, they also beat Point Beach in the 2017 Central 1 quarterfinals, making it four straight seasons they’ve ended Point’s year.

Championship History:

The numbers for Middlesex under Justin Nastasi indicate a dynasty. To wit:

  • 2021: GMC Blue Division Champions, Central 1 Champs, Group 1 State Champions
  • 2019: GMC Blue Division Champions, Central 1 Champs
  • 2018: GMC Blue Division Co-Champions, Central 1 Champs, Group 1 State Champions
  • 2017: Central 1 Champs, Group 1 State Champions
  • 2016: no titles
  • 2015: Central 1 Champs

It’s quite the remarkable run for the Blue Jays, who nearly moved up to Group 2 this year. Football and basketball did, but not baseball, owing to the different number of schools in each sport that field teams.

What’s next? The winner here gets the victor in the South Jersey Group 1 title game, featuring 9-seed Woodstown (16-9) at 6-seed Paulsboro (16-9). If it’s the Blue Jays and Woodstown, it would be a rematch of last year’s Group 1 semifinal at Middlesex, which they won 7-5 on a walk-off grand slam with two outs by Bobby Ulmer – you can read the recap and hear the game winning call below. Except this year, the game would be down at Woodstown, a mere 92 miles down the Turnpike, and South of the Mason-Dixon Line.

At today’s gas prices, assuming 30 miles per gallon, that’s about a $30 trip, plus another $11 in tolls round-trip.



Non-Public North B Championship Game:

(6) Gill St. Bernard’s (15-13) at
(5) Immaculata (13-12)
1:00 pm Friday at Diamond Nation in Flemington, NJ

Starting Pitchers:
Gill St. Bernard’s: Logan Mote (2-4, 4.16 ERA) OR Carter Nowak (4-3, 3.32 ERA)
Immaculata: Matt Warzeniak (3-2, 2.56 ERA)


Gill St. Bernard’s:
1st Round: def. (11) Mater Dei, 13-3 (5 innings)
Quarterfinals: def. (3) Montclair-Kimberley, 7-4
Semifinals: def. (2) St. Mary-Rutherford, 3-0

1st Round: def. (12) Newark Academy, 10-0 (5 innings)
Quarterfinals: def. (4) Morristown-Beard, 9-6
Semifinals: def. (1) Rutgers Prep, 11-2

Key Stats:

One, two and three.

One, as in only one meeting ever between these two teams in the schools’ histories, at least so far as anyone remembers. And that meeting, ironically enough, came this year, when Gill beat the Spartans in the second round of the Somerset County Tournament, 4-2, also out at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

Two, as in Gill St. Bernard’s – until the state tournament – had not won more than two games in a row all season.

Three, as in the Knights also haven’t lost more than three games in a row all season, and they only did that once, in late April/early May. Immaculata, meanwhile, has been slightly more up-and-down all year. The Spartans opened the season 0-3 – including a season-opening 15-4 loss to Somerville as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio – but then reeled off three straight wins to get back to .500 by mid-April. They had two more three-game skids throughout the year, and two more three-game winning streaks, including in the playoffs heading into today’s final.

Championship History:

The Spartans have had immense Somerset County Tournament success, winning a record 14 titles, all between 1991 and 2019, including an unprecedented run of six straight from 1997 to 2002, and four of the next five from 2004 to 2008.

But the state tournament is always tougher. Still, the Spartans have four to their credit, plus two group titles:

  • 2010: South A and Group A Non-Public Champs (beat St. Joseph-Metuchen in the Group A final)
  • 1997: North A Champs (lost to Bishop Eustace in the Group A final)
  • 1995: North B Champs and Group B Non-Public Champs (beat Gloucester Catholic in the Group B final)
  • 1985: North B Champs (lost to Gloucester Catholic in the Group B final)

For Gill St. Bernard’s, this will be their fourth trip to a sectional final in the last six seasons, still looking to bring home their first hardware. Previous finals appearances:

  • 2019: Lost at St. Mary-Rutherford 2-1 (North B)
  • 2018: Lost at DePaul 8-4 (North B)
  • 2016: Lost at Holy Cross 4-3 (South B)

What’s next? Since there are only two sections in each non-public group, unlike the four in the public ranks, the winner of this game goes right on to the Non-Public Group B final next Wednesday at Veterans’ Park in Hamilton. Central Jersey Sports Radio will broadcast the game, which should be either at 4 or 7 pm. Immaculata or Gill would get the winner of the South B title game, which is being played at 3:30 today, and features (2) Gloucester Catholic (21-9) at (1) Ranney (24-5) in Tinton Falls.


