Friday, May 30, 2014

Wrestling: P'burg adds Hanover Park to schedule

Phillipsburg added another heavyweight to its 2014-15 wrestling schedule.

Hanover Park, last season's Group 2 runner-up, will come to The Pit for the first time in program history on Wednesday, Feb. 4. The match is one of two that had yet to be added, while coach Dave Post finalized another independent date with his 'Liners traveling to Raritan on Saturday, Feb. 7. 

Post said the match against Hanover Park was confirmed on Thursday. The Hornets are coached by former three-time New Jersey state champion James LaValle. Post said he previously contacted assistant coach Tyler Branham, the former Kittatinny star, about getting the teams together at The Pit.

"We're pretty excited about it," said Post, who guided P'burg to its second Group 4 championship in three seasons last February. "They've got one heck of a team coming back -- 11 starters [including two-time state champ Anthony Cefolo and qualifiers Lou Raimo and Christian Bassolino]. We wanted to make sure we got a lot of the top teams [on the schedule] or ones we think will be quality and competitive."

P'burg is still looking to fill one independent date for Saturday, Jan. 31. Post said he has reached out to Paramus, coached by former Wilson (Pa.) state champ Steve Klass to fill that date. Post said a potential match with Roxbury fell through since both schools could not find a mutually acceptable date. He's hopeful that a match with the Gaels will happen for 2015-16.

"We need one more [match] to sure it up. We're not really interested in a team that's not going to be competitive," Post said. "It's tough because the good teams don't have many open dates to begin with and you have to work quick to fill those indy dates."

Post said that LaValle really wanted to make a match happen, so much so that Hanover Park may have shuffled its schedule to accommodate it. The Hornets went 19-4 last season and dropped a heartbreaker in the Group 2 final -- 34-33 to High Point, which pulled out a thrilling victory with pins in the final four bouts. The 'Liners will also host the Wildcats on Jan. 24.

"[LaValle] was really flexible. We gave them two dates and either one was fine for them," Post said. "We got to see them at Ironhorse last year. They're a good, tough team with tough kids. We wanted to get a team that wouldn't be overwhelmed by the environment [at The Pit]. James is really excited about having his kids experience The Pit."

Though the start of the high school season is still months away, there is already a buzz surrounding what is traditionally a very tough P'burg schedule that just got a little more challenging. The summer schedule is in full force as the 'Liners will attend the Hunterdon Duals on June 8.

"We're excited to get going," Post said. "The kids are excited for the opportunity." 

Phillipsburg's schedule for 2014-15

Note: Does not include a match for Saturday, Jan. 31

Dec. 20-21 -- at Beast of the East Tournament in Newark, Del.
Dec. 23 -- at Howell
Dec. 28-29 -- at Bethlehem (Pa.) Holiday Classic (Liberty High School)
Jan. 2 -- West Morris
Jan. 3 -- Northampton (Pa.)
Jan. 5 -- at North Hunterdon
Jan. 7 -- Kittatinny
Jan. 9-10 -- Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament (at Hopatcong)
Jan. 14 -- at Delaware Valley
Jan. 16 -- at Voorhees
Jan. 17 -- Easton (Pa.)
Jan. 21 -- Bound Brook
Jan. 23 -- Parkland (Pa.)
Jan. 24 -- High Point
Jan. 28 -- Hunterdon Central
Jan. 29 -- Warren Hills
Feb. 4 -- Hanover Park
Feb. 7 -- at Raritan
Feb. 11 -- Sectional semifinals
Feb. 13 -- Sectional finals
Feb. 15 -- Group championships at Toms River North
Feb. 20-21 -- District 1 Tournament at Mount Olive
Feb. 25, 27-28 -- Region 1 Tournament at Wallkill Valley
March 6-8 -- State Tournament at Atlantic City

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Field hockey: Franceschino to return as Seaters coach

Beth Franceschino, a former standout player and coach at Belvidere High School, is returning to the sidelines after a 10-year absence.

