Tag: Watchung Hills

Nearly all “chalk” matchups in Saturday’s Somerset County Tournament quarterfinals

The goal every year for the dozen or so – it changes from time to time – high school baseball teams in Somerset County is to get to TD Bank Park in Bridgewater, home of the Somerset Patriots.

That’s where the SCT semifinals and finals are held, and eight teams will get the chance to punch their ticket Saturday, with four quarterfinal games on tap. The top four seeds are all playing their first games in the tournament, having received the highly-coveted double-byes.

Top-seed Ridge (12-1) is coming off a 10-4 win over Pingry Friday afternoon, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, and will face 9-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (7-6) at noon in Basking Ridge. The Knights are the only lower seed to win a second-round game, beating 8-seed Immaculata 4-2 on the road a week ago.

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

The Red Devils beat Gill 12-1 in the season opener for both teams on April 2, scoring nine times in the first two innings. Brendan Callanan had four RBI in the game, while Mike Olivo knocked in three.

RECAP WITH AUDIO: No. 2 Ridge explodes in a 7-run fourth, hands No. 10 Pingry its first loss of season

The other three games are all at noon.

Second-seed Somerville (8-5) will host 7-seed Pingry (9-1) at 11 am at the Torpey Athletic Complex in Bridgewater. The Pioneers have won two straight since a pair of losses out of conference, and have won four straight against Skyland foes. The ‘Ville has won three straight against the Big Blue, whose last win against the Pioneers came back in 2013.

READ MORE: Somerville jumps out to big lead, hangs on to beat feisty Bridgewater-Raritan, 9-7

It will be interesting to see how a pretty good Pingry team – which suffered its first loss of the season Friday at Ridge – will rebound, especially playing its fourth game in as many days. They won Wednesday at Belvidere, 25-1, then edged Del Val at home 6-5 before Friday’s defeat.

Also at 11 am, 5-seed Watchung Hills (7-7) will visit 4-seed Bridgewater-Raritan (7-7), in perhaps the most evenly-matched game of the day. The Panthers had an off-day Friday after a four-game stretch from Monday to Thursday, winning the first three – including a couple of slugfests over Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Montgomery, before falling 10-6 to Hunterdon Central at home Thursday to end the stretch.


The Warriors have won two straight, 8-5 at Phillipsburg and 5-4 over Delbarton at home. Bridgewater has won four of the last five, head-to-head, going back to the beginning of the 2019 season.

Finally, 6-seed Rutgers Prep (9-2) will plat at 3rd-seed Montgomery (5-5). The Argonauts lost 9-1 to the Cougars on Day Two of the season, as Alex Benitez had a 3-for-3 day, and Adam Neufeld and Greg Blecikhart each knocked in a pair of runs, and Neufeld pitched six innings of five-hit, one-run ball.

READ MORE: Four homers, 5th inning onslaught, power Rutgers Prep past Bernards to keep Argos atop Valley

Monty has won three of the last four meetings – which have been rare – going all the way back to 2016.

The winner of Pingry/Somerville and Rutgers Prep/Montgomery will face off in one semifinal on May 9 in Bridgewater, while the other matchup will feature the winners of the Gill St. Bernards’s/Ridge and Watchung Hills/Bridgewater-Raritan games.

The semifinals are at 4 and 7 pm at TD Bank Park, and will be broadcast live by Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Somerset County Tournament continues with four first-round games Saturday

With all three higher seeds winning their opening round games back on Wednesday, the Somerset County Tournament moves to the second round on Saturday with four games, as Rutgers Prep, Pingry, Watchung Hills and Immaculata join the fray.

In the opening round, 12-seed Hillsborough – last in the packed Skyland Conference Delaware Division – picked up just its first win of the year, a 6-3 victory over 13-seed Bound Brook. Cole Jara knocked in half the runs Wednesday with 3 RBI on a 2-for-4 afternoon at the plate; he also had a stolen base.

11-seed Bernards squeaked past 14-seed Manville, winning 3-1 at home on Wednesday, while 10-seed Franklin pounded out 12 runs against 15-seed North Plainfield in a 12-5 home victory despite Dylan Millman being the only batter in the lineup with more than one hit; the Warriors worked out nine walks against Canucks pitching.

