Garden State Underclass Games a Jersey happening

By Bob Behre | June 11, 2022

Ben Schild of Middletown South will be one of the headliners at the Garden State Underclass Games.

The Garden State Underclass Games returns to Diamond Nation on Thursday, June 16 for the 9th edition of the event at the state’s premier travel baseball facility.

The 2022 high school baseball season is still churning with the NJSIAA sectional championship games played yesterday but the Underclass Games ushers in the summer season while drawing college and professional scouts to New Jersey from throughout the nation.

The top 100 underclass prospects in the state of New Jersey will come together for a pair of highly anticipated games that highlight their abundance of skills in front of an enormous audience of college and professional scouts. The past two Underclass Games, for example, drew 150 scouts for each event to Diamond Nation, creating an intense and highly competitive baseball atmosphere.

“We are the official first stop on the recruiting calendar for just about every college coach on the east coast,” said Diamond Nation President Nick Massari. “As a former NJ high school player who never got to experience this type of exposure, it brings me joy to know that the best kids in our state today will not fall through the cracks.”

Although several of the top New Jersey underclassmen have made their college commitments, the bulk of the invitees to the Garden State Games are uncommitted players. This represents an enormous opportunity for both the college scouts and the uncommitted players.

“We’re excited to have another great crop of players who will represent the best the Garden State has to offer,” said Steve DiTrolio, a Milwaukee Brewers scout and the longtime coordinator of the event. “The games have been a success thus far due to the support of the high school coaches, college coaches and overall NJ baseball community. It is really a great night that unofficially kicks off the summer baseball season here in NJ.”

Player registration is scheduled for 3 p.m.-3:45 p.m. The event begins with batting practice starting at 4:30 p.m. on Field 1, followed by Infield/Outfield at 5:45 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Player introductions will be conducted at 6:45 p.m. and first pitch for the two games is 7:15 p.m.

Prep Baseball Report (PBR) New Jersey will be on site to accumulate player data, fine-tune rankings, and sum up the night with their sought-after player assessments.

Here are some of the top players at the 2022 Garden State Underclass Games.

Ben Schild, Junior RHP, Middletown South: Ben was the winning pitcher in the NJSIAA Group 4 championship game a year ago as a sophomore and hasn’t broken stride. The 6-3, 220-pounder is committed to UConn and boasts a fastball that has touched 92 mph. Schild was 8-0 this season with a 0.85 ERA. He struck out 95 batters and walked 17 in 49.1 innings.

Eric Becker, Junior, SS/2B, Don Bosco Prep: The 6-3, 185 lefty-hitting shortstop has already committed to Virginia. He has shown plenty of pop against perhaps the most difficult competition in and out of the state. He’s batting .375 with 5 home runs and 20 RBI. His fourth-ranked team plays No. 3 Seton Hall Prep today in the North Jersey, Non-Public A championship game.

Zach Konstantovsky, Junior RHP, North Brunswick: Zach has been utterly dominant with his high 80s fastball and a competitiveness that will be hard to match. The Rutgers-bound righty has posted a 9-0 record with a 0.73 ERA this season. Consider these numbers. Konstantovsky has struck out 120 batters and walked 2 in 67 innings-pitched.

Lucas Reyes, Junior CF, Bergen Catholic: Lucas is a 6-2, 185-pound center fielder already committed to Miami. He was a force in the potent Bergen Catholic lineup this season, batting .414 with 24 hits and 27 RBI. He hit two HR and stole eight bases for the North Jersey, Non-Public A semifinalist.

Justin Herbstman, Junior LHP, Old Bridge: Justin is a 6-2, 185 lefty bound for Virginia Tech. He used a fastball that has touched 89 miles per hour to build a 5-3 record and register a 1.30 ERA this season. His losses came to No. 1 St. Augustine, No. 4 Don Bosco Prep and Central Jersey, Group 4 finalist East Brunswick. He lit it up for 88 strikeouts and 15 walks in 48.1 innings-pitched.

Cameron Flukey, Junior RHP, Egg Harbor Twp.: Cam is a 6-5, 180-pound righty whose fastball has touched 91 miles per hour. The Coastal Carolina commit went 7-3 this season and posted a 3.10 ERA against great competition in South Jersey. He struck out 63 and walked 21 in 38.1 innings-pitched.

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