UNION – For the third straight year Westfield – the team with the most county championships – will face a left-hander in title game.
For the second straight season the Blue Devils will attempt to beat a hurler seeking to go 4-0 in UCT competition.
Two years ago it took four innings, but Westfield was able to figure out senior Devin Zimmerman en route to a 13-3 triumph over Union for its record 13th county crown.
Last year the Blue Devils were not as fortunate against Cranford senior Ryan Williamson, who is now pitching at North CarolinaState. Williamson tossed a four-hitter, striking out seven and walking four, for his second UCT shutout and a 4-0 mark in UCT play last year as Cranford won 8-0, tasting victory in the final for the eighth straight time. Williamson improved to 7-0 with the triumph.
Now third-seeded Westfield will have to face Governor Livingston junior lefty Ethan Frohman, who is 6-0, including 3-0 in this UCT. Frohman – in UCT play – defeated Linden and Dayton as a starter and won the Elizabeth game in between in relief. GL, the top seed for what is believed to be the first time, is 7-0 in games Frohman has pitched in thus far this season.
Williamson only gave up one run in 28 and 1/3 innings of tournament work last season. So far, Frohman has given up only two runs in 14 and 2/3 innings in this UCT.
Westfield will counter with a lefty of its own, with Gettysburg-bound senior Brad DeMartino (3-0) set to take the mound again one week after tossing a three-hitter in beating Cranford 4-1 in the second semifinal.
Frohman halted Dayton on six hits en route to a 6-1 semifinal win over the Bulldogs. In his seven appearances so far this season, Frohman has allowed only three runs, two as a starter and one in relief.
A battle of left-handers is scheduled for Saturday at KeanUniversity’s Jim Hynes ’63 Baseball Stadium in Union when the 61st annual baseball Union County Tournament championship game will be contested.
Although some weather reports include thunderstorms in the forecast for later in the day, the game was pushed back from an original 1 p.m. first-pitch start to now being scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.
The junior varsity UCT championship game that was scheduled for a 10:30 a.m. start at Kean Saturday before the varsity final will now take place another day to be determined.
The rain date for the varsity championship game is Sunday at Kean at 1 p.m.
Last year’s championship game was rained out on a Saturday and played the next day on Mother’s Day. The same scenario could happen this weekend.
Frohman’s first of two shutouts was a 1-0 Union County Conference-Watchung Division home win over Westfield back on April 9. GL was 3-0 and Westfield 2-0 heading into that league tilt.
Frohman hurled a complete-game, three-hitter in BerkeleyHeights, striking out eight. His counterpart, Westfield junior righty Jack Bunting, also threw a solid game. Bunting tossed a four-hitter that included just one earned run and also eight strikeouts.
Westfield snapped GL’s 11-game winning streak Tuesday at home in league play by winning 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh. That put Westfield in the lead for the Watchung Division crown, with the Blue Devils with just one loss and GL with two.
DeMartino, one of 13 seniors on the Westfield roster, did not pitch at all in the two league games vs. GL.
A TEAM WITH A RECORD 13 TITLES VS.
ANOTHER STILL SEEKING ITS FIRST
Westfield, 12-3 and winners of nine straight heading into Friday’s scheduled Watchung Division game at Elizabeth, last captured the UCT two years ago and is 13-9 in 22 finals. The Blue Devils have not only won the most titles, but they have also appeared in the most finals.
Head coach Bob Brewster, at the helm since 1983, has a 9-7 record in UCT finals.
Westfield is making its sixth appearance in the last seven finals, with a record of 1-4 in its last five finals.
The Blue Devils are also in the UCT final for the seventh time since 2006, with a record of 2-4 in their last six title games.
Westfield is the only team to win four titles in a row, doing so from 1994-1997, and is the only team to lose three title games in a row, doing so from 2008-2010.
GL, 16-3 and seeking to snap its first two-game losing streak of the season heading into Friday’s scheduled Watchung Division game at Union, is 0-3 in the final, losing to Westfield in 1996 and to Cranford in 2007 and 2011.
While Westfield has never won a state championship – the Blue Devils are getting closer having reached the Group 4 final in 2011 and 2013 – GL has won two state titles, capturing Group 2 crowns in 1999 and 2011.
“We’ve won two state championships, but don’t have a county title,” GL head coach Chris Roof said. “It should be the other way around.
“However, when you go up against teams like Cranford, Westfield and Union, Elizabeth and Scotch Plains, it’s not easy.”
