The New Providence Pioneers saw its baseball season come to an end on Tuesday against a familiar foe as it bowed to Roselle Park, 3-0, in the semifinal round of the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 tournament.
But this spring was still a very positive one for a team that finished 13-8 and won nine of its previous 10 games before Tuesday.
“We were a team that was still kind of finding its identity in April,” said fourth-year New Providence coach Chris Brodeur. “But they were able to put it together and mature as a ball club.”
Roselle Park struck for two runs in the first inning and one more in the second, and Jeremy Montanez allowed just three New Providence hits as it advanced to the sectional final.
Doug Pastore had a single and a walk, while Steven Zimmerman added a two-out sixth-inning double for New Providence.
“We got closer and closer every time we played them, but we just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Brodeur. “But they’re a good team with some good players.”
New Providence finished second in the Valley Division of the Union County Conference behind Roselle Park. New Providence, which was 9-2 in divisional play, suffered both of its losses to Roselle Park. It first dropped a 15-4, five-inning decision at Roselle Park on April 11 and then dropped a 6-0 decision at home on May 3.
New Providence owns two victories over Oratory of Summit, a team that is still alive in the North Jersey, Non-Public B tournament.
“We had a lot of seniors on the team that produced for us like Pastore, who has been our best pitcher and best hitter, Zimmerman and Joe Randazzo,” said Brodeur. “And we had the younger players produce as well.”
Brodeur was quick to single out freshman Marc Giacalone and sophomore Michael Marchesano as two players to keep an eye on next year.
“Marc has all the tools to be a very good player and we have big expectations for him over the next few years,” said Brodeur. “And Mike has done a real solid job for us this year.”
After its second loss to Roselle Park, the Pioneers stood at 4-6 but were able to rebound and go 9-2 the rest of the way.
The team's only two losses in its final 11 games were a 5-4 setback to Columbia on May 11 and the season-ending loss to Roselle Park.
New Providence defeated Weequahic (13-0) and Whippany Park (15-7) before meeting up with Roselle Park. It was the deepest run the Pioneers have had since the team reached the semifinal round of the Central Jersey, Group 2 tournament in 2007.
“It was definitely a successful season,” said Brodeur. “And hopefully we can build on this next year.”