Seton Hall Prep baseball team eyes another fine season

Nick Maldonado , a Vanderbilt commit, is a key returnining player for the Pirates. Photo by Rich Morris/courtesy of SHP.

Seton Hall Prep traditionally has one of the best baseball programs in New Jersey. The Pirates last season finished a remarkable 26-3, including winning the Super Essex Conference-American Division for the sixth time in the eight-year existence of the conference and captured a record fifth straight Greater Newark Tournament championship.

Seton Hall Prep’s season opener on April 2 against East Side was postponed due to the snowstorm. The Pirates were scheduled to visit Columbia on April 4 in Maplewood and will host Millburn on April 6 at 4 p.m; visit Morristown on April 7 at 11 a.m.; host Nutley on April 9 at 4 p.m. and visit Livingston on April 11 at 4 p.m.

The Pirates this season boast a strong pitching staff, led by right-handed Vanderbilt University commit Nick Maldonado, right-handed Tulane University commit John Ariza and left-handed Holy Cross-bound Frank Spano.

Maldonado went 7-0 with a 0.68 earned run average last year.

The lineup is sparked by center fielder John Zyska, who will play at the University of Notre Dame next year. Zyska batted .329 with 23 RBI and was 10-of-12 in stolen base attempts last season.

Mike Sheppard Jr. enters his 33rd year as a high school head coach, 32nd year as Pirates head coach. His record entering the season is 744-196-4 (.790). In addition to the six SEC titless, his teams have won 15 Greater Newark Tournament, 10 NJSIAA North Jersey Non-Public state “A”, and seven  NJSIAA Non-Public state “A” titles.

Preseason media publications and websites have mentioned the following SHP baseball players:

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper – NJ Players to watch – Zyska, Ariza, Maldonado.

Rawlings-Perfect Game Preseason All American selections – High Honorable Mention – Ariza, Zyska.

Rawlings-Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All American selections – First Team – Maldonado, High Honorable Mention – sophomore right-handed pitcher Tommy O’Rourke, Stanford University verbal commit.

Rawlings-Perfect Game Northeast Pre-season Rankings: No. 7 – Seton Hall Prep.

Diamond Nation Magazine – Top Players to watch – Maldonado, O’Rourke.

Star Ledger – Top returning All-State Players – Maldonado. Top Hitters – Zyska, Maldonado, senior catcher Michael Gaudioso – McGill University commit. Top Outfielders – Zyska. Pre-Season Top 20 – No. 11 Seton Hall Prep. Top Contenders in Non-Public “A” North: Seton Hall Prep.