Baseball Group 2 Tournament Preview
(Photo by: @owensportsmedia)
Glen Rock is coming into this tournament as the #1 seed. Their 20-5 is more than impressive, they had a tough strength of schedule. The battle tested Panthers had key wins this season over the likes of St. Joe’s Metuchen, Pompton Lakes, Rutherford. Glen Rock has spectacular players on both sides of the ball. The Panthers have nine players who are batting over .300. On the flip side, Owen Litvany is the ace on the mound. He displayed an incredible 0.67 ERA and amassed a whopping 63 K’s in 42 pitches. Another great piece to their rotation is sophomore hurler Nick Atme, who posts a 1.62 ERA with 38 K’s in 39 IP. With the combination of smart hitting and powerful pitching, Glen Rock is looking to show their skill in route to a North 1 title.
Pascack Valley has had a rollercoaster season to say the least. They come in as the #2 seed with a 17-10 record, but don’t let that deceive you. They had a very tough schedule, taking losses to some of the best teams in the state. PV owns key wins over Ramsey, Ridgewood, and Ramapo. The Panthers can really slug the ball, as there are 4 batters who are hitting over .500. Their top slugger is senior Charlie Saul, who is batting .515 and leads PV with 5 HR and 25 RBI. Pascack Valley’s hitting prowess is something to watch out for in this tournament.
A dark horse that could shake things up in this section is Ramsey. The 16-7-1 Rams were ranked Top 20 in the state earlier this season, but struggled a little toward the latter half of the season. Ramsey has one of the best pitchers in the group in William Kirk. The junior posts an absurd 0.88 ERA with 76 K’s in only 32 IP. Kirk also swings that bat at a high level, batting .459 with 4 HR and 23 RBI. If Ramsey can return to early season form, they can very well be contenders to take home the championship.
Hanover Park comes into the sectional tournament at the top of the bracket with a 19-5 record. The Hornets are undefeated in conference play, going 10-0 in the NJAC - Liberty division. Hanover Park has taken down tough opposition all season, defeating the likes of Mountain Lakes, Madison, and Butler. The Hornets are led on both sides by Toby Smith. The two-way senior is tearing the cover off of the ball, batting .486 with 2 HR and a team-leading 35 RBI. On the flip side, he is also an ace on the mound. Smith is tossing a 0.71 ERA with 70 K’s in only 39 IP. Hanover Park also has two other pitchers that post an ERA below 2.00, showing they have plenty of great arms in the rotation. With great pitching and a solid offense, Hanover Park is looking to prove why they are the rightful one seed.
The #2 Rutherford has had a tough schedule this season, but still finds themselves compiling an impressive 17-9 record. The Bulldogs have taken down some solid programs, including Ferris and St. Mary’s x2. Rutherford’s lineup is led by senior OF Chris Gioia. He’s batting .392 while leading the team with 4 HR and 34 RBI. The Bulldog’s have a big-3 style rotation that includes Chris Gioia, Coleton Hebert, and Sam Kelly, who all post a sub 3.00 ERA with over 40K’s in 30+ IP. WIth an all around solid team, Rutherford are real contenders to win the North 2 sectional title.
A longshot in this tournament to look out for is Passaic Valley. Although they have a subpar record, going 12-15-1, they are heating up. They are on a 4 game win streak and took out the #5 seed Bernards in the first round in thrilling fashion with a 2-0 victory. Look for their top slugger John Bucher to help lead Passaic Valley to another upset win, as senior OF is batting .459 with a team-leading 45 hits. Although they are a dark horse, an eye should be kept out for PV to potentially make a Cinderella run.
Rumson-Fair Haven is the #1 seed in the Central bracket of Group 2. The Bulldogs are currently a Top 20 team in the state, coming in with an 18-5 record. They have been playing top competition in the state and own a win over one of the best teams in the state in Red Bank Catholic. RFH has a complete team full of solid batters and strong arms in their rotation. Senior ace Jackson Hinchliffe posts a 1.12 ERA over 31 IP, along with 41 K’s. Rumson Fair-Haven are the strongest team in this bracket, but it is up to them to put their talents on display to take home the Central sectional title.
Spotswood started off the season hot, recording a record of 10-0. They have since cooled off as they currently sit at 19-7 on the year. The Chargers are led by Cumiskey brothers, who are key contributors on both sides of the ball. The sophomore two-way player, Carter Cumiskey, is batting .383 with a team leading 4 HR. On the other side of the ball, he posts a 1.83 ERA with 65 K’s through 38 IP. The older Cumiskey brother, Casey, is batting an astounding .562, while leading the team with 32 RBI. As a pitcher he hurls a 2.31 ERA with 44 K’s in 33 IP. Spotswood is in a great spot with their solid lineup and rotation, as well as the huge contribution of the Cumiskey brothers.
A dangerous dark horse team in the Central bracket is Warriors of Manasquan. The #15 seed has already shaken up the bracket by taking out #2 Gov. Livingston 5-2 in the first round. Manasquan has just a 12-11 record on the season, but they play opponents very close. They have three losses that are within 2 runs or less against Top 20 teams, showing that they can play up to the competition. Senior slugger Brett Patten has helped the Warriors by bringing massive power to their lineup. Patten is batting .436 while hitting 5 HR and 17 RBI on the season thus far. They have three great pitchers in Cullen Condon (0.97 ERA), Jack O'Shea (1.89 ERA), and Jack Dawson (2.07 ERA) who hold down the rotation. Watch out for the battle tested Warriors to continue to make noise in the Central bracket.
Cedar Creek enters the South bracket as the #1 seed, compiling a 19-7 record on the season. The offense is led by juniors Tyler McCorriston and Ryan Manning. McCorriston is batting .419 and leads the team in hits with 36. Manning is not far behind, batting .377 and leading the team in RBI with 21.The Pirates are looking to build off these two sluggers to mash their way to a South sectional title.
Haddon Heights comes in as the #2 seed in this tournament with a 16-7 record. The Garnets are coming off a dominating win in the first round, taking down Pleasantville 12-0. Junior, Jake Griess, provides great offense, as he is batting .429 and leads the team in hits with 30. Junior catcher Cameron Simon also contributes efficiently, as he bats .302 and leads the team in RBI with 18. The pitching staff is beyond solid, as they have 4 pitchers who possess an ERA under 3.00, the lowest coming from senior ace Mason Dobbs (1.11 ERA).
#3 seed Cinnaminson is coming into this tournament on a 3-game win streak, also carrying a record of 16-8. The Pirates’ rotation is their bread and butter, as they have 4 pitchers who are tossing under a 3.00 ERA. Alex LePage leads the charge with a 2.62 and 54 K’s over 40 IP. On the offensive end, Cinnaminson looks to senior 3B Ryan Horner for a spark. Horner is batting .368 and leads the team in hits with 25 and runs with 26. Although they are the #3 seed, the Pirates have the talent and experience to make a run at the South sectional title.