Franceschino, formerly Beth Pursell, is expected to be approved as the new head coach at Wednesday night's Board of Education meeting. Athletic director Timmothy Gast and assistant principal Jason Klebez did not return messages seeking comment.

Franceschino will take over for Kristin Gaitan, who recently stepped down after five seasons in charge of the Warren County program. Gaitan's teams went 55-35-6 overall and earned berths in the sectional playoffs in all five seasons -- going 0-5 in those games.

Gaitan will remain on staff as a health and physical education teacher at the high school. Franceschino, who had been coaching the seventh and eighth grade program, teaches fifth grade students at Oxford Street Elementary, adjacent to the high school.

"This was a really hard deciscion, but I am expecting another baby, my fourth child in the middle of [next] season on Oct. 12, said Gaitan, who coached the majority of her time at Belvidere while pregnant. "I've done it before, the first year [at Belvidere], I had the exact same due date. I was back at practice five to seven days later.

"But family dynamics change and going from two to four [kids] is a big difference. My husband [Harold] has been a single parent during the field hockey season. It was a really hard choice and he said if I wanted to do it, we'd make it work. But you miss a lot and I don't think people realize what your family gives up."

In 2013, Belvidere went 6-10-3 -- its only losing season under Gaitan and its first since going 6-11 in 2008. In 2011, the County Seaters finished 15-5 and reached the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament semifinals for the first time. The 15 wins were the most in a season since '96.

"I do feel I made an impact, we have a lot of kids playing [in college] and the kids play hockey year-round," said Gaitan, who played for Newton coach Lisa Bechtel and was on her staff before joining Belvidere in 2009. "I would've loved to win a section or a conference championship and I'm bummed we didn't. It doesn't mean I didn't enjoy every second of it. I was in it for the long haul, but things change."

Franceschino guided the County Seaters for six seasons from 1999 to 2004. Her '03 squad snapped the program's seven-year drought by qualifying for the state playoffs -- when teams needed to have a .500 record to get in -- and the '04 team went 10-9-1 with a state playoff berth in her final season. She's a link to the program's glory days.

As Beth Pursell, she was a star player under former legendary coach Sally Ueberroth, who guided the '96 team that captured the program's seventh and last sectional title. Belvidere is 0-8 in state playoff games since that title run, including a 4-0 loss to Boonton last season in a North 1, Group 1 first-round contest.

Ueberroth served two stints as head coach, retiring a second time following the 1998 season, and built Belvidere into a statewide powerhouse. Her teams went 130-41-12 overall in 10 seasons and made six Group 1 final appearances -- winning titles in 1989 and '90 -- and winning the Hunterdon-Warren Tournament championship in '92.

Belvidere has never enjoyed that kind of success before or after Ueberroth's tenure and has gone through five head coaches since '98 -- counting Franceschino's two stints. Meredith Hansler (2005) and Laurie Lefkowitz (2006-08) also served as head coaches.

"We created an award named after Sally, she was phenomenal," said Gaitan, who is expecting a son join her three daughters ages 8, 4 and 15 months. "When she was here there was a level of expectations. She is certainly to be admired. I'm hoping that it comes back."

Gaitan currently serves as a coach in the Belvidere youth program and will continue to do so, along with her varsity assistant, Caralee Gately. The pair formed the non-profit Skylands field hockey program, which also features an adult league.

"I know the potential this [Belvidere] program has," Gaitan said. "I know what's coming up and that was hard for me as well. There's some good talent coming up."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Baseball: HWS weekly schedule for May 26-31

Tuesday, May 27

(All games 4 p.m., unless noted)

NJSIAA playoffs

Mount Olive at Sparta in North 1, Group 3 semifinals
Lodi at Lenape Valley in North 1, Group 2 semifinals

Wednesday, May 28

Skyland Conference

Pingry at South Hunterdon, 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 29

Skyland Conference

Bernards at South Hunterdon, 4:15 p.m.

