WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Seton Hall Prep varsity baseball team will vie for its record fifth straight Greater Newark Tournament title.
The second-seeded Pirates will face top-seeded Millburn in the 85th GNT final on Saturday, May 20, at George Zanfini Municipal Stadium at Belleville High School at 4 p.m. SHP has won a record 16 GNT titles.
In the ECT semifinals doubleheader at Zanfini Municipal Stadium in Belleville on Monday, May 15, Millburn defeated fourth-seeded Columbia, 5-4, while SHP defeated sixth-seeded Montclair, 1-0. SHP won its 15th straight to raise its record to 21-2.
The Pirates scored their only run when Mike Ukrainskyj led off the second inning with a single to left field. He moved to third base when Michael Gaudioso launched a booming double to the fence in left-center field. After one out, Ryan Hebert hit ground ball up the middle, but was thrown out at first base, while Ukrainskyj scored from third base.
Kevin Young (5-0) was in complete control as he scattered five hits over 6-plus innings. Nick Maldonado came in to record the save. With the tying run on first base, he retired the next three hitters, including a strikeout. Young had seven strikeouts and two walks.
The Pirates went 3-0 last week to raise its record to 12-1 in the Super Essex Conference-American Division.
On Monday, May 8, the Pirates traveled to Bloomfield Middle School to take on Bloomfield and won, 13-1, in divisional play. West Orange’s Jamil Vanheyningen (4-1) threw six innings, allowing no runs on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Francis Prior was 2-for-4 with five RBI, including a three-run homer; Jack Zyska and Maldonado each had two hits and each drove in two runs; Ukrainskyj and Hebert each had a hit and an RBI and Eric Raio had an RBI on a bases-loaded walk. Eric Vaz finished the day 3-for-3 with four runs scored.
On Wednesday, May 10, the Pirates hosted Mount Olive at Porcello Field and won, 6-3, in non-conference play. John Ariza (1-1) pitched four innings, allowing one unearned run on one hit with four strikeouts and three walks. Also pitching were CJ Strlekar, Jermaine Vanheyningen, and Steven Sgaramella, who picked up the save.
In the first inning, SHP scored four runs to overcome a 1-0 deficit on an RBI double by Zyska; RBI singles by Prior and Raio and a sac fly to left field by Ukrainskyj. They increased their lead to 6-1 in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Kevin Gately and an RBI groundout by Maldonado.
The next day, they hosted Verona in the GNT quarterfinal round and won, 6-0. Jack Mahala (5-0) pitched a complete game, allowing two hits with 11 strikeouts and one walk. In the second inning, Zyska tripled to right-center field and scored on a RBI groundout by Vaz.
In the fifth inning, Prior hit a sac fly to center field and Maldonado walked and scored on a wild pitch to increase their lead to 3-0. They scored their final three runs in the sixth inning when Zyska hit a two-run double to right-center field and Maldonado drove Zyska home on an RBI single to center field.