Saturday, in the second round, Franklin (4-4) will visit undefeated 7-seed Pingry (6-0) up in Martinsville at 11 am. The winner moves on the the quarterfinals next Saturday, April 30th, at second seed Somerville. The other side of that bracket has Bernards (3-6) at 6-seed Rutgers Prep (6-2) at noon, with the winner travelling next weekend to 3rd-seed Montgomery.

The other half of the SCT bracket has 12-seed Hillsborough (1-5) at 5-seed Watchung Hills (4-6) at 2 pm, with the winner going to visit 4-seed Bridgewater-Raritan next weekend. The other half of that side of the bracket has 9-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (5-4) playing at 8-seed Immaculata (5-4). Both teams had first-round byes, and – due to a scheduling conflict – will play Monday at 4 pm out at Diamond Nation in Flemington. The winner will visit top-seed Ridge next Saturday.

Click above to find out more about Freedom Martial Arts, with locations in Bridgewater and Hillsborough.

Following the quarterfinals, the semis will be May 9th at 4 and 7 pm at TD Bank Park in Bridgewater, the home of the Somerset Patriots. The finals are two weeks later, May 23 at 7 pm. The semifinals and finals can be heard live exclusively on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Other than top two, much movement in Week 2 Bellamy & Son Paving Baseball Top Ten

With an idle week, top-ranked St. Joseph of Metuchen stayed put in the Week Two Bellamy & Son Paving Baseball Top Ten, as did Ridge after a 1-1 week.

But after that, there was a good deal of movement in the rankings, as one would expect early in a season with most teams playing just a handful of games.

Case in point: Woodbridge – on the strength of a sweep of North Brunswick and a ten-run win over Colonia – vaulted into the rankings at No. 6 with a 5-0 record, the only team to make a debut this week.

South Brunswick, on the other hand, dropped to seventh, while Bridgewater-Raritan jumped from 5th to third, and Edison dropped out with a rough 0-3 start, including a sweep at the hands of South Plainfield.

READ MORE: South Plainfield bats around twice, knocks off No. 7 Edison 9-2 to sweep home-and-home set

Below are the full Week 2 Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten rankings, with each team’s record and previous rank:

Falcons hold on to top spot in Week 1 Bellamy & Son Paving Baseball Top Ten

On the strength of a 2-0 start to the season, St. Joseph of Metuchen remains No. 1 in the Week 1 Bellamy & Son Paving High School Baseball Top Ten.

The Falcons were 13-0 and 14-4 winners over Perth Amboy on Friday and Saturday, the 27 runs making for the most St. Joe’s has scored in a two-game GMC series against an opponent in at least 14 years (the oldest records publicly available go back to 2008).

Ridge pulled up to second with a 12-1 blowout win over Gill St. Bernard’s, while Watching Hills dropped two spots to fourth after opening with a 3-2 loss at North Hunterdon.

Monroe jumped into the rankings at No. 8, knocking out South Plainfield, after sweeping the Tigers with a 4-3 home win on Opening Day, and a 17-5 road win Saturday.

Below are the full Week One Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten Rankings:

St. Joe’s leads inaugural Bellamy & Son Paving Baseball Top Ten

Thanks to Joe Bellamy at Bellamy & Son Paving, high school baseball now has a weekly Top Ten on Central Jersey Sports Radio!

And it’s St. Joseph of Metuchen – the defending GMC Tournament champion – which holds the top spot in the preseason rankings.

The Falcons took the title last year over South Brunswick, which came in third, just behind second-ranked Watchung Hills, which is expected to be one of the top teams again in Somerset County.

Here’s the complete preseason Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, with each team’s 2021 record and postseason achievements, where applicable:

Gill St. Bernard’s boys finish No. 1 in final Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten

In the middle of February, St. Thomas Aquinas made a statement with a win over Gill St. Bernard’s in the Hearts 2 Hands Showcase at Roselle Catholic. Key players were missing for both teams, but it established the Trojans as the No. 1 team in the Bellamy & Son Paving Rankings.

But then, Gill beat Rutgers Prep in the Somerset County Tournament Final, and Rutgers Prep beat Aquinas in the Non-Public South A semifinals, en route to a sectional championship.