Friday, May 30 

NJSIAA playoffs

Lenape Valley at Ramsey in North 1, Group 2 final, 3 p.m.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Baseball: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex standings

   (Through Wednesday's games)

Skyland Conference
Delaware Division
xy-Hunterdon Central
North Hunterdon
Watchung Hills
Raritan Division
Warren Hills
Delaware Valley
Valley Division
Gill St. Bernard's
North Plainfield
South Hunterdon
Bound Brook
Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Freedom Division
x-Lenape Valley
Wallkill Valley
North Warren
American Division
Mount Olive
Pope John
High Point
Morris Knolls
Morris Hills
Independence Division
x-Morris Catholic
Mountain Lakes
Sussex Tech
x-division champion
y-county champion

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wrestling: Streaks to host 'Liners in Pin Cancer match

The third annual Pin Cancer match between Warren Hills and Phillipsburg will be held on Friday, July 25 at Warren Hills School District Stadium. Match time is 7 p.m. Phillipsburg defeated Warren Hills, 65-9, when the teams met during the 2013-14 season in Washington.

The coaches -- P'burg's Dave Post and Warren Hills' Jarrett Hosbach will announce their probable lineups in the coming weeks, so check back here for that information.

Ticket price is $5. All proceeds go to cancer research and development. See either coach for more information and be sure to check out for more info on this tremendous organization.

(Box from this season's dual meet)


152 -- Jr. Jimmy Schuitema, P, p. Sr. Esco Blaylock, 1:10.
160 -- Jr. Max Elling, P, p. Sr. Ryan Ostir, 4:55.
170 -- Sr. Broderick Bupivi, P, p. So. Kurt Nemeth, 2:28.
182 -- Sr. Jake Kocsis, P, d. Sr. Steve Cleaver, 6-1.
195 -- Jr. Joe Maso, P, p. Sr. Nigel Taylor, 3:10.
220 -- Fr. Drew Horun, P, d. Sr. Ryan Witner, 3-2.
285 -- Jr. Andrew Pacheco, WH, forfeit.
106 -- So. Kyle Markus, P, p. So. Ryan Mosher, 2:53.
113 -- So. Brandon Paetzell, P, tf. Fr. Matt Valli, 20-5, 4:18.
120 -- Fr. Zach Nauta, WH, d. So. DJ Wissing, 10-6.
126 -- Sr. Tylor Petchonka, P, p. Jr. Austin Pidoto, 2:37.
132 -- Jr. Steve Friedman, P, p. Jr. Carsen Johnson, 3:18.
138 -- Jr. Corey Zinsmeister, P, p. Jr. Max Nauta, 1:06.
145 -- Sr. Garrett Wolfinger, P, p. So. Anthony Roessner, 2:46.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Baseball: Newton wins; Lenape advances in playoffs

NEWTON -- Nick Grant certainly came up aces when Newton's baseball team needed it most.

The junior left-hander fired a four-hit shutout and delivered the game's only RBI as the Braves posted a 1-0 victory over North Warren on Monday in the opening round of the North 1, Group 2 playoffs at Memory Park.

Newton (14-8), the No. 3 seed, which has won four in a row and six of its last eight, advances to face either No. 6 Lodi -- a 1-0 winner over No. 11 Pascack Hills -- in the quarterfinals. A year ago, the Braves' stellar season -- in which they won 18 games and the program's first NJAC Freedom Division title, ended with a 13-3 loss to Pascack Hills in the sectional semifinals on this field.

Needless to say, the wait to enjoy the sweet taste of success rather than the bitter pill it swallowed in last year's playoffs was worth it.

"I go out every time like it's another game, but this was a big game for us being the first round of states," said Grant, who improved to 4-1 with his second shutout of the season. "The whole season, we've been looking forward to this day. We came out excited, but relaxed. We played good today."

