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Senior rigth-hander Jake Van Dam (10) is one of the pitchers top-seeded Cranford will count on as it eyes a strong run to the finals of the 66th Union County Tournament which has seeded its field with action to get going full tilt this weekend. (Photos by Gene Nann-visit

Cranford And GL 1-2 As The Top Seeds
In 66th Annual Union County Tournament

By JR Parachini

Cranford, by virtue of last week’s 7-4 home win over 7-0 Governor Livingston, was selected the top seed – owners of 7-2 record – for the 66th annual baseball Union County Tournament.

The Cougars last won the UCT in 2015 and last reached the final in 2017.

GL, the second seed, is the defending champion for the second time in three years. The Highlanders won the UCT for the first time in 2016.

Cranford and GL began the week tied for first place in the Union County Conference’s Watchung Division at 5-1.

Union earned the third seed with just a 3-4 record. However, the Farmers - who last won the tournament in 1993 - have one of the best pitchers in senior right hander Zach Fernandez.

After going the distance – seven complete – in beating Westfield 5-1 at home on Opening Day and then Elizabeth 8-0 and Scotch Plains 2-0 on the road, Fernandez is 3-0 with two shutouts, just one earned run against (on a sacrifice fly), 29 strikeouts, only one walk and one hit batter. His ERA is 0.33. He has given up just nine hits in 21 innings pitched so far.

Fernandez will pitch in college at the University of Rhode Island.

The fourth and fifth seeds went to Mountain Division teams Johnson (6-3) and Union Catholic, which improved to 7-2 Monday. Johnson won at Westfield 8-7 on April 12 and on April 15 Union Catholic defeated Scotch Plains 5-4 at home in eight innings.

Union Catholic opened with a 3-2 home win over Johnson.

The following teams comprise the first 10 seeds: Scotch Plains (4-6) is sixth, New Providence (5-5) – with a 4-2 win at Cranford on April 12 – is seventh, Summit (7-2) is eighth, Westfield (2-5) is ninth and Elizabeth (4-7) – without a win against a Union County team – is 10th.

The only preliminary round game that has to be played before Saturday is 17-Rahway at 16-Linden.

Eight first round games at the higher seeds are scheduled for this Saturday, April 27.

Four quarterfinal round games at the higher seeds are scheduled for Saturday, May 4 at 2 p.m. – an SAT day.

The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, May 11 at Kean University and the final for Monday, May 13 at Kean.


SEEDS: 1-Cranford. 2-Gov. Livingston. 3-Union. 4-Johnson.
5-Union Catholic. 6-Scotch Plains. 7-New Providence. 8-Summit.
9-Westfield. 10-Elizabeth. 11-Oratory Prep. 12-Dayton.
13-Brearley. 14-Plainfield. 15-Roselle Catholic. 16-Linden.

Before April 27
17-Rahway at 16-Linden

Saturday, April 27


9-Westfield at 8-Summit, 10 a.m.

Rahway/Linden at 1-Cranford, TBD

12-Dayton 5-Union Catholic, 11 a.m.

13-Brearley at 4-Johnson, 1 p.m.


10-Elizabeth at 7-New Providence, 10 a.m.

15-Roselle Catholic at 2-Gov. Livingston, 11 a.m.

11-Oratory Prep at 6-Scotch Plains, 11 a.m.

14-Plainfield at 3-Union, 11 a.m.

Saturday, May 4
At the higher seeds, 2 p.m.