Aquinas beat Gill, which beat Prep, which beat Aquinas, which beat Gill….

Ultimately, Gill St. Bernard’s will close out the season as the No. 1 team in the final Bellamy & Son Top Ten.

The Knights – with a host of Division 1 players, including Georgetown-bound Denver Anglin and junior Mackenzie Mgbako – finished the season 20-7, with only three of those losses coming to New Jersey schools. They lost to Aquinas, took then-No. 1 Camden to the wire, and lost to eventual Tournament of Champions winner Roselle Catholic in Non-Public North B title game.

Rutgers Prep finished second, going 26-4, and bringing home the program’s first-ever sectional title. They rallied to beat Red Bank Catholic in the Non-Public South A title game down at Lenape High School.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the GMC Tournament Champion came in third, at 27-2, also the White Division Champions.

One previously-unranked team made it into the final rankings: South Plainfield. The Tigers finished 23-7, won the Blue Division in the GMC, and made it all the way to the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 finals, where they lost to Colonia, 56-52 in double-overtime. They finished seventh in the final rankings, while the Patriots finished fourth.

Below are the full final rankings:

Rutgers Prep boys’ advance in SCT, will look to “repeat” as champions

Yes, Rutgers Prep is looking for a repeat, two years later.

COVID-19 led to a shortened 2021 season, and a one-off Skyland Conference-wide pod postseason, so in this year is the next Somerset County Tournament final after 2020, and the Argonauts – who won that one – are back in it.

Second-seeded Prep (22-2) fairly easily handled third-seed Watchung Hills Thursday night in the SCT semis on Easton Avenue, pulling away from a 20-all tie in the second quarter to lead 39-26 at intermission.

The Argonauts were led by Ryan Zan’s 21 points and Cameron Piggee’s 19, while Ryan Pettit chipped in 12 and Jadin Collins added 11.

Next up, they get top-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (17-6), which cruised past Montgomery after a tight first quarter for a 65-49 win Thursday night. The final is 3pm Saturday, and you can hear the game live on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Click below for postgame reaction with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Chris Tsakonas:

Ryan Zan
Cameron Piggee
Head Coach Matt Bloom

Rutgers Prep remains No. 1 in Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Top Ten after loss to national power St. John Vianney

Sunday’s game at Kean University said less about Rutgers Prep than it said about just how untouchable St. John Vianney is this year. For the second week in a row the nation’s fifth-ranked team – according to ESPN – beat the No. 2 team in the New Jersey (last week it was Saddle River Day). This time it was the Argonauts, who still remain No. 1 in the Bellamy & Son Paving Week 8 Girls’ Basketball rankings, the final Top Ten until the end of the year, with the county tournaments set to get underway in earnest this week.

The top eight teams remained the same, in face, with only a handful of losses by those teams, and all to out-of-conference foes.

The rankings welcomed a new member for the first time since Week 5, with South Brunswick (15-6) jumping in at No. 9, replacing Watchung Hills, which had a rough week, going 0-4 with losses to Summit and Snyder out of league, then No. 5 Gill St. Bernard’s and No. 8 Mount St. Mary, dropping their record to 9-8.

Below is the full Week 8 Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Top Ten:

St. Thomas Aquinas holds on to No. 1 ranking in Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Top Ten

A second quarter rally and four-point win over No. 2 Gill St. Bernard’s – and a 2-0 week – keep St. Thomas Aquinas in the top spot in the Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball rankings for Week 8, the final ranking before the county tournaments get underway in earnest this week.

The Trojans – still without Jaquan Harris, coming off October knee surgery, and also without elite defender Terrel Pitts – beat Gill 61-65 Saturday night in the headliner of the Hearts 2 Hands Invitational at Roselle Catholic High School. The Knights were without two key players of their own; Denver Anglin sat with a wrist injury, and sophomore Naasir Cunningham – the top recruit nationally in the Class of 2024 – was a late scratch, not playing, though he was in the official scorebook.

GSB remains second despite the loss, followed by Rutgers Prep in third, and Colonia fourth, neither of whom lost last week.

