WEST ORANGE, NJ – The five-time defending Seton Hall Prep varsity baseball team received the No. 1 seed in the 86th Greater Newark Tournament and will host the winner of No. 16 seed East Side and No. 17 seed Bloomfield Tech in the first round on Saturday, May 5, at Porcello Field at 2:30 p.m.
The Pirates had a couple of Super Essex Conference-American Division losses but ended the week with an outstanding pitching performance to raise their record to 10-3 on the season.
On Monday, April 23, the Pirates traveled to Millburn and lost 3-2 in the last inning. Trailing 1-0 going into the fourth inning with two outs, Brian Kelly walked, Tyler Kaufman singled to center and Frank Spano doubled to deep left center field to drive in Kelly and courtesy runner Angelo Crincoli to give Seton Hall a 2-1 lead. Millburn scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh for the victory. John Ariza pitched great, allowing three runs, none earned on five hits with nine strikeouts and one walk.
On Friday, April 27, on a damp and dreary afternoon they traveled to the Park Oval to take on Nutley and lost, 6-2. Nutley took a 2-0 lead when SHP tied the score in the top of the second on a two-run opposite-field home run by Spano. Robert Sheppard had the only other SHP hit with a single in the fifth inning. Nick Maldonado pitched well in defeat, hurling 5.6 innings and allowing four runs on six hits with 11 strikeouts and one walk.
On Saturday, the Pirates were back home at Porcello Field and hosted St. Joseph’s (Metuchen) which has played all the top Non-Public “A” North opponents. SHP won 5-0 behind an outstanding effort by David Festa, who pitched an economical 71 pitches and gave up only three hits and had six strikeouts. SHP scored one run in the first inning when Crincoli walked and came in on a Maldonado single to left field. They increased their lead to 2-0 when Kaufman singled to right field and courtesy runner Jake Savino raced to third base on Giordan Cerbo’s double into the left-field corner and scored on Crincoli’s squeeze. They increased their lead to 4-0 with two runs on Crincoli’s bases-loaded walk and Ryan Sheppard’s fielder’s choice, while the final run came in on Kaufman’s solo home run to left field. Following the game, Festa was asked about his approach facing a tough St. Joe’s lineup. “I tried to throw strikes and let my defense make the plays which they did, being we had no errors and (catcher Tyler) Kauf caught a great game.”