The regular season was packed with plenty of action and the first round of the state tournament produced some terrific individual performances and quality wins.
The quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA state tournament for public schools is scheduled for Thursday, with the ultimate goal of reaching the state final on Saturday, June 10 at Veterans Park in Mercer County. Every pitch, every at-bat takes on added meaning as the teams engage in the single-elimination event.
Bottom line: win or go home.
The NJ Advance Media baseball staff has taken a look at the brackets in each state section and reviewed the first round results. It’s time to see what the quarterfinals look like.
Take a look below as we break down the section of North Jersey Section 2.
8-Brearley at 1-Wood-Ridge, 3: Top seed Wood-Ridge (18-8) shutout Belvidere in a 14-0 victory with just one hit allowed. Devin Arce and Michael Marchitelli struck out nine in five combined innings, while Liam Kelly and Nick Roncaioli each posted multiple RBI games. Brearley (13-10) defeated North Arlington, 9-4 behind Sean Ferrari’s five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and two hits. Reymundo González, Matt SIms, Dominick Condo and Robbie Zack each scored two RBIs.
5-Dayton at 4-New Providence, 4: Dayton (15-11) won the only regular season meeting in 2023 by a score of 11-1. Dayton also outscored Whippany Park, 6-3 in the first round of this tournament thanks to two RBIs from Jon Rodrigues and two hits from Frank Dasti and Kieran Conway. New Providence (11-13) is the defending champion of this section, defeating Secaucus in a 4-0 first-round shutout. Robby Roth pitched six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.
6-Verona at 3-Hoboken, 4: Adrian Tavera had five RBI and Tyler Shawlinsky added three for Hoboken (14-6) in its 15-5 win over Weehawken to advance to the quarterfinals. Verona (12-14) scored all seven of their runs in the seventh inning to walk against Roselle Park. Liam Frey and Charlie Pepe each hit two RBIs.
10-Glen Ridge at 2-Cedar Grove, 4: Both teams pitched a shutout in the first round. Cedar Grove (17-9) snapped an eight-run third inning and saw Matt Correale pitch four scoreless innings with eight strikeouts to win, 14-0. Dante Martinez, Nick Russo and Mason Ksyniak drove in two runs. Glen Ridge (9-12) shutout Newark Tech, 3-0 behind the complete-game shutout of Zach Berner with 12 strikeouts.
8-Leonia at 1-Hanover Park, 4: Facing off for the first time since 2017, both teams have been hot. Leonia (15-6) has won four straight and seven of its last eight. Hanover Park (19-5) got off to a good start in the playoffs, defeating McNair, 12-1 thanks to nine runs scored in the first two innings.
12-Passaic Valley at 4-Ridgefield Park, 1: Winning his fourth straight ballgame with two shutouts in the span, Passaic Valley (12-15-1) shutout Bernards in the first round behind Mike Romano’s six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. Ridgefield Park (15-8-1) defeated Passaic Valley on May 15 and will look to carry that momentum into the quarterfinals. Ridgefield Park moved up in the group thanks to a 6-5 win over Voorhees in 10 innings behind Victor Rodriguez’s three RBIs.
6-Parsippany at 3-Caldwell, 4: These teams will face each other for the first time since 2013. Caldwell (14-12-1) posted a 10-0 win over Ridgefield thanks to Dan Paris’ seven strikeouts in six scoreless innings. Parsippany (16-6) has won three straight games, including a shutout. Against Hackettstown in the first round, Tommy Frietag drove in two runs while Jack Depetris struck out seven batters in six innings.
7-Madison at 2-Rutherford, 4:15: Seeing the same field for the first time since 2019, Madison (16-8) and Rutherford (16-9) have been tough to beat of late. Madison has won five straight games, including a 9-1 effort over Lyndhurst in the first round behind James Doehner’s one-hitter complete game and three batters recording two RBI apiece. Rutherford has won three straight contests, including two shutouts. Facing Technology in the first round, five Bulldog batters scored a multi-RBI game.
