Seton Hall Prep baseball team wins SEC and GNT titles

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Last week the Seton Hall Prep baseball team had an outstanding week, winning four games to increase their record to 19-6 and their winning streak to eight games. During those four games they captured the Super Essex Conference–American Division title and Greater Newark Tournament title.

On a sweltering Saturday afternoon, May 21, Seton Hall Prep defeated Bloomfield 15-0 at Yogi Berra Stadium on the campus of Montclair State University in Little Falls in the GNT championship game. It was the Pirates’ 18th title and their 26th appearance in the title game. Senior right-hander John Cerwinski (5-0) pitched a five-inning, complete-game one-hitter with seven strikeouts and two walks. The offense was led by senior left fielder Matt Monteleone, who was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and four RBIs. Junior designated hitter Ryan Probst was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs, and senior second baseman Alex Kim was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Senior third baseman Ryan Sprock was 1-for-2 with two RBIs, senior catcher Aaron Bertone was 1-for-3 with two RBIs, senior shortstop Chris Maldonado was 1-for-2 with three runs scored and one RBI, and senior right fielder Luke Mahala drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk. 

Following the game, head coach Mike Sheppard Jr. said, “I am more proud of the fact that we put ourselves in a position to be in the championship game, but in baseball, anything can happen. I just want our team to go out there and be competitive and respect your opponent.”

Maldonado added, “This is what we have been working for the entire year.” 

Cerwinski said, “I felt good on the mound and was glad that my teammates gave me a quick lead. We are not done yet. We still have a couple of regular-season games left and then the state tournament. I believe that the Non-Public A North section is the toughest in the state.”

Just two days earlier junior right-hander Justin Shadek pitched a magnificent one-hit, complete-game shutout in a 1-0 victory over Christian Brothers Academy at Porcello Field. The Pirates’ only run was scored when, with one out in the fifth inning, Maldonado walked, stole second base and scored when Sprock singled to right field. 

Shadek, who had nine strikeouts, said after the game, “I had a good mentality from the start. Going into the third inning, I knew I was going to throw a gem, and the team and coaches had a lot of faith in me.”

Sheppard added, “That was a quality performance today. Justin pitched up to his potential.”

The day before, the Pirates clinched their 10th Super Essex Conference–American Division title, defeating Bloomfield 14-3 at Bloomfield Middle School. The Pirates were led by junior Garrett Grubbs, who was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs, while junior Elijah Foster hit a two-run homer, Monteleone hit a solo homer and Kim was 2-for-4 with two runs batted in. Senior right-hander Patrick Walega (3-1) threw four innings, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and one walk, and junior James Macko threw the final two innings with four strikeouts and one walk, giving up one hit.

On Tuesday, May 17, Seton Hall traveled to Woodman Field in Montclair to take on the Mounties. They defeated Montclair 9-2. Monteleone and Maldonado each drove in two runs, while Kim, Mahala, Bertone, and senior center fielder Sam Nomura each drove in one run. Sprock (4-0), a senior right-hander, pitched a complete game, allowing two unearned runs on two hits with 13 strikeouts and two walks. 

Photos Courtesy of Rich Morris/SHP