Seton Hall Prep baseball team ends terrific 25-4-1 season

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Seton Hall Prep baseball team completed its outstanding season with a 25-4-1 record. It is the most victories since 2017, when the Pirates were 26-3.

On Tuesday, May 28, the Pirates hosted Dwight–Englewood at Porcello Field in the quarterfinal round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Non-Public “A” state tournament. The Pirates defeated the Bulldogs, 10-0, as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning behind a two-run single by sophomore Jordan Burwell and a two-run double by fellow sophomore JJ Drennan. 

Senior lefty Lucas Fernandez threw a two-hitter with four strikeouts, one walk and two hit batters. 

Leading the offense was junior William Mahala (2-for-2, two runs scored and two RBI), Burwell (2-for-3 with two RBI) and Drennan (1-for-3 with three RBI). 

Following the game, Fernandez said, “I was a bit nervous today, but I got my thoughts and the game plan together and it worked out well. Our team blends together so well. We have great chemistry and we are all able to push each other to be the best we can.” 

Mahala said, “Lucas was lights-out. He threw a ton of strikes and had a great pitching presence. I felt very comfortable at the plate today.”

SHP head coach Mike Sheppard Jr. said, “It was important to get ahead early. We knew they had two quality arms and that we would face at least one of them. Will works really hard. He is extremely athletic and powerful, so if you put all of that together, he can be a special player.”

Two days later, the Pirates traveled to Ramsey to take on Don Bosco Prep in the semifinal round. The matchup felt like a state championship game, and it had state-championship performances by Don Bosco junior Jason Kuhn and Seton Hall Prep junior Marcelo Harsch, a Wake Forest commit, as both matched zeros for most of the game.

The Ironmen scored a run in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. The Pirates tied the score at 1-1 when senior Peter Peluso, junior Henry Ayers and Drennan all walked with one out to load the bases. With two outs, pinch-hitter junior Gavin Fochtman walked to drive in Peluso. Don Bosco won the game, 2-1, when it scored on a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Following the game, Sheppard said, “It was a great championship-caliber baseball game and I think we can play with any team in the state of New Jersey. Back in March, I wasn’t sure what kind of team we were going to be but these guys worked very hard. They made themselves better as individuals and as a team, to where we had a pretty good run.”

PIRATE NOTES – Among the highlights during the season were the Pirates capturing their 19th Greater Newark Tournament title, as they appeared in the final for the 28th time. After starting the season with a 6-2-1 record, Seton Hall won 19 of its final 21 games, which included a 13-game winning streak. They faced seven teams that were ranked in the top 20 during the season by the Star-Ledger.