Cranford baseball has impressive record this time of year; Cougars 54-15 (.783) in states since 1999

Hosts Iselin Kennedy in May 23 first round N2, G3 contest at Memorial Field

 

For Cranford baseball, there’s no time quite like the final days of May.

This is the time of year where the Cougars simply find ways to win games.

Over and over.

Year in and year out.

Since Dennis McCaffery took over as head coach in 1999, Cranford has produced an impressive 54-15 (.783) record in state tournament games the past 18 seasons.

That includes 10 sectional championship game wins, six state semifinal victories and three group state championship triumphs.

Cranford’s 70th state tournament game under McCaffery’s guidance will be played today – Tuesday, May 23 – at Cranford’s Memorial Field.

It will be the first played on the complex’s new turf.

Cranford is the defending North 2, Group 3 champion and has captured the section five of the first seven seasons so far this decade.

Is another sectional title in store for the Cougars?

We shall see, beginning today.

Cranford (16-7) is the third seed this time and will host 14th-seeded Iselin Kennedy (9-13) in first round play.

The Cougars have won four straight and are 11-2 since falling to 5-5 on April 27.

McCaffery, with a record of 392-120 (.766) in 19 seasons, has his team always focused on the present. The only thing that matters is the game being played that day.

“That’s always been our philosophy here,” McCaffery said. “What happened in the past is the past and doesn’t mean a thing. That’s not going to help us.

“Our concentration is always on the game at hand, the job right in front of us.”

This run all started with pitcher Pat Maher beating West Morris in Cranford’s first state game in 1999 and then Maher beat Morristown in the sectional final, going the distance in both of those victories.

Senior right-hander Tom Polito won at top-seeded Mendham in the 2001 N2, G3 semifinals, with Mendham winning North 2, Group 2 the year before. Polito is the only pitcher to win three Union County Tournament championship games and finished with a three-year varsity record of 27-1, that included 6-0 his sophomore year in 1999, 12-1 his junior season in 2000 and 9-0 his senior campaign in 2001.

Polito’s only loss was to Hamilton West in the 2000 Group 3 state championship game at East Brunswick Tech. He was also 9-0 in UCT competition, including 4-0 in 2000 and 2001.

Cranford was 23-3 in 1996, 27-2 and Group 3 state champions for the first time in 1997 and 21-3 in 1998 when McCaffery was an assistant to head coach James Shriner. Add those three seasons to the last 19 and the Cranford record since the first game of the 1996 season is presently 463-128 (.784).

That’s 335 games over .500. Not many public schools in New Jersey can rival that since 1996.

 

 

2017 NORTH 2, GROUP 3 BASEBALL

 

SEEDS: 1-Chatham. 2-Somerville. 3-Cranford. 4-Middletown South.

5-Barringer. 6-Rahway. 7-Middletown North. 8-Summit.

9-Hopewell Valley. 10-Colonia. 11-Ferris. 12-Mendham.

13-Warren Hills. 14-Iselin Kennedy. 15-Red Bank Regional. 16-Orange.

 

FIRST ROUND:

Tuesday, May 23, 4 p.m.

Rain date: Wednesday, May 24

TOP SIDE OF BRACKET:

16-Orange at 1-Chatham

9-Hopewell Valley at 8-Summit

13-Warren Hills at 4-Middletown South

12-Mendham at 5-Barringer

BOTTOM SIDE OF BRACKET:

15-Red Bank Regional at 2-Somerville

10-Colonia at 7-Middletown North

14-Iselin Kennedy at 3-Cranford

11-Ferris at 6-Rahway

 

QUARTERFINALS:

Thursday, May 25, 4 p.m.

Rain date: Friday, May 26

At higher seeds.

 

SEMIFINALS

Tuesday, May 30, 4 p.m.

At higher seeds.

 

FINAL

Friday, June 2, 4 p.m.

At higher seed.

 

 

 

CRANFORD BASEBALL IN STATES SINCE 1999:

 

Record: 54-15 (.783)

 

Home: (37-7)

 

Away: (5-0)

 

Neutral: (12-8)

 

Sectional finals: (10-3)

 

Group semifinals: (6-4)

 

Group finals: (3-3)

 

Group final in East Brunswick: (0-1)

 

Group finals in Toms River: (3-2)

 

Years won at least one state game: (16)

 

Years did not win a state game: (2), 2002 and 2004.

 

 

CRANFORD IN STATES

EVERY YEAR FROM 1999-2017:

 

1999: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 2 seed.

May 20: Cranford beats 7 seed West Morris 8-3 at home.

May 25: Cranford beats 6 seed Warren Hills 12-5 at home.

May 28: Cranford beats 5 seed Morristown 6-3 at Ridge.

GROUP 3 SEMIFINALS:

June 1: Demarest beats Cranford 6-1 at Watchung Hills.

Cranford finished 28-3, including 3-1 in states.

 

2000: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 4 seed.

May 24: Cranford beats 5 seed Rahway 8-6 at home.