Grant was in complete control, allowing just four singles and three walks while striking out eight. Only three times did an opposing runner reach second base.

"I started to think [that one run might be enough] by the fourth or fifth inning," said Newton coach John Selitto, whose team has yielded 11 runs in its last eight games and had beaten North Warren twice in the regular season -- 16-4 on April 23 and 13-0 on May 6. "Our whole approach was to take the ball the [opposite] way and we ran ourselves out of scoring position a few times. You can't normally get away with that, but we got great pitching from Nick."

This one was a pitchers' duel the whole way as North Warren senior right-hander Alex Hladik (6-1) fired six strong innings in the tough-luck loss. The Fordham-bound Hladik also had eight K's and three walks and scattered seven hits -- all singles. In his seven decisions, Hladik has 71 K's.

North Warren (9-9), which reached the North 1, Group 1 semis last year, had runners on first and second twice -- in the second and sixth innings -- but each time, Grant was able to get a key strikeout for the second out or to end the threat. The Patriots also jumped on Grant's first few offerings, rather than try to make the lefty work and get deeper into counts.

"I was hoping we'd be able to get a run or two," said veteran coach Jim Haupt, whose team had won three of its last four coming in. "We took the approach to try and put the ball in play. The goal for us was to get a good fastball for us to hit. [Grant] lives up in the strike zone and he wasn't getting that pitch [from the plate umpire]. Credit to Grant, he made the pitches when he needed to get a strikeout."

Grant helped himself with an RBI single in the third that scored Ben Cramer with the game's lone run. After Hladik struck out leadoff man Justin Smith and Anthony Brown -- both looking -- to start the frame, Cramer shot a single up the middle, one of his two hits on the day. Grant also finished 2-for-3 at the plate.

With Grant batting, Hladik uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Cramer to race all the way to third. The left-handed hitter hit a pitch deep in the hole that shortstop Jason Vuz fielded cleanly, but Grant beat a low throw to the bag that got away from first baseman Nick Meyer, allowing Grant to advance to second. With runners on first and third after a single by Maker, the Pats escaped the jam when Charlie Grotyohann's bouncer to second kicked off Brian Turner's glove and went right to Vuz for the forceout.

Meanwhile, Grant was cruising along. He retired nine of 11 batters from the third through fifth innings, allowing only singles to Hladik and John Vuz. Grant retired six in a row until Meyer's two-out single to left in the sixth. After walking Turner, Grant fanned Vuz to end the inning.

"My curve was working and it was a warm-weather day, so I felt real good," said Grant, who allowed two hits and struck out 12 in his other shutout against Kittatinny -- 3-0 on April 19.

Newton, which had the bases loaded in the first before Joe Maker grounded into an inning-ended double play, threatened in the fourth with runners on first and second, but a forceout ended the inning. In the fifth, Maker reached on a two-out error and went to third after Hladik's second wild pitch of the game. But Grotyohann's pop foul to first ended the frame.

"We got picked off at first [in the first inning] and missed a steal sign [in the fourth] and then we hit a ground ball to second," Selitto said. "But I told them, in tournament play it doesn't really matter how you score. Our defense has been good all year and our starting pitching, other than one or two starts, has been really good. We're starting to play like the team I thought we'd be. I still don't think we've played our best baseball."

Selitto is still mulling over his starter for the next round, which is tentatively slated for Thursday at Memory Park. Rain is in the forecast for the end of the week and the game may be moved up to Wednesday.

Sophomore Cole Van Luvender (5-1) is expected to be on the mound for the Braves, but senior Casey Thomas (2-1) also is in the mix to start.

"I don't know [who will start] yet," Selitto said. "Cole is a very motivated kid and pitches to this ballpark. Casey has been pitching real well for us."

"I think we've got a shot at making not only the sectional finals, but state finals," Grant said. "Cole is a big kid and has definitely filled [the No. 2] spot for us. We're definitely hoping to play Pascack Hills and give them a little payback."

