WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Seton Hall Prep baseball team, coming off of an outstanding 2016 season winning the Greater Newark Tournament title and the Non-Public “A” State Title, opened the 2017 season with a great week, going 4-0, including a perfect game pitched by senior right-hander Kevin Young in a 4-0 victory over Nutley at Porcello Field.
The opening game of the season at Verona was postponed due to bad weather and rescheduled for Tuesday April 25.
The Pirates opened the season with a 3-1 victory over Livingston at Rick Porcello Field. Sophomore right-hander Nick Maldonado (1-0) combined with senior righty Christian Bascunan (save), who both pitched solid. Maldonado threw five innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with one walk, while Bascunan allowed no runs on one hit.
SHP opened the scoring with two runs in the second inning when senior Mike Ukrainskyj hit a sac fly to center to drive in senior Nico Mottesi and junior Jack Zyska had a bases-loaded walk to drive in junior Ryan Sheppard.
After Livingston scored in the top of the fifth to make it 2-1, SHP added an insurance run when Maldonado tripled to left-center field, driving in Zyska, who had opened the inning with a single.
Two days later, SHP hosted Newark Academy and won, 5-1. In the first inning, senior Francis Prior had a sac fly to right field and senior Eric Raio had an RBI single to right. In the second inning, Zyska had an RBI on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and Prior hit a two-run single to center field. Newark Academy scored its run in the sixth inning.
Senior Jamil Vanheyningen (1-0), who resides in West Orange, pitched four innings, allowing no runs on one hit with three strikeouts and one walk. Junior John Ariza pitched two innings, allowing one run on two hits, while senior Jack Mahala pitched the seventh inning and strike out two batters.
On a cold and blustery day, Young turned in a performance that was only accomplished by one other SHP pitcher in the deep history of SHP baseball program. Rick Porcello accomplished that feat in the semifinals of the 2007 Greater Newark Tournament in a 2-0 Prep victory.
SHP opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when with one out Ryan Sheppard walked and came around to score from second base on an infield single up the middle by Maldonado. They increased their lead to 3-0 in the fifth inning when Raio had an RBI on an infield hit and courtesy runner Mottesi stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored when the throw went into left field. Their final run scored when junior designated hitter Thomas DelVecchio had an infield single, advanced to second on an error, went to third and scored on two wild pitches. Young threw only 67 pitches, allowing eight ground-ball outs, seven fly ball outs, and had six strikeouts.
Following the game, Young commented on his performance. “It was surreal. I never came close to a game like this before. It was cold and windy and I was concerned about gripping my curveball. I was able to drop it in during the game I was able to use my fastball in the right spots to set up the curve ball and change-up. Our defense was incredible as shortstop Nick Maldonado, second baseman Kevin Gately, and left fielder Ryan Hebert made some great plays.”
The next day, they hosted Morristown and won 4-1. The four SHP pitchers combined on a two-hitter and they did not allow Morristown their first hit until there was one out in the seventh inning.
SHP took a 1-0 in the second inning as Prior singled and later scored on an error. They added three runs in the sixth inning as Gately hit a sac fly to center and Mottesi had a two-run fly ball single to center-field.
Mahala (1-0) pitched four innings, allowing no runs with five strikeouts and three walks. Junior Frank Spano threw one inning with one walk. Junior Steven Sgaramella threw one inning with one strikeout and two walks, and Bascunan threw the final inning, allowing one unearned run on two hits with one strikeout.