Middlesex’s Nastasi isn’t surprised at Woodbridge run to the North 2, Group 4 final

Hunterdon Central is the top seed in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 NJSIAA playoff section, and for good reason. They’ve had a tremendous season, are loaded with talent, including legitimate MLB draft prospect Kyle McCoy, and are one of the deepest teams in the state.

They’re ranked No. 5 in the NJ.com Top 20 this week, too.

But Ridge was the second-seed, and No. 6 in the state last week, and Woodbridge beat them.

Few gave them a chance.

But the Barrons believed, and so did Justin Nastasi, whose team swept the Barrons in a mid-May home-and-home to clinch the White Division title outright over Woodbridge.

But still, Nastasi says he knew it was a good Woodbridge team they beat, one that could be poised to make some noise in the state tournament.

While his Blue Jays will be taking on Point Pleasant Beach for a fourth straight time in the Central Jersey Group 1 finals – 4 pm Friday at Mountainview Park – the Barrons will play top-seed and heavy favorite Hunterdon Central in the North 2, Group 4 title game, at 3 pm on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Nastasi believes the Barrons very much have a chance.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Justin Nastasi about the Woodbridge Barrons:

Red-hot Bears perfectly poised to win East Brunswick’s first state title in 25 years

The year was 1997, and it was the pinnacle of success in the long and storied history of the East Brunswick High School baseball program.

Sure, the Bears had won county titles before. In fact, they won the first-ever GMC Tournament in 1986, beating Madison Central 14-3 in the finals. They won another in 1991.

But in 1997, EB was king – going the distance to win their first – and to this day, only – state title. The next day, they won the GMC Tournament again. Both times, Ryan Molchan came up big.

On May 30th, he threw a two-hit shutout at Mercer County Park to beat Edison and Rutgers star and MLB prospect Bobby Brownlie 5-0 in the Central Jersey Group 4 title game.

One May 31st, he went three-for-four, but most importantly singled home Scott Wells with two out in the bottom of the seventh to beat JFK, 3-2.

Yes, two championships in two days.

Friday, the 2022 Bears (17-12) will try to win the school’s second state championship, when 9th-seed East Brunswick travels to 2nd-seed Howell (22-6) for the Central Jersey Group 4 title game.

They didn’t win the GMC this year, getting beaten in the semifinals 1-0 in 12 innings by North Brunswick. But they exacted revenge on the Raiders for that – and a walk-off defeat in the regular season on back-to-back homers – by beating them 4-2 in eight innings Tuesday in the sectional semis.

And the hero in that game was Ryan Schultz, who came up as a pinch hitter in the eighth and drove in the winning run.

Joe Ditzel – not even one of the team’s top two starters – will get the nod, but he’s no slouch. He’s got an ERA of under one (0.86) and has allowed just one earned run – the lone run in that GMCT semifinal game against North Brunswick – in his last seven appearances.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Schultz and Ditzel ahead of Friday’s state title game:

Junior Ryan Schultz
Junior Joe Ditzel

INSTANT REPLAY-North 2, Group 4 Quarterfinals: (2) Ridge 2, (7) Bridgewater-Raritan 1

Matt Shawah’s hard-hit infield single in the bottom of the seventh gave second-seed Ridge a 2-1 walk-off win over 7th-seed Bridgewater-Raritan in a North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 quarterfinal playoff game in Basking Ridge.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko call all the action on Saturday, June 4, 2022:

Defending champ Ridge walks off Bridgewater-Rartitan in another playoff thriller to advance to North 2, Group 4 semifinals

After playing five-and-a-half scoreless innings, with both pitchers throwing well – and getting out of minor jams when they had to – second-seed Ridge finally broke thorough against seventh-seed Bridgewater-Raritan in their North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon.

The Red Devils got a leadoff walk from Matt Shawah, and after a sac bunt moved him to second, and he advanced to third on a wild pitch, Mike Olivo put his team up 1-0 with an RBI single. And they could have had more, had Olivo not been caught trying to steal third after a pitch in the dirt that he may have thought Bridgewater catcher Matt Salinger had lost in front of him.

