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Seton Hall Prep's Chris Maldonado (20) signals teammate is safe at the plate in what was big offensive day for the Pirates who scored early and often in 15-0 win over Bloomfield in 89th Greater Newark Tournament final Saturday (May 21) at Yogi Berra Stadium on Montclair State University campus. SHP received splendid performance on the mound as John Cerwinski, who delivered 2-hit shutout in 5-inning game, got to celebrate as he was able to embrace his catcher Aaron Bertone (25) while an ecstatic Ryan Sprock (15) looks to join in post game joy as Pirates captured record 18th GNT crown. SHP could also raise championship trophy and pile on before their team shot. (Photos by Richard Morris/SHP)

Seton Hall Prep Rolls To 18th GNT Crown
As Lineup Does Its Work To Back Pitching

By Steve Tober

LITTLE FALLS- Despite the fact that Seton Hall Prep has won a record 18 Greater Newark Tournament titles, none of the current Pirates have ever experienced the championship hardware of the classic diamond event.

SHP (19-6) hadn’t won the coveted trophy since 2017 and suffered a heartbreaking defeat in last year’s final when Millburn came out on top, 6-5, in 11 innings.

There was no doubt about the result in Saturday’s latest edition of the GNT as the Pirates lineup batted around in the first two innings, jumping off to a 10-0 lead and added five more runs in the third to defeat seventh-seeded Bloomfield, 15-0, in five innings, at Yogi Berra Stadium on the Montclair State University campus.

It was the largest margin of victory in a GNT final eclipsing the 1990 championship game when SHP defeated Columbia, 13-0.

SHP was making its 26th championship game apearance and third in a row. There was no tournament in 2020 due to Covid-19. The Pirates have appeared in five of the last six finals.

“As I was walking in here today I thought for a moment about the nightmare of losing here last year in extra innings, but that was just a  brief reflection and then it was all concentrating on the business at hand,” said SHP senior leftfielder Matt Monteleone who, who batted seventh in a deep and unrelenting lineup, went 2-for-2 with a walk and had 4 RBI to help propel the decisive win on a very hot 90-degree Saturday afternoon. “We take a lot of pride in playing for a Greater Newark Tournament title and winning one here as a senior is just great for our entire program.”

The potent lineup, which banged out 11 hits, backed starting pitcher John Cerwinski (5-0), the Penn-bound senior right-hander, who after walking two and loading the bases with one out in the second inning, proceeded to retire the final 11 batters he faced, striking out five of them to finish with seven K’s on the day while allowing just one hit, a second inning single by the Bengals Evan Fried.

“I felt good in the first inning, but had to sit for about 25 minutes when we batted around in the second (scoring six runs) and that was a little rough,” said Cerwinski. “I lost my grip and rhythm for a while in the second inning and ‘tough-pitched’ through it.

“Then, I went to the bullpen to work during the next time we were up and I felt better from the third inning on, just executing my pitches and getting outs.”

Alex Kim, the Brandeis-bound senior second baseman and leadoff hitter for the Pirates, helped set the tone from the start delivering a double into the right-centerfield gap. With one out Chris Maldonado delivered a solid RBI single up the middle to plate Kim with the game’s first run. Clean-up hitter Ryan Sprock then tripled to deep right field for run No. 2 before designated hitter Ryan Probst (2-for-3, 3 runs, 2 RBI) singled up the middle to drive in Sprock. Monteleone found the left center field gap for a double as Probst scored to make it 4-0

“My job is to get on base and fortunately I’ve been doing a pretty good job of that lately,” said Kim, who was 2-for-3 with a walk, 2 runs and 2 RBI. “We were determined to have great at bats 1 through 9 today and I think everyone stepped up, whether they got a hit, drew a walk or even got hit by a pitch to just keep moving runners along.

“This is a great lineup and team to be a part of and I’m proud of my guys in putting together a great all-around effort to bring home a GNT tropjy.”

SHP’s deep lineup is performing at its highest level at just the right time with the regular season winding down and the Non-Public A state tournament soon to begin where among the teams in the North bracket will be state powers such as Don Bosco Prep and Delbarton.  