NORTH WARREN (ab-r-h-rbi) -- Matt Nicholoff 3b 3-0-0-0, Cam Esposito cf 2-0-0-0, Hladik p 3-0-1-0, Dave Wilbur c 3-0-0-0, Meyer 1b 3-0-1-0, Dale Durling pr 0-0-0-0, Turner 2b 2-0-1-0, John Vuz rf 2-0-1-0, Sean Thornton lf 3-0-0-0, Nick Nicholoff dh/Ja. Vuz ss 3-0-0-0. Totals: 24-0-4-0.

NEWTON (ab-r-h-rbi) -- Smith lf 2-0-0-0, Anthony Brown 2b 3-0-1-0, Cramer cf 3-1-2-0, Grant p 3-0-2-1, Bobby Fehr cr 0-0-0-0, Maker 3b 3-0-1-0, Grotyohann c 2-0-0-0, Jon Bernotas ss 2-0-0-0, Steve Kelly 1b 2-0-0-0, Thomas rf 3-0-1-0. Totals: 23-1-7-1.

                                         123       456      7     R   H  E
North Warren (9-9)            000       000      0  --  0   4   3
Newton (14-8)                    001       000     x  --  1   7   0

E -- Ja. Vuz 2, Turner. DP -- North Warren 1 (Turner-Ja. Vuz-Meyer, 1st). LOB -- North Warren 7, Newton 8. CS -- Smith. Sac -- Esposito; Kelly.

Hladik and Wilbur; Grant and Grotyohann. W -- Grant (4-1). L -- Hladik (6-1). SO-BB -- Hladik 8-3; Grant 8-3. WP -- Hladik 2.

Elsewhere in state playoff action:

Lenape Valley 3, High Point 1 -- Jim Fluke was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while the ace right-hander improved to 8-1 with seven strikeouts as the second-seeded Patriots knocked off the No. 15 Wildcats in North 1, Group action. David DelSontro had a pair of RBIs for Lenape, which will host No. 7 Hawthorne in the quarterfinals. Matt Musilli was 2-for-3 with an RBI for High Point. Losing pitcher Kyle Adams struck out four.

Ramsey 1, Kittatinny 0 (12 innings) -- Losing pitcher Joe Repasy (1-5) allowed a two-out single in the 12th in relief of ace David Moyer, who took a no-hitter into the six and struck out 12 for the No. 16 seeded Cougars (5-15).

Pequannock 7, Wallkill Valley 1 -- The No. 12 seeded Rangers dropped to 9-10 with the loss in the North 1, Group 2 playoffs.

Sparta 1, River Dell 0 -- T.J. Estanislau went 2-for-3 with a double and winning pitcher Kevin Foulds had 10 strikeouts and hit a solo homer for the sixth-seeded Spartans (16-6), who advance to face No. 3 Montville -- a 10-0 winner over Jefferson -- in the North 1, Group 3 quarterfinals. Sparta split a pair of regular season games against Montville -- winning 8-7 on April 11 and dropping a 3-0 road decision on May 14.

Pompton Lakes 1, Belvidere 0 -- Tommy Madeo, Henry Myerchin and Owen Kaiser had the lone hits for the No. 11 seeded County Seaters (11-9) in the North 1, Group 1 playoffs. Losing pitcher David Woodworth (2-3) gave up three hits and one walk. No. 6 Pompton Lakes scored its run in the bottom of the sixth.

Morristown 2, Warren Hills 0 -- Losing pitcher Anthony Veneziano (3-5) struck out five and Jake Larsen had a double for the No. 11 seeded Blue Streaks (11-12) in the North 2, Group 3 playoffs.

Robbinsville 5, Delaware Valley 0 -- Nick Perna went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and losing pitcher Logan Brown (5-3) struck out two and yielded two earned runs for the No. 15 seeded Terriers in the Central Jersey, Group 2 playoffs.

