GL baseball captures CJ, G2 crown for first time since 2011; Highlanders tie record for wins in a season at 26

Will face South Jersey champion Buena in Group 2 semifinal at Rider University; now 1 win away from playing for a state championship

The Governor Livingston baseball team has played 32 games and won 26 of them.

One more win and the Highlanders will have won 27 games for the first time.

One more win and GL will be going back to Toms River for the first time in four years.

In Friday’s Central Jersey, Group 2 final in Berkeley Heights, second-seeded GL took the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the first, added two more in the fifth and then held on for a 5-3 win over fifth-seeded Robbinsville.

The five runs were enough support for senior pitchers Ethan Frohman, who started, and Dan Belfer, who entered in the sixth and closed.

As a result, GL improved to 26-6 and won 26 games for the second time and first time since the 2011 squad finished 26-6 after capturing the Group 2 state championship for the second time.

Robbinsville finished at 20-11.

GL will next face South Jersey champion Buena Tuesday at Rider University in Lawrenceville in a Group 2 semifinal. The Group 2 final is scheduled to be played in Toms River on June 6.

Tuesday’s other Group 2 semifinal pits North 1 champion Lakeland vs. North 2 champ Bernards at Ramapo College in Mahwah.

GL won a sectional title and captured CJ, G2 both for the first time since that 2011 season, which concluded with a nine-game winning streak and 9-1 mark after GL lost to Cranford in the Union County Tournament championship game.

This GL team is presently 9-1 since losing to Cranford once more in this year’s UCT final.

The Highlanders – Union County’s only baseball team still alive in state tournament play – will take a two-game winning streak into Tuesday’s game against Buena.

GL’s Montclair State-bound slugging senior third baseman Ian Lynch produced his 100th career hit in the first inning – it drove in freshman Dan Serretti – and then came around to score the first of his two runs.

Lynch reached the coveted 100-hit plateau in just three varsity seasons. He finished with two hits for 101.

The lefty-throwing, Lehigh-bound Frohman – now 9-1 – pitched 5 and 1/3 innings and gave up all three runs in earning the mound victory.

“Ethan kept us in the game without his good stuff,” GL head coach Chris Roof said. “On Tuesday he was really good.

“Today he still kept us in the game and held down a really good team. Robbinsville won 20 games and did so for a reason.”

Belfer pitched the final 1 and 2/3 innings. In the top of the seventh with Robbinsville sending up the top of its order, Belfer retired the leadoff batter, hit the second batter and then retired the next two batters, including the final one on a strikeout.

“The stress you go through, this is a very emotional game,” Roof said of Robbinsville having the tying run at the plate with one out in the top of the seventh.

“We had some core players back this year and you think you’re going to do well. Dan Belfer was injured last year and we didn’t know what we were going to get from him.

“To be 26-6, get to a county final and lose to a very good team (Cranford) then share a division championship with that same team and then win a section title, how can you not be ecstatic?

“This is not the best team I had, but you don’t always win with you’re your best team. In 2012 we had a good team back and lost to Robbinsville in the quarterfinals.

“We’ve been playing well and against good competition. This team is definitely battle-tested.”

GL has won its last three group semifinal games and by a combined score of 38-7.

“We really wanted to win the section,” Roof said. “Whatever else happens is gravy, it really is.

“Now we’re playing with house money. We need to go out there and have fun. The No. 1 thing is to have fun and also play hard and let the chips fall where they may.”

NOTES: Roof’s 15-season record as a head coach now stands at 298-135 (.688). If GL tops Buena at Rider Tuesday, Roof’s first chance at gaining victory No. 300 will be in the Group 2 final.

Roof’s 12-season record at GL is now 244-101 (.707) from 2004 to this year. His three-season record at Millburn from 2001-2003 was 54-34 (.614).

 

 

GROUP 2 SEMIFINALS – TUESDAY, JUNE 2:

 

North 1, Lakeland vs. North 2, Bernards

– at Ramapo College, Mahwah

 

Central Jersey, Gov. Livingston vs. South Jersey, Buena

– at Rider University, Lawrenceville

 

 

 

GROUP 2 SECTIONAL FINALS RESULTS

– FRIDAY, MAY 29:

 

North 1: Lakeland 2, Ramsey 0 – at Lakeland

Lakeland was 1 seed, Ramsey 2

 

North 2: Bernards 3, Hackettstown 1 – at Hackettstown

Bernards was 2 seed, Hackettstown 1

 

Central Jersey: GL 5, Robbinsville 3 – at GL

GL was 2 seed, Robbinsville 5

 

South Jersey: Buena 2, Haddonfield 1 – at Haddonfield

Buena was 6 seed, Haddonfield 1

 

 

GL AND MILLBURN IN SECTIONAL FINALS

UNDER HEAD COACH CHRIS ROOF:

 

AT GL (3-2):

 

2015: Central Jersey, Group 2

GL was 2 seed, Robbinsville 5

GL 5, Robbinsville 3 – at GL

 

2011: Central Jersey, Group 2

GL was 3 seed, Middlesex 4

GL 15, Middlesex 5 (5 inn.) – at GL

GL went on to win Group 2 and finished 26-6.

 

2010: Central Jersey, Group 2

GL was 4 seed, Spotswood 11

Spotswood 7, GL 5 – at GL

GL finished 23-8.

 

2009: Central Jersey, Group 2

GL was 4 seed, Shore Regional 6

Shore Regional 11, GL 6 – at GL

GL finished 20-8.

 

2006: Central Jersey, Group 2

GL was 2 seed, Spotswood 1

GL 6, Spotswood 1 – at Spotswood

GL reached the Group 2 final and finished 24-8.

 

 

AT MILLBURN (1-1):

 

2003: North 2, Group 3

Millburn was 6 seed, Cranford 5

Cranford 6, Millburn 5 – at Ridge

Millburn finished 18-12.

 

 

2002: North 2, Group 3

Millburn defeated Nutley at Ridge

Millburn finished 21-11 after falling to Ramapo

in the Group 3 semifinal at St. Peter’s College.

 

 

 

GL BASEBALL IN STATE SEMIS, FINALS

 

UNDER CHRIS ROOF:

 

2011, Group 2:

 

Semifinals: GL 12, West Deptford 3 – at Monmouth University

 

Final: GL 8, West Essex 2 – at Toms River North

 

GL finished 26-6 in 2011, setting program record for wins in a season.

 

2006, Group 2:

 

Semifinals: GL 18, Point Pleasant Boro 4 – at New Egypt

 

Final: Hanover Park 8, GL 0 – at Toms River South

 

GL finished 24-8 in 2006.

 

 

UNDER BILL HOWARD:

 

1999, Group 2:

 

Semifinals: GL 8, Hawthorne 0 – at Ramapo College

 

Final: GL 4, Gateway 2 – at East Brunswick Tech

 

GL won North 2, Group 2 as the top seed, beating second-seeded

Chatham 15-1 in the final at Elizabeth.

GL finished 21-4 in 1999.

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