“We’re not done yet,” said Cerwinski. “We still have a lot of hard work had of us and I know we’ll continue to put in the time and continue getting ready for the state tournament.

“This title today was for the boys, for the school and for this great program that coach (Mike) Sheppard (Jr.) has built and made such a success through the years!”

NOTES- Bloomfield used four different pitchers to try and quell the SHP offensive barrage. Bengals starter Tyler Bell, who has been pitching so well all season long, lasted just one inning allowing five hits and six runs…Bloomfield had a terrific tournament run including knocking off its local rival Nutley in the semis but it just wasn’t the day on Saturday for the Bengals who were making their first GNT finals appearance since 1997 when they also lost to SHP in the championship game….Yogi Berra Stadium was in excellent shape as the field was pristine and a perfect setting for the 89th final…GNT co-directors Dan Romano of Caldwell and Frank Bifulco of Millburn did a superb job running this year’s tournament with great communication to the schools and teams…There was an excellent umpiring crew working the GNT final with veteran Manny Fidalgo calling balls and strikes behind the plate and Andy Joyner and Steve Moskowitz manning the bases...SHP's record in the GNT from 1971-2022 is 132-32 (.806 %),while coach Mike Sheppard, Jr. is 102-19 (.843 %) from 1987-2022...SHP's win in the GNT final was its eighth straight victory...Saturday's result was the 19th shutout in GNT title game history...SHP's 15 runs vs. the Bengals is the largest margin of victory in a GNT final.  

(7) BLOOMFIELD (9-15)             000       00    - 0 R 1 H 0 E
(4) SETON HALL PREP (19-6)   465       0X  -15 R 11 H 0 E
2B- SHP- Alex Kim, Matt Monteleone, Aaron Bertone, Sam Nomura 3B- Ryan Sprock  
WP- John Cerwinski (5-0) LP- Tyler Bell (2-6)            

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister

Bloomfield vs. Seton Hall Prep in GNT since 1971: (Pirates lead series, 11-0)
2022: in final: SHP 15-0
2012: In quarterfinals: SHP 11-0
2006: in semifinals: SHP 4-0
2003: in quarterfinals: SHP 3-0
2002: in first round: SHP 6-5
2000: In quarterfinals: SHP 3-1
1999: In semifinals: SHP 4-1
1997: in final: SHP 5-2
1992: in first round: SHP 7-0
1990: in first round: SHP 8-4
1988: in first round SHP 5-4 (in 8 inn.)   

GNT Most Titles Won:
18 Seton Hall Prep
 7 Livingston
6 Montclair
5 Irvington
4 Bloomfield
4 Columbia
4 Nutley
4 Hillside
3 East Side
3 Morristown

Most Appearances In Title Game:
26 Seton Hall Prep
14 Nutley
11 Montclair
11 Livingston
11 Irvington
10 Bloomfield
 9 Columbia
 7 Glen Ridge
 6 Millburn
 6 Hillside
 6 East Side                  