Sayreville 5, Hunterdon Central 4 -- Bobby Gambardella went 2-for-4 with two RBIs as the No. 16 seed stunned No. 1 in the Central Jersey, Group 4 playoffs in Raritan Township. Henry Hawkins, the MVP in Central's 6-3 win over North Hunterdon in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex final, went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Zac Vacca was 2-for-3 with an double and an RBI for the Red Devils (21-4), who had won five in a row and eight of their last nine coming in. Billy Roethke (5-1) took his first loss.

North Hunterdon 7, Edison 1 -- Tom Schumacher went 2-for-4 with an RBI and winning pitcher Shayne Fontana struck out a pair to lead the No. 5 seeded Lions (19-8) to their ninth win in 10 games. It was North's second win over Edison, coach Mike Kane's alma mater, this season as it won, 9-6, on April 12. North will travel to No. 4 Bridgewater in the North 2, Group 4 quarterfinals.

Westfield 6, Phillipsburg 1 -- Matt McAnally drove in the lone run and losing pitcher Billy McAuliffe (2-5) struck out two for the No. 16 seeded Stateliners (5-21) in the North 2, Group 4 playoffs.

Hackettstown 10, Science Park 1 -- The 10th seeded Tigers (9-10) advance to play No. 2 Lyndhurst in the North 2, Group 2 quarterfinals.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Baseball: HWS weekly schedule for May 19-24

Monday, May 19

(All first-round games 4 p.m., unless noted)

NJSIAA playoffs

North 1, Group 2

North Warren at Newton, 3:45 p.m.
Wallkill Valley at Pequannock
Kittatinny at Ramsey
High Point at Lenape Valley, 3:45 p.m.

North 1, Group 3

River Dell at Sparta

North 1, Group 1

Belvidere at Pompton Lakes

North 2, Group 4

Phillipsburg at Westfield
Edison at North Hunterdon

North 2, Group 3

Warren Hills at Morristown

North 2, Group 2

Hackettstown at Science Park

Central Jersey, Group 4

Sayreville at Hunterdon Central

Central Jersey, Group 2

Delaware Valley at Robbinsville

Central Jersey, Group 1

South Hunterdon at New Egypt

Tuesday, May 20

(All games 3:45 p.m., unless noted)

Skyland Conference

Pingry at Belvidere
Gill St. Bernard’s at South Hunterdon
North Warren at Phillipsburg
Delaware Valley at Warren Hills
North Hunterdon at Montgomery, 7 p.m.


Voorhees at Mount Olive
Kittatinny vs. Wayne Valley at William Paterson University
Pope John at St. Joseph’s-Metuchen, 4:15 p.m.
Sussex Tech at Boonton, 4 p.m.

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Hopatcong at Sparta, 4 p.m.
Wallkill Valley at Vernon, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 21

(All games 4 p.m., unless noted)

Skyland Conference

Voorhees at Somerville, 3:45 p.m.

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Kittatinny at Hackettstown


Pope John at Don Bosco Prep, 4:30 p.m.
Sussex Tech at Somerset Tech

Thursday, May 22

(All games 4 p.m., unless noted)

NJSIAA playoffs

North 2, Group 4

North Hunterdon at Bridgewater-Raritan

North 2, Group 2

Hackettstown at Lyndhurst

Regular season

Skyland Conference

North Plainfield at Belvidere, 3:45 p.m.

Friday, May 23

(All games 4 p.m., unless noted)

NJSIAA playoffs

North 1, Group 2

Hawthorne at Lenape Valley
Lodi vs. Newton at Wallkill Valley

North 1, Group 3

Montville at Sparta

Non-Public North A

Pope John at Paramus Catholic

Saturday, May 24

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Wallkill Valley at North Warren, 11 a.m.