Click the logo above to learn more about baseball training and more at Zoned Sports Academy in Bridgewater!

But the Panthers came back. Connor Byrne – looking to go the distance for Ridge – struck out JR Rosado and Frankie Verano. But he reached his one-game pitch count after a double by Matt Moore, and came out of the game. Brendan Callanan came in from shortstop and gave up an RBI single to BR pinch-hitter Tim Travisano, and we were back tied again, now at 1-1.

Now, it was Ridge’s turn not to be denied. Starter Jason Cozzi entered the seventh allowing just two hits all afternoon to the Red Devils. But after a fly-out to center by Matt Aber and a pop up to second by Julian Kielb, catcher George Busnach walked. Luke Somelofske singled. And Andrew Shawah walked. Yes, the bottom three in the order – a lineup with no one hitting less than .280 all year – had set it up for leadoff man Matt Shahwah.

He hit a line drive roller between third and short that Matt Moore couldn’t handle off his glove, but deep in the hole, he probably wouldn’t have had a play anywhere for the third out. It was ruled a hit – a two-out RBI infield hit – driving in courtesy runner Brian Capato from third, and Ridge walked-off with a 2-1 win over the Panthers, to move on to the North 2 Group 4 semifinals on Tuesday afternoon, likely at 4 pm, here in Basking Ridge.

Byrne struck out seven, including the first two outs in the seventh. Callanan got the win in relief, his third against the Panthers this season.

The Red Devils will play third-seed Woodbridge in the semis, as the Barrons beat 6th-seed Westfield 8-4 at home Saturday afternoon.

Click below for postgame reaction from Ridge’s quarterfinal win over Bridgewater-Raritan:

Matt Shawah, with the game-winning RBI infield hit
Ridge head coach Tom Blackwell

Rutgers Prep rallies for wild, late comeback win over Red Bank Catholic to claim Argos’ first-ever sectional title

After a back-and-forth first quarter, Red Bank Catholic took a lead in the second quarter, was up six at halftime, and ballooned it to 12 in the third quarter.

Things weren’t looking good for Rutgers Prep, except slowly they chipped away, and eventually, overtook the Caseys with solid D, and another career high night for Jadin Collins.

Yes, he had another career-high, back-to-back such efforts, with 33 points to lead third-seed Rutgers Prep to the Non-Public South A title, beating top-seed Red Bank Catholic 63-to-60.

Two key plays down the stretch helped seal the victory once the Argonauts – who’d gotten the dozen-point lead down to one with just under two minutes to go – took the lead with about a minute to go.

They forced a bad pass to an open C.J. Ruoff in the corner, who would have hoisted a three, and drew a charge underneath to force another turnover.

Collins did the rest on offense for Prep, scoring 16 of his 33 in the fourth, key bucket after key bucket.

Next up for Rutgers Prep, the South A champions take on the North A champs, Bergen Catholic, who beat Don Bosco Prep in Franklin Wednesday night, 69-57.

Click below for postgame reaction from junior Jadin Collins and head coach Matt Bloom:

Colonia, South Plainfield boys advance to sectional finals; Amboy Tech and Manville eliminated

Note: Correction on South Plainfield’s game time to noon, not 11 am.

Monday’s North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 Final could very much be an all-GMC affair. Or it might not.

But the potential is there, as both top-seed Colonia and second-seed South Plainfield moved on with sectional quarterfinal wins on Thursday night.

The Patriots beat 9th-seeded Cranford 57-43, sending Colonia (23-4) to Saturday’s semifinals – which they’ll host – against 5th-seed Mendham (17-8), which won at 4-seed Voorhees Thursday night, 41-34. That game is scheduled to tip at 2:30 pm.

Second-seed South Plainfield was a 73-54 home winner over 10-seed Mount Olive. The Tigers (22-6) will host 3rd-seed West Morris (16-11), which beat 6-seed Belleville 75-55. That game tips Saturday at high noon.

Meanwhile, the only two CJSR-area teams in Central Jersey Group 1 were eliminated in Thursday night’s sectional quarterfinals. Fourth-seed Perth Amboy Tech was knocked out with a 53-42 home loss to Florence, while 10th-seed Manville was beaten 82-53 at second-seed Keyport.

Overall, just ten teams from the GMC and Somerset County remain left in the boys’ state tournament.

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: