Correction: The Raiders are the eighth seed in the North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 tournament and will play Carteret in the first round.
NUTLEY – The Nutley High School varsity baseball team finished runner-up for the Essex County tournament championship.
The third-seeded Raiders lost to top-seeded Seton Hall Prep, 11-1, in the 84th Greater Newark Tournament title game on May 21 at Doc Goeltz Field in Verona.
Freshman Marty Higgins went 1-for-3 and drove in the lone run for the Raiders in top of the fifth inning, scoring senior Nick Miller, to cut the Raiders’ deficit to 3-1. But Seton Hall Prep broke open the game with seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning en route to its fourth consecutive GNT title and tournament-record 16th title.
Senior Andrew Connor finished 2-for-3 for the Raiders, who moved to a 17-9 record. Junior Sean Bernardo, senior Matt Butler, sophomore Raul Ortega, and senior Andrew Santos each had a hit for the Raiders.
Seton Hall Prep, ranked No. 2 in the state, improved to a 23-3 record.
The Raiders beat Seton Hall Prep, 5-4, in walk-off fashion three days earlier on Santos’ RBI squeeze bunt in the bottom of the ninth inning at the Park Oval in the second Super Essex Conference-American Division meeting between teams. In the first divisional meeting, Seton Hall Prep won, 9-7, April 18, in West Orange.
NHS beat second-seeded Millburn, 3-1, in the GNT semifinals on May 14. Millburn also was ranked No. 2 in the state at the time.
The Raiders, under head coach Bob Harbison, hoped to make a strong run in the postseason. The eighth-seeded Raiders will host ninth-seeded Carteret in the first round of the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 tournament on May 23 at 4 p.m.
If the Raiders win, they will face the winner between top-seeded Mendham and 16th-seeded Voorhees in the quarterfinals on May 26. The semifinals are May 26 and the final is May 31.