Seton Hall Prep baseball team will vie for fourth straight GNT title

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WEST ORANGE – The Seton Hall Prep varsity baseball team will seek to win the 84th Greater Newark Tournament championship for the fourth consecutive season when the Pirates face Nutley High School in the GNT final on Saturday, May 21, at Verona High School at noon,

The top-seeded Pirates defeated fourth-seeded Montclair, 13-0, in the semifinal round at George Zanfini Municipal Field at Belleville High School on Saturday, May 14, for their sixth straight win to improve to a 20-2 overall record.

In the first inning, senior John Savino hit an RBI double and senior Ryan Toohers had an RBI groundout to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. In the second inning, senior Joe Giovinco had an RBI single to make it 3-0. The Pirates added seven runs in the third inning to extend it to 10-0 Senior Brenden Weiss and senior Patrick O’Hare each had a two-run single and freshman Nick Maldonaldo had an RBI single. In the fourth inning, senior Nick DeNicola hit a solo homer and sophomore Jack Zyska had a two-run double to end the scoring.

Toohers (3-1) allowed no runs on one hit with seven strikeouts and one walk in five innings.

It was the Pirates’ fifth shutout in their past six games, outscoring their opponents, 51-1. The lone run came in the 5-1 win over ninth-seeded Verona in the GNT quarterfinals on May 12 at the Kelly Athletic Complex.

In the win over Verona, the Pirates took a 1-0  in the third inning when O’Hare singled and later scored on a single by Toohers. SHP added a run in the fifth when Zyska walked and later scored on Savino’s double.

The Pirates added three runs in the sixth on RBI singles by junior Nico Mottesi and Zyska, and a RBI squeeze by Weiss.

Senior righty Brendan Shamieh (6-0) picked up the win, allowing one run on eight hits with four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Maldonaldo pitched 2/3 of an inning, allowing one hit and one walk and striking out one.

To begin the week, the Pirates defeated Mendham, 1-0, at the Kelly Athletic Complex on May 10. In the third inning, DeNicola reached on an error. Mottesi, the courtesy runner, was sacrificed to second by senior Dwayne Marshall, advanced to third on Zyska’s single to center and scored on Weiss’ sacrifice fly to left field. Toohers pitched three scoreless innings with four strikeouts and one walk for the win. Maldonaldo pitched two innings of one-hit ball with one strikeout and Marshall struck out two and allowed one hit in his two innings for his second save of the season.

The Pirates defeated Bloomfield, 20-0, May 11, at Bloomfield Middle School field in a Super Essex Conference-American Division game for their fourth straight shutout. O’Hare went 3-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored; DeNicola was 2-for-3 with two RBI; senior Chris Festa was 1-for-1 with two RBI; Zyska went 3-for-3 with an RBI and junior Mike Ukrainskyj, Mottesi, Toohers, junior Eric Vaz, Savino, senior Justin Miller, junior Josh Tannen, senior Dylan Badger and junior Kevin Gately each had an RBI.

Junior righty Jamil Vanheyningen of West Orange allowed one hit and one walk and struck out two in four innings to improve to 2-0. Junior righty C.J. Strlekar pitched the fifth inning, giving up one hit and walking one while striking out one.

Nutley, the third seed, upset second-seeded Millburn, 3-1, in the other semifinal on May 14 at Belleville High School’s George Zanfini Municipal Field to improve to a 16-7 record.

SHP defeated Nutley, 9-7, in a Super Essex Conference-American Division game on April 18 at the Kelly Athletic Complex. SHP will face Nutley on May 18 for the second divisional meeting of the season at the Park Oval in Nutley.

SHP and Nutley will meet for the 14th time in the history of the GNT. SHP leads the GNT series with Nutley, 7-6.

The Pirates have won 15 GNT titles and are appearing in their 22nd GNT final, both tournament records.

Nutley has won four GNT titles and are appearing in their 13th GNT final.

The following are the GNT results between SHP and Nutley, with the seeds in parentheses:                 

2015 – Semifinal,(1) SHP – 4, (5) Nutley – 2

2012 – Semifinal,(5) Nutley – 9, (1) SHP – 1

2011 – Semifinal, (3) SHP – 5,(10) Nutley – 2

2009 – Semifinal, (12) Nutley – 10, (1)  SHP – 4

2005 – Final, (1) SHP – 11,(2) Nutley – 0

2004 – Final, (2) Nutley – 3, (1) SHP – 2

2003 – Final,  (1) SHP – 3, (2) Nutley – 0

2002 – Final,  (2) Nutley – 6, (1) SHP – 2

2001 – Final,  (2) Nutley – 5, (1) SHP – 3     

1999 – Quarterfinal, (3) SHP – 13, (6) Nutley – 3

1995 – Quarterfinal, (9) Nutley – 2,(1) SHP – 0

1990 – Quarterfinal, (4) SHP – 1, (5) Nutley – 0, eight innings

1985 – First round,(2)  SHP – 10, (15) Nutley – 4