West Essex Tournament innings

Headlines for the North Jersey Section 1 Group 3 Quarterfinal

With Memorial Day behind us, we are now in the heart of the season, marked by the intensifying state tournaments. This week begins the North Jersey Section 1 Group 3 Tournament Quarterfinals, followed by the semifinals on Friday, which will test teams' pitching strategies. The matchups are promising, so let's dive right in.

9 Old Tappan at 1 Morris Knolls

Both teams cruised to victories in the opening round of the tournament, with Knolls topping Tenafly 8-0 and Old Tappan using their late-game offense to power past Bergenfield in a 10-3 win. 

Morris Knolls

James Kahn was nearly untouchable for Knolls, allowing only one hit and punching out 13 in his complete game shutout last week. The Golden Eagles offense was led by Joe O'Toole, Michael Simone, and Brodie Frecker. The three combined to go 7-for-10 while driving in five of the team's eight runs.

Old Tappan

Kai Ross trotted in with his team trailing 3-2 and gave the Knights everything he had going three innings without allowing a run to earn the win. Anthony Onnembo and Rocco Pierorazio each drove in three runs to lead Old Tappan to a dominating comeback win on the road in Bergenfield for the upset.

Unfamiliar Matchup

One intriguing aspect is the teams' performance in their last five games. The Golden Eagles have emerged victorious in four of their last five, while the Knights have struggled, losing four of five. The fact that these teams haven't faced each other before adds an element of unpredictability, making it clear that all previous stats are irrelevant in the playoffs.

7 Mount Olive at 2 Ramapo

Here we go again: the Marauders and Raiders meet in the State Tournament Playoffs just like they did earlier this year in Football. Unlike the Knolls and Old Tappan matchup, these two teams had opposite paths in last week's opening round. Ramapo cruised to a 10-0 victory over Fort Lee, and the game ended after five innings due to the mercy rule. On the other hand, the Marauders have been the talk of the New Jersey baseball world after their controversial win last week against Northern Highlands.

Mount Olive

Southpaw Robert Hubbard looked like Andy Pettitte last week as he looked calm and collected throughout the game. Hubbard went 6 1/3 innings, allowing only three hits and two walks, earning the win. Peter Zoccolillo drove in a pair of runs for the Marauders after starting the at-bat in the righthanded batter's box to block the catcher on a double steal. Zocolillo then turned around and laced a two-run double to give his team the lead.


Charlie Wingfield dominated Fort Lee, going five innings while allowing only one hit. The three-sport junior also fanned 11 and allowed no walks in the Raiders blowout win. Aidan Hayward drove in five of Ramapo's ten runs, going deep for his fifth long ball of the year.

Rivalry Started?

The state football tournament game between these two was one to remember, and a few players from both teams played in that very game. The Marauders will undoubtedly be looking for revenge in this out.

Mount Olive comes into the game 4-1 in their last five games, while the Raiders are 2-3 in that timeframe. This has all the makings of a solid pitching matchup with Wingfield and Hubbard, who are both projected to start. Can the Mount Olive offense keep up with Ramapo's? 

11 Montville at 3 West Essex

While the Mustangs are the lower seed, they have proven they aren't a team to take lightly in the tournament. After traveling to Sparta last week, they will look to pull off another upset on the road. The Knights survived a scare in the opening round and will be ready to go come first pitch.


Hersh Parikh went the distance, allowing just three earned runs and earning the road win. Hunter Force drove in three and notched his 100th career hit, leaving the Mustang offense in their 13-4 rout.

West Essex

Chris Murano also threw a complete game to shut out Garfield after allowing just four hits. A pair of RBI doubles by Max Garcia and Danny Giannetti gave the Knights all the runs they needed to advance to the next round. 

Different Than Last Time

A little over two years ago was the last time these teams squared off against each other. While some of the players on the current rosters played in that game, we can expect a closer score this time. The Mustangs routed West Essex 10-0 in a five-inning mercy rule in 2022. This matchup features a Panthers team that has only lost four games in the year, placing Montville as the underdog. However, that does not mean anything, as we have already seen the Mustangs come up big on the road this year.

5 Roxbury at 4 Wayne Hills

The Gaels will enter Wednesday's tournament matchup after a 2-1 victory against Wayne Valley in round one. A big fifth inning propelled the Patriots to a 5-1 win in their opening round against Paramus. Roxbury has had a hot and cold year, having some huge victories against top teams but falling short a few times.


Kyle Phillips allowed just one run, tossing a complete game in the first round against Wayne Valley. The Gaels needed every bit of their ace's gem, putting up just two runs on only one hit the entire game. Matt Capko and Anthony Palonbit drove in both of Roxbury's runs.

Wayne Hills

Patriots' starter Dean Qira went six strong innings against Paramus last week. The senior bounced back from his previous start against Ramapo and put up a season-high of twelve strikeouts. He allowed two walks and no earned runs in the winning effort. Qira also drove in one of the five runs for Wayne Hills, and Casey Baratta had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-4, driving in a run on two singles and a double.

Pitching Takes Centerstage

With Phillips and Qira coming off stellar starts, they need to bring it again this week if they want their teams to move on. The Roxbury offense needs to come alive and get the Qira to grab the road win. The Patriots will need to work the count against Phillips to get his pitch count up.

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Be sure to check out JerseySportingNews.com for updates all tournament long!

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