Seton Hall Prep baseball team falls to Columbia, then beats Cedar Grove in the GNT first round

WEST ORANGE, NJ — In its only game last week, Seton Hall Prep baseball dropped an 8-6 decision to Columbia at Porcello Field on Wednesday, May 4. 

Columbia opened the scoring in the second inning when Brandon Doubek hit a two-run single to center field. The Pirates cut the Cougar lead to 2-1 when junior Elijah Foster drove in senior Sam Nomura with a single to center field. Columbia made the score 3-1 in the third inning when Aidan Pierre had an RBI single to center field. The Pirates took a 5-3 lead when Foster, senior Aaron Bertone, junior Garrett Grubbs, and senior Alex Kim all walked with the bases loaded in the third inning. Columbia tied the score at 5-5 in the fourth inning when Doubek and Luke Nomura had back-to-back RBI singles. The Pirates retook the lead in the fourth inning when senior Chris Maldonado was hit by a pitch, stole second and third, and scored on an infield error. 

In the top of the sixth inning, Doubek hit a two-run homer to left field and the Cougars took a 7-6 lead. They increased their lead to 8-6 when Pierre walked, stole second and scored on an infield error. Jake Gewirtz picked up the win in relief, pitching three and two-thirds innings.

In the 89th Greater Newark Tournament seedings, the fourth-seeded Pirates hosted No. 13 Cedar Grove in the first round and won 6-0 on Monday, May 9, at Porcello Field. The Pirates improved to 12-6 on the season.

Senior right-handers Patrick Walega and John Cerwinski combined on a one-hit shutout. Walega (2-0) allowed one infield hit, two walks and seven strikeouts in five innings. Cerwinski walked one and had four strikeouts in two innings of relief.

In the bottom of the second inning, junior Elijah Foster and senior Aaron Bertone each had RBI singles, and senior Alex Kim had a two-run single. In the third inning, senior Ryan Sprock had an RBI single. In the sixth inning, senior Luke Mahala had an RBI on a fielder’s choice. 

Following the win, Walega said he “felt really good on the mound today. My objective was to put up zeros every inning to help the team and just throw strikes.” 

Maldonado added, “I saw the ball very well today. I was not trying to think too much and trying to hit the ball hard.” 

SHP head coach Mike Shepard Jr. said, “I was really proud of the team today. We played good baseball in all three phases — hitting, pitching, and defense.”

The Pirates were scheduled to host the winner between No. 5 seed Livingston and No. 12 seed West Essex in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday, May 11, at Porcello Field.

The semifinals will be played on Doc Goeltz Field at Verona High School on Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The final will be played at Yogi Berra Stadium on the campus of Montclair State University on Saturday, May 21, at noon.

The Pirates have captured 17 GNT titles and appeared in 25 finals. Their last final appearance was 2021, when they dropped a 6-5 decision to Millburn in 11 innings. Their last title was in 2017, when they defeated Montclair, 4-2. Their GNT record from 1971-2021 stands at 119-32 (.788 winning percentage).