Robbie Carvelli lines up a pitch he ripped for a single past third base in Quad County Games.
The NJ Quad County Underclassmen All-Star Games has truly developed a head of steam since its birth as an Essex/Union event in 2010.
The Underclassmen games were the brainchild of Montclair State-grad Bob Smorol and Smorol has remained the event administrator and the true mover and shaker who makes the games not just viable but a true showcase event.
Before the Quad County Underclassmen games became an entity, Smorol and his team of head coaches from both counties had an impressive eight-year run as the Union-Essex Games. And Essex County won six of those eight games.
Middlesex County was added in 2017 when a combined Essex-Union team edged Middlesex, 8-7. The following year, Hudson came aboard and the event spawned into the Quad County Games.
Year four of those games – there was no game played in 2020 due to the pandemic – was played last Thursday at North Brunwick’s Community Park before an enthusiastic crowd and a nice group of college scouts. Middlesex defeated Essex, 5-0, and Union picked off Hudson, 13-4.
Among a host of impressive performances were the Most Valuable Player selected from each team.
Rutgers-bound Zach Konstantinovsky of North Brunswick made quick work of the MVP award for Middlesex by homering in both of his at bats in the fifth and seventh innings. Konstantinovsky, who has made his bread and butter as a dominant pitcher, reminded everyone about his strength as a hitter when he crushed a no-doubt-about-it shot over the fence in left field on the first pitch he saw from Griffin Seibel of Glen Ridge to extend the Middlesex lead to 5-0. Konstantinovsky then unloaded a solo shot in the seventh off Seton Hall Prep’s Justin Shadek to boost the lead to 6-0.
Konstantinovsky’s home run took what appeared to be a sure MVP award away from teammate Mark Gialluisi, the Middlesex catcher from St. Joseph (Met.). Gialluisi doubled and scored in his first two at bats and flew out deep to right field in his three at bats before Konstantinovsky entered the game. Gialluisi was also in the middle of a pretty 1-2-3 double play by Middlesex in the second inning and threw a runner out stealing in the third.
Anthony Anzaldi of Montclair got the start for Essex, pitched very well and was named that squad’s Most Valuable Player. Anzaldi permitted one run, which was unearned, over two innings on one hit, struck out four and walked one. Essex managed eights in the game but left 10 runners aboard, leading to the shutout.
Wesley Griffith of Dayton was named the MVP for Union County, singling in all three at bats, scoring twice and stealing a base. His leadoff single in the seventh triggered a five-run Union rally. His one-out single in the ninth ignited a two-run rally for Union.
Julian Hernandez of Ferris was named the MVP for Hudson County after retiring all four batters he faced and striking out three of them.
Righty Mike Cassels of West Orange entered in the ninth for Essex and promptly surrendered a leadoff single to Woodbridge’s Eddy Nunez. But Cassels then mowed down the next three batters in order via strikeout.
Casey Cumiskey of Spotswood had two productive at bats early in the game, driving in a run in the first inning on a fielder’s choice grounder to the right side and singling through the left side in the middle of another rally in the third inning.
Jake Amirata of Montclair Kimberley may have had a leg up on the Essex MVP honors if not for the hose of Middlesex center fielder Mike Colonnello. Amirata singled to center with two outs and two Essex runners aboard. It appeared Essex would avert the shutout after all. But Colonnello scooped up the nugget in center and unleashed some heat to the plate to cut down Seton Hall Prep’s Elijah Foster trying to score from second base. Foster led off with a single and stole second base before Bloomfield’s Daniel Murawinski drew a one-out walk.
George Provel of Gov. Livingston was on base all three trips to the plate for Union. He reached on an error in the first and scored, singled in the second and drew a walk in the fifth. Luca Vitale of New Providence drew a walk and scored in the first and doubled in the second for Union. Shea Grady of Cranford had an RBI single in the fifth for Union.
Isaiah Ruiz of St. Peter’s Prep and Chris Villavicencio of Ferris each had a double for Hudson County. Villavicencio also put on a prodigious display en route to winning the Quad County Underclassmen Games’ Home Run Derby title.
Middlesex County is 2-0-2 in the four-year history of the Quad County Underclassmen All-Star Games, ahead of Hudson County (2-2), Union (1-2-1) and Essex (1-2-1).