West Morris at North Hunterdon, noon

Friday, May 16, 2014

Baseball: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex final preview

Who: Hunterdon Central Red Devils vs. North Hunterdon Lions.

Where: Diamond Nation, Raritan Township.

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Records: Hunterdon Central 20-3; North Hunterdon 18-7.

Coaches: Mike Raymond (288-101, 14th season); Mike Kane (46-35, third season).

How they got here: Hunterdon Central defeated High Point, 5-0, in second round; Sparta, 8-4, in quarters; Pope John, 8-2, in semifinals. North Hunterdon defeated Belvidere, 7-0, in second round; Newton, 2-1 in nine innings in quarters; Vernon, 6-0, in semifinals.

All-time HWS records: Hunterdon Central 17-2; North Hunterdon 10-4.

Potential lineups (Note: North Hunterdon does not provide season stats):

Hunterdon Central -- Jr. Brett McManus, 2B (.456 avg., 5 HRs, 18 RBIs), Sr. Christian Carey, OF (.297, 1 HR, 12 RBIs), Sr. Mike Pfenninger, 3B (.433, 22 RBIs), Sr. Zac Vacca, C (.339, 2 HRs, 26 RBIs), Jr. Henry Hawkins, OF (.322, 1 HR, 15 RBIs), Sr. Sean Hanigan, DH (.390, 20 RBIs), Sr. Matt Stalter, SS (.281, 15 RBIs), Jr. Mike Perone, 1B (.426, 16 runs), Jr. John Korn, OF (.250, 1 HR, 4 RBIs), Jr. Pat Clare, P (6-1, 2.43 ERA, 27 K's, 37 IP).

North Hunterdon -- Jr. Tim Heard, 2B, Sr. Zack Kaminski, OF, Sr. Marc Monks, OF, Jr. Tom Schumacher, 3B, Jr. Shayne Fontana, OF, Sr. Shane Cassidy, DH, Jr. Andrew Meiners, C, Sr. Austin Arndt, SS, Sr. Jon Scott, 1B, So. John Wilson, P.

Breakdown: This is the first final in the tournament's five-year history pitting two teams from Hunterdon County and just the second that doesn't involve one from Sussex County. Central is looking to avenge two Skyland Conference Delaware Division losses to North this season -- 6-1 on April 3 and 14-0 on April 29. The latter snapped the Red Devils' 12-game win streak, the longest in the HWS area this season. Central, which has secured at least a share of the division title -- 11-3 in the division, one-half game over North at 10-3 with one to play against Montgomery -- has appeared in all five tournament title games, winning titles in 2010 and '13. This  is the first championship game for North, which was eliminated in the semifinals in 2010, '12 and '13. McManus is having a great season for Central. The junior second baseman is batting .615 (16-for-26) with three doubles, two homers, two triples and eight RBIs in his last eight games. Clare is 3-0 in tri-county games, including a no-hitter against High Point. He has nine strikeouts and has allowed six runs on 13 hits for a 2.84 ERA with six walks in those starts. Outstanding first baseman Matt Toke (.442, 1 HR, 16 RBIs) has missed several games due to illness and may return for this one. This clash will be a battle of the bats vs. stingy pitching. North Hunterdon arms have allowed just three runs over the team's last eight games -- spanning a remarkable 71 innings. The staff has held opponents to two runs or fewer in 16 games this season. Wilson, a lefty, has started all three of the Lions' tri-county games and is 2-0 with 18 K's in those, getting a no-decision in the extra-innings win over Newton. Quentin Klein, who got the win vs. the Braves, has earned victories in two of the Lions' last three and three of six. Monks and Schumacher have enjoyed torrid streaks at the plate this season. In his last eight games, Monks has two doubles, a homer and six RBIs.

Prediction: Hunterdon Central, 3-2.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Baseball: NJSIAA state sectional tournament pairings

The NJSIAA state sectional tournament pairings and seeds were released on Thursday morning in Robbinsville. All matchups are tentative pending a review until noon on Friday.

