Seton Hall Prep baseball team clinches seventh SEC-American Division title

Seton Hall Prep’s Ryan Herbert takes a cut at the plate in a game this season. Photo by Rich Morris/courtesy of SHP.

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Seton Hall Prep varsity baseball team won three games this past week to raise its record to 22-4 on the season.

On Monday, May 21, the Pirates hosted Newark Academy at Porcello Field and won 12-1. Nick Maldonado (4-2) pitched the first four innings and allowed no runs on three hits with five strikeouts and no walks. John Ariza pitched the fifth inning and allowed one run on one hit and one walk. Jack Zyska led the offense by going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI, including a three-run home run. Brian Kelly was 3-for-3 with one RBI; Robert Sheppard was 1-for-3 with two RBI; Frank Spano was 1-for-3 with two RBI; Tommy O’Rourke and Nick Diaz each had one hit and one RBI; and Will Nomura had a RBI sac fly.

On Thursday, May 24, the team traveled to Woodman Field in Montclair and defeated Montclair, 7-1.  Ariza (3-1) pitched four innings, allowing one run on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks, while David Festa pitched the final three innings, allowing no runs on two hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. Kelly was 1-for-2 with two RBI; Tyler Kaufman and Maldonado were each 2-for-3 with one RBI; Ryan Hebert and Giordan Cerbo each had one hit and one RBI; and Anthony Peterson had an RBI on a infield groundout. With the victory, the Pirates clinched their seventh Super Essex Conference-American Division title in the nine years of the SEC’s existence. Following the victory, Ariza said, “It has been a great journey this season for the team. I am real happy that we are SEC-American Division champs and looking forward to the upcoming state tournament.”

On Saturday, May 26, in their last regular-season game, the Pirates traveled to Succasunna and defeated Roxbury, 6-1. Steven Sgaramella (6-0) pitched the first five innings and allowed one run on four hits with one strikeout and one walk. O’Rourke threw the final two innings and allowed no runs on one hit with three strikeouts and one walk. Hebert was 2-for-3 with three RBI; Kaufman was 3-for-3 with one RBI; Robert Sheppard had a RBI squeeze bunt; and Patrick Zadroga was 2-for-2 with a walk, hit by pitch and two runs scored.

SHP, seeded No. 4,  hosted fifth-seeded St. Joseph of Montvale in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Non-Public “A” North state tournament on Tuesday, May 29.

NOTES: The SHP junior varsity completed its season with a 26-1 record, including capturing the Don Bosco Prep Tournament and the Essex County Tournament both played last Thursday May 24. They traveled to Ramsey and defeated Don Bosco 5-2. Brandon Hersh pitched a complete game four-hitter with five strikeouts. The following players each had one RBI, Alex Kuhtik, Andrew Mitzak, Jack Byrne, Garrett Fitschen, and Ryan Monteleone. Following the game they traveled to Bloomfield Middle School to take on Nutley and won,15-3. Mark Hindy threw the first four innings and Sam Porcello pitched the fifth inning. Joseph DeCicco had three hits, three runs scored and two RBI.

Following the game, Head Coach John Bravette said, “I’m extremely proud of these young men. To have to play two championship games in one day is very difficult, but we played very well in all facets of the game: offense, defense, and pitching. We have 24 players on this team and they all contributed to the victories and I couldn’t be happier with their performance.”