While the Highlanders will have a confident Frohman, with an ERA under 1.00, on the mound, Roof – at the helm since 2004 – knows that a different day means a different game.
“This is baseball, so what we did in the past really means nothing,” Roof said. “We’re going to have to go out and play another pretty good game if we’re going to have a chance.”
Offensively, triples that were smashed early on also played a big part in both GL and Westfield advancing.
The game-winning hit in GL’s victory over Dayton was provided by Mike Falk, who went the other way to line a pitch down the right field line for a two-run extra-base hit, giving GL the lead for good at 2-0 in the bottom of the second.
In the top of the first against Cranford, Westfield’s Matt Storcks tripled and then scored his team’s first run on an RBI-single by St. Peter’s College-bound senior catcher Michael Ionta.
NOTES:Westfield and GL both had Watchung Division games rained out Thursday. Westfield was to play at Cranford, while GL was to host Linden at SnyderPark in BerkeleyHeights.
61ST ANNUAL BASEBALL UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT
SEEDS: 1-Gov. Livingston. 2-Cranford. 3-Westfield. 4-Scotch Plains.
5-Dayton. 6-Union. 7-Union Catholic. 8-Elizabeth.
9-Summit. 10-New Providence. 11-Roselle Park. 12-Johnson.
13-Oratory Prep. 14-Plainfield 15-Rahway. 16-Roselle Catholic.
Wednesday, April 23
Linden 11, Roselle Catholic 5 – at Roselle Catholic
Friday, April 25
Oratory Prep 7, Scotch Plains 5 – at Scotch Plains
Saturday, April 26
Elizabeth 6, Summit 2 – at Elizabeth
Gov. Livingston 11, Linden 3 – at Gov. Livingston
Union Catholic 4, New Providence 1 – at Union Catholic
Cranford 14, Rahway 1 – at Cranford
Roselle Park 6, Union 3 – at Union
Monday, April 28
Dayton 7, Johnson 5 – at Dayton
Westfield 10, Plainfield 0 – at Westfield
Friday, May 2
Dayton 10, Oratory Prep 0 – at Dayton
Gov. Livingston 10, Elizabeth 3 – at Gov. Livingston
Westfield 4, Roselle Park 2 – at Westfield
Cranford 5, Union Catholic 4 (9 inn.) – at Cranford
Saturday, May 3
At Kean University
Gov. Livingston 6, Dayton 1
Westfield 4, Cranford 1
Saturday, May 10
At Kean University
3-Westfield vs. 1-Gov. Livingston, 3:30 p.m
RAIN DATE: Sunday, May 11 at Kean, 1 p.m.
UCT TITLE GAME SCORES
AND PITCHERS OF RECORD:
2013: Cranford 8, Westfield 0
WP: Ryan Williamson. LP: Kevin Galasso.
2012: Westfield 13, Union 3
WP: Mike Mondon. LP: Devin Zimmerman.
2011: Cranford 14, Gov. Livingston 1
WP: Kurt Rutmayer. LP: Joey Graziano.
2010: Cranford 6, Westfield 5
WP: Ryan Williamson. LP: Aiden Scanlon.
2009: Scotch Plains 2, Westfield 1 (10 inn.)
WP: Gary Binkiewicz. LP: Aiden Scanlon.
2008: Elizabeth 4, Westfield 2
WP: Gio Caraballo. LP: Chris Jenkins.
2007: Cranford 7, Gov. Livingston 1
WP: Dan Moreno. LP: Anthony Corsi.
2006: Westfield 9, Roselle Catholic 0
WP: Craig Ellis. LP: Nick Nolan.
2005: Roselle Catholic 6, Dayton 2
WP: Nick Nolan. LP: York Cook.
2004: Scotch Plains 3, Roselle Catholic 1
WP: James Scalfaro. LP: Nick Nolan.
2003: Cranford 7, Linden 4
WP: Brian Ciencin. LP: Mike Loureiro
2002: Westfield 7, Johnson 4
WP: Jay Cook. LP: Drew Thomas.
2001: Cranford 11, Plainfield 1
WP: Tom Polito. LP: Eladio Ortiz.
2000: Cranford 10, Rahway 0
WP: Tom Polito. LP: Steve Brown.
1999: Cranford 6, New Providence 5
WP: Tom Polito. LP: Todd Simo.
1998: Summit 5, Cranford 4
WP: Jared Chellevold. LP: Steve Brown.
