Opening Day baseball gets into full swing in Union County

UNION COUNTY, NJ — Opening Day high school baseball in Union County on Monday, April 1, featured some lopsided scores, several high-scoring games and a few, good-old, one-run competitions.

Union County’s two-best teams, Cranford and Governor Livingston high schools, scored 12 and 10 runs, respectively, while Westfield and Roselle Park high schools produced one-run victories.

Cranford High School at home and David Brearley High School on the road won by shutout, the Cougars blanking Union High School, 12-0, and the Bears halting Arthur L. Johnson High School, 3-0, in Clark.

Cranford senior left hander Dylan Falk for four innings and senior right hander Joseph Paccione for the fifth and final frame combined on a no-hitter for the Cougars. Union had only two baserunners reach, the first on a hit-by-pitch to lead off the game and the second on a one-out walk in the fifth.

Union was scheduled to face Governor Livingston in its home-opener on Wednesday, April 3. On Thursday, April 4, the Farmers are to host Jonathan Dayton High School in a UCC-Mountain Division battle.
Sean Budis went the seven-inning distance in shutting out Arthur L. Johnson. The senior struck out 13, walked one and hit two batters in tossing a five-hitter.

David Brearley was held to just one hit by Arthur L. Johnson pitching, with junior Anthony Orlando banging out a single and scoring one of David Brearley’s three runs. Fellow juniors Matt Didonato and Dominick Russo also scored for head coach Dave Kaplow, who starred in high school at Westfield for head coach Bob Brewster.

Brewster is the winningest coach in Union County history with 655. Cranford head coach Dennis McCaffery, now in his 25th season at the helm of the Cougars, notched victory No. 498 on Monday, April 1.
One of McCaffery’s best teams was his 2013 squad that went 25-1 and repeated as Group 3 state champions. Also the Union County Tournament champion that season, Cranford finished No. 1 in New Jersey at season’s end.

Governor Livingston head coach Chris Roof moved to 449 victories on Monday, April 1, after winning pitcher Matty Diskin worked the first six innings and Ryan Pappas a scoreless seventh.

Roof, a 1992 Governor Livingston graduate, is in his 20th season at Governor Livingston and 23rd overall. Roof was first a head coach at Millburn High School, from 2001-2003.

The Highlanders pulled away in the bottom of the fourth when they scored four times to extend their advantage to 8-2. Governor Livingston scored the game’s final two runs in the sixth.

Roselle Park scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the seventh to come back and beat Rahway High School 3-2 at home.

Jose Candelaria drove in two runs and Anthony Damiano the other for the Panthers in this UCC-Valley Division battle.

In Westfield’s 7-6 home triumph against Elizabeth High School–Frank J. Cicarell Academy, the Blue Devils came back from a 2-1 deficit by scoring six runs in the bottom of the third. They then held on for the win as Elizabeth scored twice more in the fourth and sixth innings.

Union Catholic High School took a 5-1 lead in the top of the third at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School and was then able to add three big insurance runs in the sixth for an 8-3 win in the battle of schools located in Scotch Plains.

Nick Pellegrino went six innings for the Vikings to earn the mound victory, tossing an eight-hitter in this UCC-crossover clash. Gregory Viloria drove in two runs for Union Catholic and teammate Ryan Gianchiglia scored twice.

Monday, April 1
Union County Baseball
Opening Day Scoreboard

Cranford 12, Union 0 – at Cranford
Governor Livingston 10, Oratory Prep 2 – at Governor Livingston
Westfield 7, Elizabeth 6 – at Westfield
David Brearley 3, Arthur L. Johnson 0 – at Arthur L. Johnson
Union Catholic 8, Scotch Plains–Fanwood 3 – at Scotch Plains–Fanwood
Roselle Park 3, Rahway 2 – at Roselle Park