There is no mystery as to which team should be seeded No. 1 Monday night when the 64th annual baseball Union County Tournament is put together in Cranford.
For the first time Governor Livingston is the defending champion.
The Highlanders should also be awarded the top seed in their quest to repeat as champions – also for the first time.
GL improved to 10-0 on Sunday, April 23 with a convincing 7-2 win over Middlesex County foe Colonia in the third and final day of the annual Autism Awareness Baseball Challenge held at North Brunswick’s Community Park.
GL is the only undefeated team remaining in Union County.
Senior right hander Vin Doren pitched six innings to improve to 3-0. When he went the distance in beating top-seeded Scotch Plains 3-2 in last year’s UCT championship game at Kean University, Doren also improved to 3-0 on that Sunday.
GL went 4-0 this past week and allowed just four runs. The Highlanders, who begin the week in first place in the Union County Conference’s Watchung Division at 3-0, have allowed two runs or less seven times, three runs or less nine times and have three shutouts.
Those numbers are attributed to an excellent starting pitching staff that includes Doren along with senior left hander Nicky Cocchia and other senior right handers Cole Schneider and Sean Savage, who also excels out of the bullpen.
GL has outscored its first 10 foes 91-22. The Highlanders have scored at least 10 runs on five occasions.
GL has three division games scheduled this week, including both against Scotch Plains, which begins the week at 6-5 overall and 3-1 in the Watchung Division. The Raiders may be in line to earn the UCT’s No. 2 seed.
GL hosts Scotch Plains Monday, plays at Union Tuesday and then plays at Scotch Plains Thursday.
Last year Scotch Plains swept GL in Watchung Division play before GL defeated Scotch Plains in the UCT final.
GL and Rahway won at North Brunswick Sunday, with the improved Indians winning for the third straight time to improve to 6-4.
Westfield (4-7) and Elizabeth, which was 4-5 going into Sunday’s game at North Brunswick against Hillsborough, should be considered among the top five seeds along with Union (5-4).
Union is scheduled to play Westfield for the first time in Watchung Division play Monday at Union.
Other games involving Union County teams scheduled to be played Monday before Monday night’s seeding meeting include Dayton (7-1) at Rahway (6-4), Roselle (0-5) vs. St. Mary’s of Elizabeth (0-2) at Warinanco Park and Hillside (4-2) at Plainfield (3-5).
The rest of the teams in Union County are not scheduled to play.
Cranford, the 2015 UCT champion, begins the week 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the Watchung Division. The Cougars reached the UCT semifinals the last four years.
Summit leads the UCC’s Mountain Division at 4-0 and is 8-3 overall. The Hilltoppers moved up to the Mountain Division this year after winning the Valley Division last year for the third time in the last four years.
Roselle Park is in first place in the Valley Division at 4-0 and is also undefeated against Union County competition. Roselle Park, 8-1 overall, has lost only to Highland Park 9-8 at home on April 10. Roselle Park has won six straight.
Dayton, which dropped down to the Valley Division this year, is 3-0 in the Valley and 7-1 overall. The Bulldogs split games with Mountain Division squad Linden this past week. Dayton and Roselle Park have not faced each other yet in Valley Division play.
Johnson is 4-6 overall and has won three straight, outscoring those foes 36-15. Union Catholic is 7-4 overall.
Rahway, which defeated Dunellen 13-1 Sunday, has bounced back nicely from a tough 7-6 loss in the bottom of the seventh at Union Catholic this past Monday. The Indians outscored their next three foes – winning all three games against Hillside, Plainfield and Dunellen – by a 42-4 margin.
Rahway moved up to the Valley Division – the Indians are 2-2 in the division so far – after winning the Sky Division the last two years.
Hillside and Plainfield begin the week tied for the lead in the Sky Division with 2-0 records.
UNION COUNTY GAMES
SCHEDULED TO BE PLAYED
MONDAY, APRIL 24:
Westfield at Union, 4 p.m.
Scotch Plains at Gov. Livingston, 4 p.m.
Dayton at Rahway, 4 p.m.
Roselle vs. St. Mary’s, Elizabeth at Warinanco, 4 p.m.
Hillside at Plainfield, 4 p.m.
Everyone else off.
UCT seeding meeting at Cranford, 7:30 p.m.
UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE
AS OF MONDAY, APRIL 24
WATCHUNG DIVISION (6 schools):
1-Gov. Livingston (3-0)
2-Scotch Plains (3-1)
MOUNTAIN DIVISION (5 schools):
2-New Providence (2-1)
Union Catholic (1-2)
VALLEY DIVISION (6 schools):
1-Roselle Park (4-0)
5-Oratory Prep (2-4)
6-Roselle Catholic (0-5)
SKY DIVISION (4 schools):
3-St. Mary’s, Elizabeth (0-2)
Governor Livingston (10-0)
Roselle Park (8-1)
Union Catholic (7-4)
Scotch Plains (6-5)
New Providence (5-5)
Elizabeth (4-5) and plays Hillsborough April 23
Oratory Prep (3-4)
St. Mary’s, Elizabeth (0-2)
Roselle Catholic (0-7)