Montclair High School, Montclair Kimberley Academy baseball hope to make run in GNT
Montclair Kimberley’s baseball team has already led off on the right foot in its run in the Greater Newark Tournament.
The Cougars are the 11th seed in the 22-team county baseball tournament and took care of 22nd-seeded Orange, 16-0, on April 27 in the GNT preliminary round.
Montclair is the fourth seed and will take on the winner of the contest between 20th-seeded Technology and 13th-seeded Belleville – possibly on Friday, May 5, at Woodman Field in Montclair. The three higher seeds are top seed Millburn, second-seeded Seton Hall Prep and third-seeded Livingston.
After Montclair Kimberley defeated the Mounties, 6-5, on April 28, the Cougars raised their record to 6-8 while Montclair dropped to 6-6-1.
For the Mounties they are looking for a longer run compared to 2022. Montclair, which was the second seed in the GNT last season, was upset by 17th-seeded Barringer, 2-1, in a game where the old saying that good pitching can beat good hitting.The Barringer pitching shutdown Montclair to pull off the stunning upset.
For Montclair head coach Ron Gavazzi, last season was just one example that where you are in the pecking order is inconsequential. "I don't think the seeding means anything," Gavazzi said.
Montclair Kimberley broke out the bats to support sophomore Brooks Barrett, who fired a five-inning no-hitter and struck out 10 in the victory over the Tornado in the GNT preliminary victory.
Barrett needed only a five-run first inning to pick up the victory in the GNT. Senior Jack Amirata had a big game with the bat, going 2-for-3 with seven RBI, including smacking a home run and a triple.
Cougars head coach Ralph Pacifico said his team can't wait to take on sixth-seeded Bloomfield on May 5 at Bloomfield (4 p.m.) in the GNT first round contest. "I'm looking forward to playing Bloomfield," said Pacifico after his team defeated Montclair on April 28.
Despite Montclair Kimberley already losing twice to the Bengals (16-9, April 3 and 11-4, April 19), Pacifico believes they have a very good chance with their ace, Amirata on the mound.
The Cougars believe they can be the Bloomfield of this season. Despite an under .500 record, the Bengals made it all the way to the GNT final last season before bowing to Seton Hall Prep in the title game.
Amirata still has not given up an earned run this season in three starts this season while striking out 36 in 19 innings.
Like Amirata, Montclair has an ace who could help lead the Mounties to the 2023 GNT finals.
Montclair senior Anthony Anzaldi is one of the top pitchers in Essex County and has given up only one earned run in four starts with three wins while forcing GNT second-seeded Seton Hall Prep to a 2-2 tie in the season opener on April 3 (game was called because of darkness).
Coming into the 2023 season, Gavazzi said that Anzaldi has raised his performance on the mound. "Anthony has improved on his overall craft," Gavazzi said. "He has become a very smart pitcher. Also, he trusts his stuff."