WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Seton Hall Prep varsity baseball team had a 3-1 week, capped by a 3-2 loss to Nutley in the semifinal round of the 86th Greater Newark Tournament. The Pirates were the five-time defending GNT champion.
On Monday, May 7, the Pirates traveled to West Caldwell and defeated Caldwell, 8-1. Steven Sgaramella (5-0) threw five innings, allowing one run on four hits with three strikeouts. Frank Spano pitched the sixth inning, allowing one hit, while John Ariza pitched the seventh inning and had two strikeouts. Brian Kelly led the offense going 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI, while Ryan Sheppard and Michael Gaudioso were both 2-for-4 with one RBI and Robert Sheppard had an RBI on a squeeze bunt.
On Tuesday, May 8, the Pirates traveled to Doc Goeltz Field in Verona and defeated Verona, 3-2, behind a great complete-game effort by Tommy O’Rourke. He allowed two runs, one earned on five hits with seven strikeouts. Trailing 2-0 in the second inning, SHP tied the score on a two-out, two-run single by Ryan Sheppard to right field. They took the lead in the seventh when pinch-hitter Anthony Peterson led off the inning with a single. Jack Eichler sacrificed him to second base. Back-to-back walks to Will Nomura and Ryan Sheppard loaded the bases before Kelly grounded out to second base to drive in Peterson.
On Thursday, May 10, the top-seeded Pirates hosted Cedar Grove at Porcello Field in the first round of the GNT and defeated them, 10-0, in five innings. John Ariza pitched a complete game, allowing five hits with three strikeouts. Ryan Sheppard was 3-for-4 with two RBI; Giordan Cerbo was 2-for-3 with two RBI; Frank Spano was 1-for-3 with two RBI; Tyler Kaufman was 3-for-3 with one RBI; and Angelo Crincoli was 1-for-2 with an RBI.
On Saturday, May 12, they traveled back to historic Doc Goeltz Field in Verona to take on No. 4 seed Nutley in the semifinals of the GNT. In the first inning, Nutley took a 1-0 lead on two infield errors as Pete Lopez scored. SHP tied the score in the bottom of the first at 1-1 as Nutley starter John Luberto issued four walks and Kelly walked with the bases loaded, forcing in Crincoli. Nutley added two runs in the second inning on another infield error to make the score 3-1. SHP cut the lead to 3-2 in the third inning when Kelly hit a sacrifice fly to left field to drive in Ryan Sheppard, who led off the inning with a walk. Trevor Santos was outstanding in relief for Nutley, pitching five innings and allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts and one walk. SHP received a superb outing from junior right-hander Nick Maldonado, who tossed a complete game 1-hitter, striking out nine and walking two as he also retired the last 15 batters he faced from the third inning on.
The Pirates, who moved to a 17-4 record, have three SEC-American Division games: May 16, home vs. Newark Academy; May 21, away, Newark Academy, 4 p.m.; and May 24, away, Montclair, 4 p.m. They also have two non-league games: May 17, home vs. Morris Hills, 4 p.m.; and May 26, away Roxbury, 11 a.m. They also have a game against Mount Olive with the date to be determined.
The Pirates will gear up for the NJSIAA North Jersey Non-Public “A” state tournament. Unofficially, their first game is May 29 in the quarterfinal round.