Bridgewater, Marauders, States Tournament

2024 GNT County Semifinals Roundup: Top Seed Livingston Advances in Nail-Biter

Saturday, the day before Mother's Day, was the semifinals of the Greater Newark County High School baseball tournament. Top-seed Livingston took on fourth-seed Montclair and that was a close one, while second-seed Seton Hall Prep took on sixth-seed Caldwell. Could Caldwell pull off the upset, and would we see a slugfest between Livingston and Montclair? Let's find out what happened.

4 Montclair at 1 Livingston

Despite having a loaded lineup this season, the Montclair Mounties baseball team fell against Livingston in the semifinals of the GNT 3-2 in extra innings. The Livingston Lancers got off to a better start, plating two runs in the second inning, and Montclair answered back with one in the fourth. The Lancers held a 2-1 advantage going into the final frame, the seventh, but Montclair was able to tie it.

Livingston was able to shut down Montclair’s high-powered offense in the top of the eighth. Livingston junior EJ Frayne led off the bottom of the eighth with a double. Montclair’s starter Shea Goel was taken out of the game with no outs in the eighth. David Aishton came on in relief and proceeded to walk two batters, including junior Tyler Chen, whose walk led to the winning run coming across the plate.

Bright spots for the Mounties include Jesse Blau, who led all hitters with three hits. Senior Mack Mathisen contributed two hits and an RBI, and junior Benjamin St. Pierre contributed the other RBI for the Mounties. Goel threw for seven innings, allowing three runs on two hits and striking out four.

Final Thoughts

The Lancers squeezed through and will face Seton Hall Prep in the GNT Final. Montclair certainly had their opportunities to pull off the upset but were undone by their inability to score more runs than they did. The reason Montclair should've done better is they outhit Livingston 9 to 6. Livingston also committed two errors, which means extra base runners for Montclair. We could've had a different result if Aishton hadn't walked two of the three batters he faced and got through the eighth.

6 Caldwell at 2 Seton Hall Prep

The Pirates outscored Caldwell 20-2 during the regular season, but the Chiefs played the prep a lot closer than that in this GNT semifinal. In this game, Seton Hall scored a run in each of the first three innings off of Caldwell’s ace Marco Sozio. Caldwell scored a run in the second inning. Seton Hall junior William Mahala smacked a home run off of Sozio in the bottom of the third inning. Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Seton Hall scored two, which made it too tough for Caldwell to climb back in the game with Seton Hall's junior ace Marcelo Harsch still on the mound for Seton Hall.

Sozio finished the fourth inning but was taken out after that, having given up five runs on nine hits while striking out just two Seton Hall batters. On the mound for Seton Hall Prep was Marcelo Harsch and he turned in another gem. The junior pitched 6 1/3 innings and surrendered just two hits and two runs while striking out seven. At the plate for Seton Hall, William Mahala led the way with three hits, a home run, and two RBI. Sozio and Tyler Patrisso got the only hits for Caldwell.

Final Thoughts

Caldwell was able to keep it from being a blowout, but two hits against a team like Seton Hall Prep weren't going to cut it. If Caldwell had been able to scratch and claw until they got Harsch out of the game, then they might have had a shot at closing a three-run gap, but it was not to be. Seton Hall Prep advances to the GNT Final, which will take place on May 18 in Verona.

Keep it with JSN for coverage of the GNT County Final.

Anthony Paradiso
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