2022: Seton Hall Prep 15 Bloomfield 0
2021: Millburn 6 Seton Hall Prep 5 (in 11 inn.)
2020: No tournament held due to covid-19
2019: Montclair 10 Seton Hall Prep 0
2018: Livingston 8 Nutley 3
2017: Seton Hall Prep 4 Millburn 2
2016: Seton Hall Prep 11, Nutley 1
2015: Seton Hall Prep 12, Millburn 6
2014: Seton Hall Prep 7, Cedar Grove 6
2013: Seton Hall Prep 4, Montclair 2
2012: Montclair 2, Nutley 1
2011: Seton Hall Prep 8, Millburn 2
2010: West Essex 5, Columbia 4
2009: Livingston 5, Nutley 4
2008: Seton Hall Prep 8, Millburn 7 (8 inn.)
2007: Seton Hall Prep 5, Newark East Side 1
2006: West Essex 5, Seton Hall Prep 2
2005: Seton Hall Prep 11, Nutley 0
2004: Nutley 3, Seton Hall Prep 2
2003: Seton Hall Prep 3, Nutley 0
2002: Nutley 6, Seton Hall Prep 2
2001: Nutley 5, Seton Hall Prep 3
2000: Seton Hall Prep 3, Livingston 1
1999: Seton Hall Prep 4, Columbia 3
1998: Seton Hall Prep 6, Essex Catholic 4
1997: Seton Hall Prep 5, Bloomfield 2
1996: Bloomfield 3, Livingston 0
1995: Columbia 1, Belleville 0
1994: East Side 4, Glen Ridge 3
1993: Nutley 10, West Essex 3
1992: East Side 5, Seton Hall Prep 2
1991: Livingston 7, Cedar Grove 6
1990: Seton Hall Prep 13, Columbia 0
1989: Glen Ridge 7, Livingston 0
1988: Cedar Grove 5, Livingston 3
1987: Glen Ridge 3, Irvington 0
1986: Columbia 9, Belleville 8 (8 inn.)
1985: Cedar Grove 2, Caldwell 1 (8 inn.)
1984: Millburn 4, Nutley 3
1983: Seton Hall Prep 3, Glen Ridge 1
1982: Caldwell 4, Glen Ridge 1
1981: Belleville 10, Glen Ridge 4
1980: Livingston 8, Belleville 6
1979: Columbia 5, Livingston 4
1978: Columbia 3, Our Lady of the Valley 2
1977: Livingston 9, Seton Hall Prep 1
1976: Livingston 6, Essex Catholic 4
1975: Essex Catholic 5, Irvington 1
1974: Livingston 5, Verona 1
1973: Our Lady of the Valley 3, Bloomfield 1
GNT has been Essex County teams only since 1973.
GNT also included teams from outside Essex County from 1933-1972.
1972: Ewing 7, Bloomfield 3
1971: Seton Hall Prep 7, Haddonfield 2
1970: Union 5, Ewing 1
1969: Morristown 12, Montclair 3
1968: Morristown 2, Piscataway 1
1967: Morristown 5, Roselle Catholic 4
1966: Union 2, Parsippany 1
1965: Parsippany 5, Westfield 3
1964: St. Benedict’s Prep 6, Montclair 5
1963: Montclair 6, St. Benedict’s 3
1962: Garfield 6, Nutley 0
1961: South River 5, Linden 3
1960: New Brinswick 3, East Side 0
1959: Bayonne 14, Verona 8
1958: St. Peter’s Prep 3, Hanover Park 1
1957: Rahway 3, Irvington 2
1956: New Brunswick 11, Barringer 0
1955: Jefferson 7, Montclair 6
1954: Montclair 8, Englewood 0
1953: Englewood 9, Irvington 4
1952: Bloomfield 3, Nutley 0
1951: Linden 8, Jefferson 3
1950: Rahway 9, East Side 7
1949: Bayonne 3, Montclair 2
1948: Montclair 1, Irvington 0
1947: Irvington 6, Columbia 0
1946: East Side 4, Roselle Park 2
1945: Bloomfield 5, Columbia 0
1944: Caldwell 9, Bloomfield 0
1943: Kearny 6, Hillside 3
1942: Montclair 3, Irvington 2
1941: Hillside 9, Kearny 5
1940: Irvington 2, Trenton 0
1939: Irvington 4, Woodbridge 3
1938: Irvington 6, South River 1
1937: Hillside 8, Bloomfield 4
1936: Hillside 11, Nutley 2
1935: Bloomfield 4, Hillside 3
1934: Hillside 5, Barringer 1
1933: Irvington 1, Kearny 0

Bloomfield coach Mike Policastro consoles his ace pitcher Tyler Bell (14) after the junior had rough start vs. Seton Hall Prep during Saturday's GNT final. The 2022 tournament was expertly run by its co-directors Dan Romano of Caldwell (left) and Frank Bifulco of Millburn, who both did fine job keeping everything running smoothly for the 2022 event. In bottom photo, SHP's Alex Kim dives into second base as Bloomfield shortstop Brandon Piacenza takes throw. (Photos by Richard Morris/SHP and also a Sideline Chatter photo)

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