Metuchen’s comeback baseball season ends in sectional finals

By Jimmy Allinder

Metuchen

This past weekend concluded what was a remarkable season for the Metuchen High School baseball team.

The season ended in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey, Group I championship game with a 3-2 loss to Middlesex High School June 3. The Bulldogs finished with an 18-9 record.

“We got off to a rough start, but I can honestly say the team stayed the course in terms of work ethic and dedication,” coach Leo Danik said. “I credit our seniors for keeping everybody focused.”

Metuchen started out 1-5 and could have easily mailed in the rest of season, but the Bulldogs reversed course and won its next 11 games.

The streak continued in the state tournament, as Metuchen defeated The LEAP Academy, 11-1; Shore Regional High School, 11-0; and Riverside High School, 2-0; before losing to Middlesex.

Senior Kyle Harry led the team in hitting with a .500 average, while Matt Volpe hit .469, Will Hronich batted .417, Mike Lapczynski hit .415 and Jay Harry batted .333. Lapczynski had a 4-1 record on the mound.

Danik said this year’s team prospered, in part, because they were raised in a community that loves baseball and supports the sport in many ways.

“The seniors first started playing when they were 10 years old and is the first class that has come up through the ranks since I’ve been here,” Danik said. “Our season is the culmination of contributions from organizations like the Little League in addition to parents and former players.”

John P. Stevens

The John P. Stevens High School boys’ volleyball ended the season with a 2-1 loss (25-16, 19-25, 24-26) to Bridgewater-Raritan High School June 2 in the Central Jersey sectional finals to close out the season with a 23-9 record.

The Hawks didn’t win the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) or conference tournament titles but came alive in the state tournament. They opened the first round with a 2-0 (25-14, 25-16) win over West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, then knocked off Old Bridge High School, 2-1 (25-22, 12-25, 25-22), in the quarterfinals. That was followed by a 2-1 win over Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen (23-25, 25-22, 25-22) in the semifinals.

J.P. Stevens received several outstanding performances throughout the season but especially in the states from Eric Lee (29 aces, 133 service points, 427 kills, 272 digs) and Sam Kim (27 aces, 142 service points, 217 kills, 239 digs).

Nirav Patel (99 service points, 368 assists, 131 digs), Daniel Ricigliano (22 aces, 141 service points, 212 digs) and Aakash Shrivastava (36 aces, 148 service points, 404 assists, 109 digs) also contributed.

GMC Golf Cup

The area was represented by three golfers who participated in the fourth annual GMC Cup, a season-ending tournament pitting the top conference golfers against each other in a team format.

The event was held at Metuchen Country Club May 30 with teams chosen by honorary coaches, Nick Renzi of Old Bridge and Joe Hoeman of South Brunswick High School.

T.J. Terpanick and Mike Rocco of St. Joe’s played for Team Vikings, while Collin Gavin of Metuchen was a member of Team Knights.