9-Chatham at 1-Millburn, 3: This won’t be an easy matchup for top-seeded Millburn as ninth-seeded Chatham comes to town. Chatham, which defeated eighth seed West Morris on Monday, is a well-trained team with two pitchers in left-hander Ryan Barry and right-hander Trent Jenks. Both will be eligible to launch on Thursday, but have to contend with a deep and talented Millburn team that is also well-trained and has a lineup that can do a bit of everything. Millburn defeated Payne Tech on Monday to book its spot in the quarterfinals. Millburn will have their entire arsenal of pitching available to Chatham in some way, including senior ace Steven Echavarria.
12-Warren Hills at 4-South Plainfield, 1: Warren Hills had a dramatic comeback over Summit on Monday in the first round, scoring three runs in the sixth inning to book his spot in the quarterfinals against South Plainfield. South Plainfield has played a tough schedule this season as part of being in the Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division, coming off a 5-2 win over Cologne on Monday. South Plainfield will try to hold off Warren Hills on Thursday.
6-North Hunterdon at 3-Randolph, 4: North Hunterdon have had a fabulous season so far, posting a 16-5 record and picking up a win over Mendham in the first round on Monday. The Lions’ season has a chance to get even better against a Randolph team that defeated Nutley in the first round. Randolph got off to a good start this season before going through a cold streak before bouncing back. The Rams have played a tough schedule and have plenty of talent to book their spot in the semifinals.
10-Ferris at 2-Cranford, 3:30: A rematch of last year’s sectional semifinals that Cranford won, Ferris has persevered through injury and ups and downs to reach the quarterfinals after defeating Belleville on Monday. Cranford remains the state’s only unbeaten team this season, going 25-0. The Cougars, the defending sectional champions, defeated fellow Union County team Rahway in the first round and will look to reach another sectional semifinal with a win on Thursday.
8-Westfield at 1-Ridge, 4: These teams will meet for the first time in four years. Ridge (25-3) has been one of the tougher teams in New Jersey this spring. Winners of eight straight, the Red Devils defeated Piscataway in the first round behind Connor Byrne’s 10 strikeouts and three RBIs. Brendan Callanan and Julian Kielb each added two RBIs. Westfield (13-9) defeated Franklin, 5-3 behind Tomas Cestero’s 12 strikeouts and Randy Davis’ two RBIs.
13-Phillipsburg at 5-Bayonne, 6: Bayonne (22-6) took charge in the first round against Union in a 14-5 victory. Aidan Paradine homered and drove in three RBIs, while Justin Hoffmann had four RBIs and two hits. Phillipsburg (11-15) has won three in a row, knocking out Elizabeth in the first round, 6-5. Dylan Melsky had four RBIs to help pull off the upset.
11-Watchung Hills at 3-Woodbridge, 4:30: Woodbridge (19-5) has won six straight. With a 9-1 victory over JP Stevens in the first round, AJ Bosch and Ty Kobylakiewicz each had two RBIs each and a combined two extra-base hits. Watchung Hills (10-13) had a big 1-0 win over Edison behind Trenon Stanard’s complete-game shutout. He allowed four hits and struck out two. Jake Keirstead had the lone RBI.
7-Hunterdon Central at 2-Bridgewater-Raritan, 4: This will be a Skyland Conference bug showdown. Bridgewater-Raritan (20-6) is 2-0 against the Red Devils this year and is off to a strong start in the playoffs. Downing Dickinson, 20-1, Kellen Komline and JR Rosado each had three RBIs, while Matthew Baxter, Michael Fattore, Matthew Lehberger and Tim Travisano each had two. Hunterdon Central (13-9) earned a 14-2 victory over Scotch Plains-Fanwood thanks to Jared Cassella leading the charge with four RBIs. Kyle Yasunas and Jimmie Lundari each provided three RBIs.
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PJ Potter covers North Jersey baseball. He can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @PJ_Potter
Luis Torres covers North and Central Jersey baseball. He can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @ByLuisTorres