WEST ORANGE, NJ – The second-seeded Seton Hall Prep baseball team defeated third-seeded Millburn High School, 8-2, in the semifinal round of the 87th Greater Newark Tournament held at Verona’s Doc Goeltz Field on a beautiful Saturday morning, May 11.
The Pirates, who improved to 16-5 on the season, will battle No. 4 seed Montclair HS in the GNT final on Saturday, May 18, at 1 p.m. at Doc Goeltz Field. It marks Seton Hall’s 24th GNT final appearance. Seton Hall is seeking its 18th GNT title.
In the semifinal win over Millburn, starter Kieran Hollander (3-0) allowed one run on four hits with three strikeouts and one hit batter in five innings. Luke Boylan threw the sixth inning, allowing one run on one hit with one walk while Dan Savino pitched the seventh with one walk and one strikeout.
After Millburn took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, SHP tied the score when Chris Maldonado singled and later scored on a wild pitch in the second inning. In the third inning, Seton Hall sent nine men to the plate, scoring three runs on four hits. Maldonado had an RBI triple, while Justin Cassella and Tyler Kaufman had RBI singles. They scored two runs in the fourth inning when Maldonado and Karson Harcourt had RBI singles. In the fifth, Andrew Tuozzolo had an RBI on a bases-loaded walk. In the sixth, Jake Savino had a sac fly RBI to produce the final score.
After the game, Hollander commented, “Every time I get out there, my confidence kept growing.” Maldonado added, “We had taken the approach to focus on the outside pitch and I concentrated on taking it the other way and was fortunately able to drive into the right-field corner to drive in a run.”
Head Coach Mike Sheppard Jr. commented on Hollander. “Kieran is only a sophomore and he really stepped up today. He’s usually on an even keel and today he kept the Millburn batters at bay with his fast ball and change-up. Reaching the GNT final is something we always aim for and it is not easy to accomplish in a strong baseball county like ours.”
On Monday, May 6, the Pirates hosted Hunterdon Central at Porcello Field and lost, 5-1. Seton Hall took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jack Eichler launched a two-out solo home run to left field. Hunterdon Central came back with three runs in the third and one in the fourth and seventh to produce the final score. Lucas Zyska had the other hit for Seton Hall.
The next day, the Pirates hosted Westfield and won, 7-1. Boylan (3-0) threw 3 1/3 innings of relief, giving up one hit and had one strikeout. The other pitchers who kept Westfield off balance were Hollander. Brandon Hersh, and Sam Porcello. Maldonado had a two-run double, Cole McGonigal had an RBI double and Zyska had a solo home run, Eicher had an RBI single and Harcourt had a sac fly RBI.
On Thursday, May 7, in the GNT quarterfinal round, the home-standing Pirates defeated West Essex, 7-0, as Quincy Clark and Savino combined on a no-hitter. Clark, a senior right-hander, threw the first six innings and had five strikeouts, four walks, and hit one batter, while Savino pitched the seventh inning and had one strikeout. Tuozzolo led the team, going 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Justin Cassella was 1-for-3 with two RBI. Following the game, Clark said, “I felt good out there and this was my highest pitch count of the season (87). Coach Sheppard made the right decision bringing in Dan for the 7th inning.”
On Thursday, May 16, the NJSIAA State Baseball Tournament seedings will be announced.
Photos by Rich Morris/courtesy of Seton Hall Prep
Seton Hall Prep vs. Millburn, GNT semifinals, May 11, at Verona’s Doc Goeltz Field