Union County baseball teams gear up for sectional championships on June 10

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UNION COUNTY, NJ — The quest to play for a sectional state championship on Friday, June 10, continued for five Union County baseball teams.

Since two of them were playing each other, it was guaranteed that one would have a spot in a sectional final.

The sectional semifinals were scheduled throughout New Jersey this past Tuesday, June 7, after press time, with Union County schools Jonathan Dayton, David Brearley, New Providence, Cranford and Governor Livingston still alive at that time.

The sectional finals on Friday, June 10, are to be played at the home fields of the higher seeds.

Here was the sectional semifinal schedule for Tuesday, June 7, including all five Union County teams:

North 2, Group 1:
• No. 4 David Brearley (13-11) at No. 1 Jonathan Dayton (16-8-1).
• No. 6 Glen Ridge (13-12) at No. 2 New Providence (17-8).
North 2, Group 3:
• No. 3 Cranford (22-4) at No. 2 James J. Ferris, Jersey City (21-6).

Central Jersey, Group 2
No. 3 Governor Livingston (23-6) at No. 2 Wall (22-6).

Jonathan Dayton High School, the Union County Conference’s outright Mountain Division champion with a final 7-3-1 league mark, swept David Brearley High School in Mountain Division play, winning two one-run games. Jonathan Dayton defeated David Brearley 2-1 at home on Tuesday, April 26, and then the Bulldogs bested the Bears 7-6 in Kenilworth on Tuesday, May 31.

Jonathan Dayton last won this section in 2014, and David Brearley last won in 2009.

The Bulldogs are sparked offensively by Brady Rosenstock, Frank Dasti and Tommy DeSarno, and on the mound by DeSarno, Dasti and senior Logan Solomine. The Bears are lifted by the play of Matt Sims, Tom Scanio and Robbie Zack.

New Providence High School has won this sectional the last three times it was contested: 2018, 2019 and 2021, and, in the 2019 final at home, defeated David Brearley.

Head coach Chris Brodeur’s New Providence Pioneers have been led all season long by the impressive efforts of senior pitcher James Pazdera, Dean Licari, Luca Vitale and Nick Bisaccia.

Cranford High School last won North 2, Group 3, in 2017, when the Cougars repeated as champions, winning their second sectional state championship in a row. Cranford lost in the final last year at top-seeded Millburn High School, 1-0. The Millers defeated James J. Ferris High School, 3-2, in last year’s semifinals.

Cranford played James J. Ferris, which reached the Hudson County Tournament championship game this year on Sunday, April 24, at Weehawken High School’s field. James J. Ferris prevailed, 4-2.
Since then, as of Tuesday, June 7, Cranford won 14 of its last 15 games and was on a six-game winning streak. Cranford’s only loss in that span was a Watchung Division game at home to Governor Livingston High School, 10-7, on Tuesday, May 17. Cranford won at Governor Livingston, 9-3, on Tuesday, April 26.

The pitching of senior right-hander Will Gallagher and the offensive slugging of junior third baseman Ryan Jaros sparked Cranford to a second-straight UCC–Watchung Division title and the program’s first Union County Tournament championship since 2015.
Governor Livingston last won Central Jersey, Group 2, in 2017 and did so in dramatic fashion, coming from behind with two outs in the bottom of the seventh on a Dan Baroff two-run hit to shock South Plainfield High School, 6-5. A 25-win Governor Livingston team trailed South Plainfield 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh. It was one of the Highlanders’ most stunning comeback triumphs of all time. Baroff, a senior, went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. He produced a single and a double.

This year’s squad has been led offensively by seniors Robert Murphy and Michael Labisi and by junior George Provel, and on the mound by senior Dan Bass.

The group semifinals are scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, at neutral sites to be determined by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The group finals are scheduled for Saturday, June 18, at Veterans Park in Hamilton. The first year the state finals were held there was 2018. A Union County school has yet to win a state championship there.

Photos by JR Parachini

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