Nutley HS baseball team clicks at the right time

Nutley senior Joe Delanzo looks to throw the ball during the 9-6 loss at Bloomfield on April 12.

NUTLEY, NJ — The Nutley High School baseball team, under longtime head coach Bob Harbison, has turned around its season.

After a 2-4 start, the Raiders won eight of their next 11 games. In that stretch, Nutley made a great run in the Greater Newark Tournament. The sixth-seeded Raiders defeated 11th-seeded West Orange, 12-1, in the first round, and third-seeded Caldwell, 2-0, in the quarterfinals. The run ended with a 9-0 loss to seventh-seeded Bloomfield in the semifinals on May 14 at Verona.

Nutley lost the next two games, falling to Livingston, 8-2, on May 17, at home, and Millburn, 11-0, on the road on May 18, before beating Columbia, 5-3, on May 19, in Maplewood, to improve to 11-10 on the season.  

In the GNT win over Caldwell, senior Joe Delanzo pitched a seven-inning, complete-game two-hit shutout, with six strikeouts and just one walk.

Delanzo also plays shortstop and leads the team in several offensive categories. In addition to Delanzo, the Raiders have been led by junior outfielder Brandon Lucia, senior outfielder Frank Contella, senior infielder/pitcher Dylan Santos, junior infielder/pitcher Mike Zitola, senior first baseman/pitcher Chris Pierro, senior infielder Ryan Gencarelli, senior pitcher Brian Conte, senior outfielder Paul Scutti and junior outfielder Justin Cifelli.

In the win over Columbia, Cifelli and Lucia each homered and had two RBIs apiece.

The Raiders hope to make a good run in the upcoming state sectional tournament. Nutley is ranked seventh in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3, power-point standings. The cutoff for the state sectionals is Saturday, May 21. The seedings will be revealed on March 25. The tournament begins Wednesday, June 1.

Photo Courtesy of Jerry Simon