May 30: Cranford beats 1 seed Morristown 4-2 (8 inn.) at Morristown.

June 2: Cranford beats 6 seed Parsippany 11-8 at Ridge.

GROUP 3 SEMIFINALS:

June 7: Cranford beats Sparta 8-4 at Jaroschak Field, Jersey City.

GROUP 3 FINAL:

June 10: Hamilton West beats Cranford 5-0 at East Brunswick Tech.

Cranford finished 25-6, including 4-1 in states.

 

2001: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 4 seed.

May 24: Cranford beats 5 seed Jefferson 2-0 at home.

May 29: Cranford beats 1 seed Mendham 6-2 at Mendham.

June 1: 2 seed Nutley beats Cranford 5-3 at Ridge.

Cranford finished 20-9, including 2-1 in states.

 

2002: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 3 seed.

May 23: 6 seed Jefferson beats Cranford 5-1 at Cranford.

Cranford finished 10-13, including 0-1 in states.

 

2003: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 5 seed.

May 23: Cranford beats 4 seed Nutley 5-3 at Nutley.

May 29: Cranford beats 8 seed Morris Knolls 10-0 at home.

May 30: Cranford beats 6 seed Millburn 6-5 at Ridge.

GROUP 3 SEMIFINALS:

June 3: Cranford 16, Paramus 1 (6 inn.) at Union.

GROUP 3 FINAL

(Cougars made 2 trips to Toms River

for Group 3 final, including rainout):

June 10: Toms River South 9, Cranford 4 at Toms River North.

Cranford finished 19-8, including 4-1 in states.

 

2004: NORTH 2, GROUP 2

Cranford is 1 the seed.

May 21: 9 seed Parsippany beats Cranford 6-5 at Cranford.

Cranford finished 18-7, including 0-1 in states.

 

2005: CENTRAL JERSEY, GROUP 2

Cranford is the 1 seed.

May 27: Cranford beats 8 seed Carteret 8-3 at home.

May 31: Cranford beats 4 seed Raritan 6-1 at home.

June 3: Cranford beats 7 seed Bordentown 2-0 at home.

(first year sectional finals played at higher seed instead of neutral site)

GROUP 2 SEMIFINALS:

June 7: Seneca beats Cranford 12-2 at New Egypt.

Cranford finished 23-6, including 3-1 in states.

 

2006: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 1 seed.

May 26: Cranford beats 9 seed Millburn 8-4 at home.

May 30: Cranford beats 4 seed Nutley 3-2 at home.

June 4: 2 seed Morristown beats Cranford 4-3 (8 inn.) at Cranford.

Cranford finished 21-6, including 2-1 in states.

 

2007: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 1 seed.

May 25: Cranford beats 8 seed South Plainfield 14-3 at home.

May 29: Cranford beats 4 seed Scotch Plains 10-7 at home.

June 1: Cranford beats 7 seed West Morris 5-4 at home.

GROUP 3 SEMIFINALS:

June 5: Cranford beats Montville 12-10 at Elizabeth.

GROUP 3 FINAL:

June 9: Seneca beats Cranford 5-2 at Toms River South.

Cranford finished 26-5, including 4-1 in states.

 

2008: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 2 seed.

May 23: Cranford beats 7 seed Colonia 3-0 at home.

May 27: 3 seed Iselin Kennedy beats Cranford 2-0 at Cranford.

Cranford finished 19-6, including 1-1 in states.

 

2009: CENTRAL JERSEY, GROUP 2

Cranford is the 2 seed.

May 22: Cranford beats 7 seed Middlesex 6-1 at home.

May 26: 6 seed Shore Regional beats Cranford 7-4 (9 inn.) at Cranford.

Cranford finished 18-6, including 1-1 in states.

 

2010: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 3 seed.

May 17: Cranford beats 14 seed Voorhees 6-0 at home.

May 21: Cranford beats 6 seed Iselin Kennedy 12-6 at home.

May 25: Cranford beats 2 seed Scotch Plains 6-5 at Scotch Plains.

May 28: Cranford beats 5 seed Morristown 9-8 (8 inn.) at home.

GROUP 3 SEMIFINALS:

June 1: Cranford beats Lakeland 7-1 at Kean University

GROUP 3 FINAL:

June 5: Cranford beats Ocean City 15-3 (5 inn.) at Toms River North.

Cranford finished 26-5, including 6-0 in states.

 

2011: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 2 seed.

May 23: Cranford beats 15 seed Parsippany Hills 13-2 at home.

May 27: 10 seed Mendham beats Cranford 7-3 at Cranford.

Cranford finished 20-5, including 1-1 in states.

 

2012: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 1 seed.

May 23: Cranford beats 16 seed Ferris 5-0 at home.

May 25: Cranford beats 9 seed Scotch Plains 1-0 at home.

May 29: Cranford beats 12 seed Morristown 7-1 at home.

June 1: Cranford beats 2 seed West Morris 7-0 at home.

