Union County baseball will be well represented in sectional championship games Friday, June 2, with three top-notch programs trying to win in the same season for the first time.
We have Cranford as a defending champion in a Group 3 section, Governor Livingston trying to win the same Group 2 section for the second time in three years and Dayton out to claim the same Group 1 crown for the third time in five seasons.
FRIDAY’S SECTIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP BASEBALL GAMES
INVOLVING UNION COUNTY SCHOOLS:
North 2, Group 3 final in Chatham: 3-Cranford at 1-Chatham, 4 p.m.
Central Jersey, Group 2 final in Berkeley Heights: 2-South Plainfield at 1-GL, 4 p.m.
North 2, Group 1 final in Springfield: 7-Glen Ridge at 1-Dayton, 4 p.m.
Cranford is in the North 2, Group 3 final for the sixth straight season and for the seventh time this decade. The only year Cranford did not reach the final since 2010 was 2011.
Cranford is 9-3 in the N2, G3 final under 19th-year head coach Dennis McCaffery and last year won the section on the road for the first time under his guidance by blanking Somerville 2-0.
Cranford, the third seed, will play at top-seeded Chatham in Friday’s N2, G3 championship game. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
The Cranford Cougars are 19-7 and on a season-high seven-game winning streak. Cranford is a win away from producing its 12th 20-win season under McCaffery.
The Chatham Cougars are 18-6 and have given up only three runs in their three state tournament victories. Chatham began the season 4-0, with four straight shutout victories before being scored upon.
GL is 25-3, has won four in a row and 10 of 11 since unexpected consecutive losses followed a program-first 15-0 start.
Going into their second Union County Tournament contest as defending champions for the first time the Highlanders were also ranked No. 1 in the state for the first time by nj.com and also by maxpreps.com and prepbaseballreport.com.
While GL did not win the UCT again, the Highlanders did bounce back to reach a sixth Central Jersey, Group 2 championship game under 14th-year head coach Chris Roof.
GL also captured the Union County Conference’s Watchung Division championship outright with an 8-2 mark. The division includes Group 4s Elizabeth, Union and Westfield and Group 3s Cranford and Scotch Plains.
This is also Roof’s third GL team that won at least 25 games. His 2015 Group 2 state championship squad set the program record for wins in a 28-6 campaign. His 2011 Group 2 state championship team finished 26-6.
This is also the 10th time that Roof has led GL to at least 20 wins.
South Plainfield is 19-10 overall and finished 8-4 in its Greater Middlesex Conference division.
Dayton is 18-5, has won three straight and six of seven. The Bulldogs are 10-2 since falling at Westfield 11-2 May 1 in a first round UCT contest.
Dayton has reached the N2, G1 semifinals seven of the past eight seasons and are in the final for the third time in the past five years.
Following a 3-1 start, Glen Ridge lost seven straight. The Ridgers lost three more in a row before state tournament play commenced.
Glen Ridge then outscored its three state tournament foes by a dominant 27-3 margin, including two shutouts. The biggest surprise was the team’s 11-0 quarterfinal round win at Roselle Park, which was the UCC’s Valley Division champion and the owners of an 18-5-1 record that included a four-game winning streak going in.
2017 CENTRAL JERSEY, GROUP 2 BASEBALL
SEEDS: 1-Gov. Livingston. 2-South Plainfield. 3-Spotswood. 4-Monmouth.
5-Bernards. 6-Voorhees. 7-East Brunswick Tech. 8-Johnson.
9-Raritan. 10-Matawan. 11-Delaware Valley. 12-North Plainfield.
13-Robbinsville. 14-Newark Tech. 15-New Providence. 16-Holmdel.
Gov. Livingston 12, Holmdel 2 – at GL
Raritan 6, Johnson 0 – at Johnson
Bernards 3, North Plainfield 0 – at Bernards
Monmouth 2, Robbinsville 1 – at Monmouth
Spotswood 6, Newark Tech 0 – at Spotswood
Voorhees 1, Delaware Valley – at Voorhees
Matawan 8, East Brunswick Tech 0 – at EBT
South Plainfield 8, New Providence 1 – at South Plainfield
Gov. Livingston 5, Raritan 4 – at GL
Bernards 6, Monmouth 4 – at Monmouth
Voorhees 6, Spotswood 2 – at Spotswood
South Plainfield 2, Matawan 1 – at South Plainfield
Tuesday, May 30
South Plainfield 2, Voorhees 1 – at South Plainfield
Wednesday, May 31
Gov. Livingston 8, Bernards 5 – at GL
Friday, June 2
2-South Plainfield at 1-Gov. Livingston, 4 p.m.
HEAD COACHING RECORD:
AT MILLBURN (3 seasons)
2002: (21-11) – N2, G3 champs; G3 semifinalists
2003: (18-12) – N2, G3 finalists
TOTAL: 54-34 (.614)
AT GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON (14 seasons)
2006: (24-8) – CJ, G2 champs; G2 finalists
2009: (20-7) – CJ, G2 finalists
2010: (23-8) – CJ, G2 finalists
2011: (26-6) – CJ, G2 champs; G2 state champs
2015: (28-6) – CJ, G2 champs; G2 state champs
2017: (25-3, so far) – CJ, G2 finalists so far
TOTAL: 292-114 (.719)
TOTAL AT BOTH SCHOOLS: 346-148 (.700)
BASEBALL COACH RECORDS
GOING INTO JUNE 2 SECTIONAL FINALS:
Dennis McCaffery at Cranford
– 19 seasons (1999-2017) –
395-120 (.767) – includes 57-15 in states
McCaffery is 10-3 in sectional finals:
9-3 in N2, G3 and 1-0 in CJ, G2.
Chris Roof at Governor Livingston
– 14 seasons (2004-2017) –
Chris Roof at Millburn
– 3 seasons (2001-2003) –
Total: 346-148 (.700)
Roof is 4-3 in sectional finals:
N2, G3 at Millburn 1-1.
CJ, G2 at GL 3-2.
Mike Abbate at Dayton
– 8 seasons (2010-2017) –
135-66 (.672) – includes 19-7 in states
Abbate is 2-0 in sectional finals, both in N2, G1.
(the only ones the program has won)