Saturday, May 11
At Kean University

Monday, May 13
At Kean University

2018: Governor Livingston 6, Westfield 2
WP: DJ Gonnelli. LP: Michael Carlone.
2017: Westfield 6, Cranford 3
WP: Connor Scanlon. LP: Gordon Graceffo.
2016: Governor Livingston 3, Scotch Pains 2
WP: Vin Doren. LP: Marc Occhipinti.
2015: Cranford 3, Gov. Livingston 1
WP: Pat Knight. LP: Ethan Frohman.
2014: Westfield 5, Gov. Livingston 3
WP: Brad DeMartino. LP: Ethan Frohman.
2013: Cranford 8, Westfield 0
WP: Ryan Williamson. LP: Kevin Galasso.
2012: Westfield 13, Union 3
WP: Mike Mondon. LP: Devin Zimmerman.
2011: Cranford 14, Gov. Livingston 1
WP: Kurt Rutmayer. LP: Joey Graziano.
2010: Cranford 6, Westfield 5
WP: Ryan Williamson. LP: Aiden Scanlon.
2009: Scotch Plains 2, Westfield 1 (10 inn.)
WP: Gary Binkiewicz. LP: Aiden Scanlon.
2008: Elizabeth 4, Westfield 2
WP: Gio Caraballo. LP: Chris Jenkins.
2007: Cranford 7, Gov. Livingston 1
WP: Dan Moreno. LP: Anthony Corsi.
2006: Westfield 9, Roselle Catholic 0
WP: Craig Ellis. LP: Nick Nolan.
2005: Roselle Catholic 6, Dayton 2
WP: Nick Nolan. LP: York Cook.
2004: Scotch Plains 3, Roselle Catholic 1
WP: James Scalfaro. LP: Nick Nolan.
2003: Cranford 7, Linden 4
WP: Brian Ciencin. LP: Mike Loureiro
2002: Westfield 7, Johnson 4
WP: Jay Cook. LP: Drew Thomas.
2001: Cranford 11, Plainfield 1
WP: Tom Polito. LP: Eladio Ortiz.
2000: Cranford 10, Rahway 0
WP: Tom Polito. LP: Steve Brown.
1999: Cranford 6, New Providence 5
WP: Tom Polito. LP: Todd Simo.
1998: Summit 5, Cranford 4
WP: Jared Chellevold. LP: Steve Brown.
1997: Westfield 7, Summit 1
WP: Matt Williams. LP: Jared Chellevold
1996: Westfield 7, Gov. Livingston 0
WP: Brian Ciemniecki. LP: Eric Brown.
1995: Westfield 3, Elizabeth 0
WP: Kris Williams. LP: Al Hawkins
1994: Westfield 7, Elizabeth 5
WP: Chris Vogel. LP: Al Hawkins
1993: Union 5, Westfield 3
WP: Eric Shaw. LP: Chris Vogel.
1992: Summit 10, Linden 4
WP: Garth Ballantyne. LP: Bryan Kosiba.
1991: Elizabeth 10, Westfield 1
WP: Pat Migliore. LP: John Fox.
1990: Rahway 2, Elizabeth 0
WP: Pat Jackson. LP: Pat Migliore.
1989: Elizabeth 7, Linden 2
WP: Charlie Garcia. LP: Ariel Lopez.
1988: Brearley 8, Rahway 1
WP: Mike Chalenski. LP: Frank Jones.
1987: Westfield 13, Elizabeth 12
WP: Clint Factor. LP: Greg Randazza.
1986: Westfield 9, Linden 6
WP: Clint Factor. LP: Rob Shaloub.
1985: Elizabeth 7, Union 5
WP: Fred Gamboa. LP: Mike Lawlor.
1984: Union Catholic 6, Elizabeth 5
WP: Greg Lepore. LP: Chris Wnek.
1983: Elizabeth 9, Westfield 8
WP: Angel Hajie. LP: Rob Rotunda.
1982: Linden 3, Elizabeth 2
WP: Tony Melise. LP: Laz Alfonso.
1981: New Providence 2, Union 1
WP: Steve Gelmine. LP: John Rubinetti.
1980: Johnson 5, New Providence 2
WP: Ken Petren. LP: Steve Gelmine.
1979: Summit 2, St. Mary’s 0
WP: John Murray. LP: Belamino Suarez.
1978: Westfield 3, Cranford 2
WP: K.C. Knobloch. LP: Scott Kley.
1977: New Providence 6, Westfield 1
WP: Doug Rillo. LP: K.C. Knobloch.
1976: Scotch Plains 1, Cranford 0
WP: Eddie Reilly. LP: Jim Carsey.
1975: Union 15, Cranford 0
WP: Frank Araneo. LP: Joe Gachko.
1974: St. Patrick’s 5, Union 3
WP: Bob Hynes. LP: Frank Araneo.
1973: Union 1, Johnson 0
WP: Bob Hughes. LP: Bob Schwankert.
1972: Summit 1, Union 0
WP: Mike Reid. LP: Stan Jakubowski.
1971: Roselle Catholic 3, Cranford 0
WP: Tom Byrnes. LP: Steve Gachko.
1970: Union 4, Jefferson 0
WP: Neil Gold. LP: Bob Brescher.
1969: Scotch Plains 5, Cranford 2
WP: Dave Klaatava. LP: Dan Costanzo.
1968: Westfield 2, Union 1
WP: Frank Tokash. LP: Sandy Weber.
1967: Union 17, Jefferson 2
WP: Jim Clee. LP: Jim Cowen.
1966: Westfield 13, Roselle 1
WP: Don Anderson. LP: Terry Arendt.
1965: Union 10, Westfield 2
WP: Al Santorini. LP: Greg Chlan.
1964: Union 3, Roselle 0
WP: Al Santorini. LP: Sal Riggi.
1963: Westfield 5, Springfield 4
WP: Jim Smith. LP: Bill Kretzger.
1962: Union 3, Jefferson 1
WP: Bob Castiglione. LP: Bob Krok.
1961: Rahway 6, Linden 5
WP: Tom Hoagland. LP: Ray Crepeau.
1960: Linden 4, St. Mary’s 2
WP: Ed Apalanski. LP: Rich Burke.
1959: St. Mary’s 7, Rahway 2
WP: Bill Henry. LP: Rich Kiehn.
1958: Rahway 3, Roselle 1
WP: Thelmore James. LP: Ed Jones.
1957: Linden 7, Rahway 5
WP: Frank Russo. LPK Fred Kast.
1956: Rahway 4, Scotch Plains 0
WP: Fred Henderson. LP: Bill Booth.
1955: Jefferson 4, Linden 0
WP: Richie Jones. LP: Ron Perry
1954: Springfield 4, Jefferson 2
WP: Joe Schaffernoth. LP: Richie Jones.

Westfield (15)
Cranford (9)
Union (8)
Elizabeth-Jefferson (6)
Rahway (4)
Scotch Plains (4)
Summit (4)
Linden (3)
New Providence (2)
Roselle Catholic (2)
Governor Livingston (2)
Brearley (1)
Dayton (Springfield) (1)
Johnson Regional (1)
St. Mary’s, Elizabeth (1)
St. Patrick (1)
Union Catholic (1)

 Follow JR Parachini on Twitter @parachini_jr


Second-seeded Governor Livingston has a veteran lefthander it can turn to in senior John Grill as the Highlanders hope to repeat as UCT champions as they prepare for the 2019 diamond event.

Third-seeded Union's University of Rhode Island-bound senior right-hander Zach Fernandez has been one of the best pitchers in Union County during the first month of the current 2019 season.

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