GROUP 3 SEMIFINALS:

June 5: Cranford beats West Milford 7-4 at Ramapo College

GROUP 3 FINAL:

June 9: Cranford beats Freehold Borough 4-1 at Toms River South.

Cranford finished 22-4, including 6-0 in states.

 

2013: NORTH 2, GROUP 3 

Cranford is the 1 seed.

May 20: Cranford beats 16 seed Rahway 7-0 at home.

May 26: Cranford beats 8 seed Summit 8-5 at home.

May 29: Cranford beats 4 seed Mendham 3-2 at home.

May 31: Cranford beats 2 seed South Plainfield 5-1 at home.

GROUP 3 SEMIFINALS:

June 4: Cranford beats Paramus 12-7 at Elizabeth.

GROUP 3 FINAL:

June 9: Cranford beats Burlington Township 4-2 at Toms River East.

Cranford finished 25-1, including 6-0 in states.

 

2014: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 1 seed.

May 19: Cranford beats 16 seed Parsippany Hills 3-2 at home.

May 22: Cranford beats 8 seed West Morris 3-0 at home.

May 27: Cranford beats 13 seed Summit 2-1 at home.

May 30: Cranford beats 3 seed West Essex 14-4 at home.

GROUP 3 SEMIFINALS:

June 3: Mount Olive beats Cranford 1-0 in 11 innings at Belleville.

Cranford finished 17-7, including 4-1 in states.

 

2015: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 1 seed.

May 18: Cranford beats 16 seed Newark East Side 9-1 at home.

May 21: Cranford beats 9 seed West Morris 4-3 at home.

May 26: Cranford beats 4 seed West Essex 5-1 at home.

May 29: 3 seed South Plainfield beats Cranford 4-2 in 8 innings at home.

Cranford finished 21-5, including 3-1 in states.

 

2016: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 4 seed.

May 23: Cranford beats 13 seed Orange 12-1 at home.

May 25: Cranford beats 12 seed South Plainfield 8-1 at home.

May 31: Cranford beats 8 seed Nutley 8-6 at home.

June 3: Cranford beats 2 seed Somerville 2-0 at Somerville.

GROUP 3 SEMIFINALS:

June 6: Northern Highlands beats Cranford 6-1 at Weehawken.

Cranford finished 18-11, including 4-1 in states.

 

2017: NORTH 2, GROUP 3

Cranford is the 3 seed.

May 23: Cranford hosts 14 seed Iselin Kennedy

 

 

CRANFORD IN SECTIONAL FINALS (10-3)

SINCE 1999:

1999: North 2, Group 3 – Cranford 6, Morristown 3 – at Ridge

2000: North 2, Group 3 – Cranford 8, Parsippany 6 – at Ridge

2001: North 2, Group 3 – Nutley 5, Cranford 3 – at Ridge

2003: North 2, Group 3 – Cranford 6, Millburn 5 – at Ridge

2005: CJ, Group 2 – Cranford 2, Bordentown 0 – at Cranford

2006: North 2, Group 3 – Morristown 4, Cranford 3 (8 inn.) – at Cranford

2007: North 2, Group 3 – Cranford 5, West Morris 4 – at Cranford

2010: North 2, Group 3 – Cranford 9, Morristown 8 (8 inn.) – at Cranford

2012: North 2, Group 3 – Cranford 7, West Morris 0 – at Cranford

2013: North 2, Group 3 – Cranford 5, South Plainfield 1 – at Cranford

2014: North 2, Group 3 – Cranford 14, West Essex 4 – at Cranford

2015: North 2, Group 3 – Somerville 4, Cranford 2 (8 inn.) – at Cranford

2016: North 2, Group 3 – Cranford 2, Somerville 0 – at Somerville

 

CRANFORD IN GROUP SEMIFINALS (6-4)

SINCE 1999:

1999: Demarest 6, Cranford 1 – at Watchung Hills

2000: Cranford 8, Sparta 4 – at Jaroschak Field, Jersey City

2003: Cranford 16, Paramus 1 (6 inn.) – at Union

2005: Seneca 12, Cranford 2 – at New Egypt

2007: Cranford 12, Montville 10 – at Elizabeth

2010: Cranford 7, Lakeland 1 – at Kean University

2012: Cranford 7, West Milford 4 – at Ramapo College

2013: Cranford 12, Paramus 7 – at Elizabeth

2014: Mount Olive 1, Cranford 0 (11 inn.) – at Belleville

2016: Northern Highlands 6, Cranford 1 – at Weehawken

 

CRANFORD IN GROUP FINALS (3-3, won 3 in a row)

SINCE 1999:

2000: Hamilton West 5, Cranford 0 – at East Brunswick Tech

2003: Toms River South 9, Cranford 4 – at Toms River North

2007: Seneca 5, Cranford 2 – at Toms River South

2010: Cranford 15, Ocean City 3 (5 inn.) – at Toms River North

2012: Cranford 4, Freehold Borough 1 – at Toms River South

2013: Cranford 4, Burlington Township 2 – at Toms River East

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