1997: Westfield 7, Summit 1
WP: Matt Williams. LP: Jared Chellevold
1996: Westfield 7, Gov. Livingston 1
WP: Brian Ciemniecki. LP: Eric Brown.
1995: Westfield 3, Elizabeth 0
WP: Kris Williams. LP: Al Hawkins
1994: Westfield 7, Elizabeth 5
WP: Chris Vogel. LP: Al Hawkins
1993: Union 5, Westfield 3
WP: Eric Shaw. LP: Chris Vogel.
1992: Summit 10, Linden 4
WP: Garth Ballantyne. LP: Bryan Kosiba.
1991: Elizabeth 10, Westfield 1
WP: Pat Migliore. LP: John Fox.
1990: Rahway 2, Elizabeth 0
WP: Pat Jackson. LP: Pat Migliore.
1989: Elizabeth 7, Linden 2
WP: Charlie Garcia. LP: Ariel Lopez.
1988: Brearley 8, Rahway 1
WP: Mike Chalenski. LP: Frank Jones.
1987: Westfield 13, Elizabeth 12
WP: Clint Factor. LP: Greg Randazza.
1986: Westfield 9, Linden 6
WP: Clint Factor. LP: Rob Shaloub.
1985: Elizabeth 7, Union 5
WP: Fred Gamboa. LP: Mike Lawlor.
1984: Union Catholic 6, Elizabeth 5
WP: Greg Lepore. LP: Chris Wnek.
1983: Elizabeth 9, Westfield 8
WP: Angel Hajie. LP: Rob Rotunda.
1982: Linden 3, Elizabeth 2
WP: Tony Melise. LP: Laz Alfonso.
1981: New Providence 2, Union 1
WP: Steve Gelmine. LP: John Rubinetti.
1980: Johnson 5, New Providence 2
WP: Ken Petren. LP: Steve Gelmine.
1979: Summit 2, St. Mary’s 0
WP: John Murray. LP: Belamino Suarez.
1978: Westfield 3, Cranford 2
WP: K.C. Knobloch. LP: Scott Kley.
1977: New Providence 6, Westfield 1
WP: Doug Rillo. LP: K.C. Knobloch.
1976: Scotch Plains 1, Cranford 0
WP: Eddie Reilly. LP: Jim Carsey.
1975: Union 15, Cranford 0
WP: Frank Araneo. LP: Joe Gachko.
1974: St. Patrick’s 5, Union 3
WP: Bob Hynes. LP: Frank Araneo.
1973: Union 1, Johnson 0
WP: Bob Hughes. LP: Bob Schwankert.
1972: Summit 1, Union 0
WP: Mike Reid. LP: Stan Jakubowski.
1971: Roselle Catholic 3, Cranford 0
WP: Tom Byrnes. LP: Steve Gachko.
1970: Union 4, Jefferson 0
WP: Neil Gold. LP: Bob Brescher.
1969: Scotch Plains 5, Cranford 2
WP: Dave Klaatava. LP: Dan Costanzo.
1968: Westfield 2, Union 1
WP: Frank Tokash. LP: Sandy Weber.
1967: Union 17, Jefferson 2
WP: Jim Clee. LP: Jim Cowen.
1966: Westfield 13, Roselle 1
WP: Don Anderson. LP: Terry Arendt.
1965: Union 10, Westfield 2
WP: Al Santorini. LP: Greg Chlan.
1964: Union 3, Roselle 0
WP: Al Santorini. LP: Sal Riggi.
1963: Westfield 5, Springfield 4
WP: Jim Smith. LP: Bill Kretzger.
1962: Union 3, Jefferson 1
WP: Bob Castiglione. LP: Bob Krok.
1961: Rahway 6, Linden 5
WP: Tom Hoagland. LP: Ray Crepeau.
1960: Linden 4, St. Mary’s 2
WP: Ed Apalanski. LP: Rich Burke.
1959: St. Mary’s 7, Rahway 2
WP: Bill Henry. LP: Rich Kiehn.
1958: Rahway 3, Roselle 1
WP: Thelmore James. LP: Ed Jones.
1957: Linden 7, Rahway 5
WP: Frank Russo. LPK Fred Kast.
1956: Rahway 4, Scotch Plains 0
WP: Fred Henderson. LP: Bill Booth.
1955: Jefferson 4, Linden 0
WP: Richie Jones. LP: Ron Perry
1954: Springfield 4, Jefferson 2
WP: Joe Schaffernoth. LP: Richie Jones.