In fact, the only change saw Franklin – which lost out of conference to Holmdel and to No. 7 Bound Brook – swap places with Watchung Hills, moving down to ninth, while Hills went up to eighth.

Below are the full Bellamy & Son Paving Week 8 Boys’ rankings:

Playoff update: Girls’ Basketball Public Sections

Central Jersey Sports Radio continues taking a look at the playoff picture, with Saturday’s NJSIAA cutoff for state tournament qualification almost immediately on the horizon. We’ve got a section-by-section breakdown of public girls’ basketball teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference and Somerset County. All power points are the official NJSIAA totals as made available on NJ.com as of 6:30 pm Thursday.

Central Jersey Group 4: While Hightstown (16-5) and Jackson Memorial (15-2) lead this section with 375 and 365 points respectively, Monroe (13-3, 357) should stay in third, with only Edison on the schedule tonight before Saturday, and the Eagles already are their lowest power point total, so they won’t gain. After Middletown South (13-4, 342) in fourth, there’s East Brunswick at 14-5, with 327 points. Most of these teams are fairly well in place, with maybe a chance they could nudge up or down one spot. Marlboro (11-7, 311) is sixth, followed by North Brunswick (12-7, 299) and South Brunswick (14-6, 297). Behind them are Montgomery (9-8, 282) and Old Bridge (11-6, 278) in tenth. Sayreville, though 6-12 (171 pts) should be in over Long Branch, which is 5-8 with 155 points.

North Jersey, Scetion 2 – Group 4: While it remains to be seen if Franklin (13-3, 367) is anything like its pre-pandemic self – they were en route to another Tournament of Champions appearance before COVID shut things down – they have steadily improved this year. Westfield (16-4, 409) is the top seed here, but the Warriors could be the definition of a “sneaky two-seed,” if such a thing actually exists. The shouldn’t get caught from behind either by Scotch Plains-Fanwood, which is in third at 14-3, with 366 points. Ridge, at just 9-12, with 293 points, actually checks in fifth, followed by Watchung Hills (9-6, 276) and Woodbridge (11-6, 267). Then Hillsborough is 9th, at 10-7 (264 points). In 14th and 15th, respectively, are Bridgewater-Raritan (3-17, 172) and JP Stevens (4-15, 171).

Central Jersey Group 3: Yes, the Colonia boys are in North 2, but the girls are in Central. That’s how it works when you have boys’ only and girls’ only schools. The Patriots (19-2, 382) are in second place, and the White Division champions of the GMC are likely to stay there. They won’t catch top-seed Ewing (15-1, 394) and the next closest team below them – Wall (14-4) – is 58 points back. Go all the way outside the top 8 and you’ll find South Plainfield (10-8) in 9th with 246 points. It’s unlikely could earn a home game by jumping up, because they can’t get any more residuals. Down at 12 is Somerville (9-8, 215), then JFK (9-8, 199).

Central Jersey Group 2: Manasquan (19-3) is the top team here with 485 points, then New Providence (17-1, 423), but third-place Middlesex (16-2, 369) is well behind them. The question is, can Bound Brook (15-4, 367) gain two points to jump fourth-place Rumson-Fair Haven (12-8, 368)? Not in residuals, and their highest power point total is 16. But if they beat 17-2 Woodbury Saturday? Sure could! Checking in at No. 8 is South River (14-5, 282), then Johnson (11-7, 246) and Spotswood (12-7, 240) in tenth. Metuchen is in 12th at 9-9 (198), and Piscataway Tech is solidly in, but 15th place at 8-10 (157).

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 2: The only area team here is Bernards (5-10, 182) checking in at No. 11. The top seed here is Madison (12-6, 328).

Central Jersey Group 1: After top team New Egypt, at 12-1, 316 points, there’s Woodbridge Academy (15-2, 303). Probably can’t make up that ground, but a 2-seed is nice, too. Somerset Tech (12-5, 254) is in fourth, seven points ahead of Shore (10-10) in fifth. Down to nine we find Perth Amboy Tech (6-9, 154), which won’t crack the top eight. Immediately behind them are Manville (4-13, 150) and Highland Park (6-13, 149). Dunellen (4-14, 121) is in 13th.