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Governor Livingston's Danny Serretti (13) is University of North Carolina bound after recently signing with the Tar Heels during the NCAA's fall National Signing Period. Two other Highlanders, Tyler McCulloch and Will Jennings, also applied their signatures with Iona. (Photo by John Haddad)

GL baseball has been one of New Jersey's top diamond programs the past several years including Group 2 state title in 2015. (Photos by JR Parachini)

Governor Livingston baseball standouts, from left, Tyler McCulloch (Iona), Danny Serretti (North Carolina) and Will Jennings (Iona) all recently got together at school to make their Division I baseball commitments official.

Will Jennings squares to bunt in 2017 game. The GL standout outfielder will be headed to Iona College in the fall of 2018. (Photo by John Haddad)

GL Seniors Finalize Their Plans
During National Signing Period
By JR Parachini
For sidelinechatter.com

BERKELEY HEIGHTS – Three pieces of the puzzle that helped lead the Governor Livingston baseball team to its first-ever No. 1 state ranking and then the program’s fourth Central Jersey, Group 2 state championship this past spring season made their college choices official.

On the first day of the national signing period Wednesday at GL, seniors Danny Serretti, Will Jennings and Tyler McCulloch signed their Division 1 letters-of-intent in front of family members, head coach Chris Roof and fellow teammates.

Serretti, one of the top shortstops in the state, will continue at North Carolina, while standout outfielders Jennings, right field, and McCulloch, left, will next play at Iona.

In this year’s highly-dramatic, come-from-behind CJ, G2 final victory at GL, Jennings, Jack Pedini and then Serretti scored on Dan Baroff’s shot to the left-center gap with two outs in the bottom of the seventh that give the Highlanders a 6-5 state championship victory.

The lefty-swinging Jennings led off the inning with single to center. Pedini entered as a pinch hitter and singled to left. McCulloch, batting leadoff that day, then bunted the runners over.

In the first inning, Serretti connected on a triple that brought home McCulloch with GL’s first run.

Serretti, Jennings and McCulloch have been on the varsity at GL for the program’s sectional, state and division (shared) titles in 2015, the first Union County Tournament crown in 2016 and this past season’s first 15-0 start, an outright division title and another state sectional championship.

Another GL standout that will play at the next level is first baseman DJ Gonnelli, who will continue at one of the finest Division 3 programs in the country – Montclair State University.

Serretti, who gave St. John’s a verbal commitment after his freshman season before he missed his entire sophomore campaign with an elbow injury that required surgery, decided to go a different direction this past summer.

“This summer there were some developments,” Serretti said of St. John’s coaching staff.

Assistant coach Corey Muscara left St. John’s after being an assistant on head coach Ed Blankmeyer’s staff for five seasons. In July Muscara accepted the same position at the University of Maryland and will handle the pitching staff there.

“Muscara was the guy Danny talked to the most,” Roof said.

Serretti continued: “I went down to Georgia (this summer) and had a good tournament there.

“Obviously, North Carolina has an unbelievable tradition. When I was younger I always wanted to go there.”

After breaking away from St. John’s, Serretti said that he narrowed his choices to North Carolina and Georgia Tech, schools that he both visited, among others.

“When I visited North Carolina (this past July) and met (head) coach (Mike) Fox and coach (Scott) Forbes that solidified that was where I wanted to go,” Serretti said.

After Serretti helped lead GL to the 2015 Group 2 state championship his freshman season he had to watch his teammates produce the program’s first county title his sophomore campaign.

“It was excruciating, it hurt,” Serretti said of not being able to play in 2016. “I took not playing as a new perspective on the game.

“It was more like a coaching perspective, seeing where players should be at certain times in the game and really looking at the pitcher and how to attack each count. It really gave me a different look at the game.”

Serretti on being a baseball player at GL: “being a baseball player here is awesome, it’s a privilege. Being on one of the most successful sports teams, it’s fun. We get a lot of support and get some pretty good crowds. It’s almost like a college experience, actually.

“The coaches are great. They work their butts off to make our experience as great as possible. In terms of taking it to the next level, just look at the track record here.”

With aspirations of playing beyond North Carolina, Serretti could be faced with a possible MLB draft situation next June.

“If the circumstances were right then I would have to sit down with my parents and talk about it,” Serretti said. “Right now I’m just focused on this year and the spring and helping the team out.”

Jennings , not related to the Jennings that starred at GL before him, is excited to join an Iona program that this past season included nine players from New Jersey.

“Something about the school stood out, I could see myself there as a player,” Jennings said. “I thought it was a great fit all around. I plan to work hard and, hopefully, play four years.”

Pat Carey was named Iona’s head coach in July of 2005. This past season he was the MAAC Coach of the Year.

“Like Will, I really liked the campus when I went there and the coach, the first time I met him, I thought he was really great,” McCulloch said.

GL BASEBALL THE PAST 3 SEASONS:

2017: (26-4)

Union County Conference-Watchung Division champions outright (8-2)

Central Jersey , Group 2 state champions for fourth time

 

2016: (21-10)

Union County Tournament champions for first time

 

2015: (28-6)

Union County Conference-Watchung Division co-champions (8-2)

Central Jersey , Group 2 state champions for third time

Group 2 state champions for third time

Set school record for wins in a season.

Follow JR Parachini on Twitter @parachini_jr

GL coach Chris Roof stands behind his college-bound seniors, from left, Tyler McCulloch (Iona), Danny Serretti (UNC), Will Jennings (Iona) and D.J. Gonnelli (Montclair State). (Photo by JR Parachini)

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