Here are the sectional involving teams from the Open Mike area:

North 1, Group 3

16-Garfield at 1-Indian Hills
9-Paramus at 8-West Milford
12-Mahwah at 5-Lakeland
13-Demarest at 4-Pascack Valley
14-Jefferson at 3-Montville
11-River Dell at 6-Sparta
10-Ramapo at 7-Mount Olive
15-Northern Highlands at 2-Old Tappan

North 1, Group 2

16-Kittatinny at 1-Ramsey
9-Kinnelon at 8-Dumont
12-Wallkill Valley at 5-Pequannock
13-Glen Rock at 4-Mountain Lakes
14-North Warren at 3-Newton
11-Pascack Hills at 6-Lodi
10-Westwood at 7-Hawthorne
15-High Point at 2-Lenape Valley

North 1, Group 1

16-Wallington at 1-Wood-Ridge
9-Cresskill at 8-Park Ridge
12-Hasbrouck Heights at 5-Cedar Grove
13-Becton at 4-Verona
14-Butler at 3-Ridgefield
11-Belvidere at 6-Pompton Lakes
10-Midland Park at 7-Emerson
15-Saddle Brook at 2-Waldwick

North 2, Group 4

16-Phillipsburg at 1-Westfield
9-J.P. Stevens at 8-Scotch Plains
12-Edison at 5-North Hunterdon
13-Union at 4-Bridgewater-Raritan
14-Franklin at 3-Millburn
11-Columbia at 6-Bayonne
10-Elizabeth at 7-Watchung Hills
15-Plainfield at 2-Ridge

North 2, Group 3

16-Parsippany Hills at 1-Cranford
9-Colonia at 8-West Morris
12-Ferris at 5-Mendham
13-Summit at 4-South Plainfield
14-Passaic Valley at 3-West Essex
11-Warren Hills at 6-Morristown
10-Newark East Side at 7-Nutley
15-Morris Hills at 2-Governor Livingston

North 2, Group 2

16-Newark Central at 1-Bernards
9-Ridgefield Park at 8-Hanover Park
12-Weequahic at 5-Rutherford
13-Lincoln at 4-Harrison
14-Leonia at 3-Caldwell
11-Whippany Park at 6-Madison
10-Hackettstown at 7-Science Park
15-Snyder at 2-Lyndhurst

Central Jersey, Group 4

16-Sayreville at 1-Hunterdon Central
9-East Brunswick at 8-South Brunswick
12-Brick Memorial at 5-Jackson Memorial
13-Howell at 4-Old Bridge
14-North Brunswick at 3-Colts Neck
11-West Windsor North at 6-Monroe
10-Manalapan at 7-Hillsborough
15-Marlboro at 2-Freehold Township

Central Jersey, Group 2

16-Lakewood at 1-Cinnaminson
9-Rahway at 8-Monmouth
12-North Plainfield at 5-Rumson
13-Point Pleasant Boro at 4-Bordentown
14-Johnson at 3-Spotswood
11-Delran at 6-Matawan
10-Mansaquan at 7-Manchester Township
15-Delaware Valley at 2-Robbinsville

Central Jersey, Group 1

16-Bound Brook at 1-South Amboy
9-South River at 8-Keansburg
12-South Hunterdon at 5-New Egypt
13-Florence at 4-Metuchen
14-Piscataway Tech at 3-East Brunswick Tech
11-Keyport at 6-Shore Regional
10-Point Pleasant Beach at 7-Highland Park
15-Henry Hudson at 2-Middlesex

Non-Public North A

9-Delbarton at 8-DePaul, winner to meet 1-Bergen Catholic
5-Don Bosco Prep at 4-Seton Hall Prep
6-Union Catholic at 3-St. Joseph-Montvale
10-Pope John at 7-Paramus Catholic, winner to meet 2-St. Peter's Prep