Notebook: Diamond Classic, GNT, Leiter, DeChiaro, HWS

By Bob Behre | May 13, 2019

It was a truly outstanding weekend in high school baseball that saw Jack Leiter throw a near perfect game to guide Delbarton to the Morris County Tournament championship and Montclair reach its third Greater Newark Tournament final since 2012.

Meanwhile in South Jersey, Haddonfield and Shawnee stole the show at the 46th Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, setting up the first all-public school championship in that great event since 2010. In a weird statistical anomaly, Haddonfield’s only Diamond Classic championship occurred via a 3-2 decision over Shawnee in 1984. Shawnee, in turn, defeated Haddonfield, 9-3, when it won its only Diamond title in 1990.

So, we’ll call this a Shawnee-Haddonfield rubber match for the championship on Wednesday night at Eastern High School in Voorhees.

Leiter, a potential first round draft choice, come June, was clocked at 98 miles per hour while sitting at 94-96, stifling the overmatched West Morris batters to the tune of 14 strikeouts in a tight 2-1 victory for the Green Wave. The senior righty had a perfect game going for 6.2 innings before surrendering his lone hit allowed, a single, one batter away from the gem. Jack is the son of former major leaguer and Central Regional (Bayville) product Al Leiter.

Former Diamond Jack Anthony Volpe, who is committed to Vanderbilt and has promising draft day prospects, too, hit a solo home run and scored both of Delbarton’s runs in the game.

Montclair High School is a several decades-long football power in North Jersey but hadn’t reached a Greater Newark Tournament since well before its coach, Ron Gavazzi, was born. Gavazzi arrived to the Montclair baseball job in 2006 and it didn’t take him long to learn the Mounties hadn’t played in a GNT final since 1969. At the age of 26 at the time, 1969 had to seem like the Stone  Age to Gavazzi. The GNT, by the way, is in its 87th year and is easily the state’s oldest tournament.

Gavazzi would reinvigorated the Montclair program slowly but surely until his 2012 team finally reached the GNT title game and defeated Nutley, 2-1. Montclair reached the final again in 2013, this time falling to Seton Hall Prep, 4-2. Gavazzi left Montclair after the 2013 season to focus on football, a sport he loves and coached at both the high school (Montclair, Don Bosco Prep) and collegiate (Montclair State University, Kean University) levels.

Gavazzi returned to coach the Montclair baseball team in 2017 and his Mounties reached the GNT semifinals, falling 1-0 to Seton Hall. Montclair (13-5) is on the precipice of another GNT crown this spring after the Mounties (13-5) knocked off top-seeded Nutley, 8-3, on Saturday in the semifinals to land a berth in this Saturday’s championship game opposite Seton Hall Prep.

Montclair, by the way, defeated Seton Hall Prep, 8-2, on April 16. The teams were scheduled to tangle today in the second of their Super Essex Conference games, weather permitting.

Diamond Jack Joey DeChiaro broke the Hunterdon Central High School record for career wins in style on Saturday when he tossed a five-inning no-hitter in the Red Devils 12-1 victory over Westfield. The victory gave four-year starter DeChiaro (4-1) 25 wins in his career, snapping the record set in 2017 by Peter Woltersdorf (Lehigh), who posted a 24-3 record in three varsity seasons at the Flemington school. DeChiaro is 25-4 with the NJSIAA tournament lying ahead.

A stunning 12 of DeChiaro’s 25 career victories have come in a HWS or NJSIAA tournament game.

Finch’s Aces pitcher Kylie Gletow had a heck of an eight-day stretch for her high school softball team, Hunterdon Central (17-1). Gletow pitched a no-hitter as Hunterdon Central defeated North Hunterdon, 2-0, in the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament semifinals on May 4. She struck out 10 and walked three. Gletow also hit a solo home run in the game.

Five days later, Gletow five-hit North Hunterdon in a Skyland Conference game as the Red Devils won 5-2. The righthander picked up career strikeout No. 400 in that game. On Thursday, Gletow pitched another five-hitter in a 4-1 victory over Immaculata. That brought Gletow and her teammates to Saturday’s HWS championship game against Delaware Valley.

Gletow shut out Delaware Valley on five hits as she struck out 11 and walked one in a 6-0 victory. Gletow was named the HWS Most Valuable Player. It was her second MVP in the tri-county tournament, having won the award as a freshman in 2016.

Anticipated game coverage this week brings its readers coverage of high school games around the state and loves nothing more than to be on site for the big county and state tournament games. In fact, covered all six NJSIAA group championship games last spring with its lone reporter. That could be a record in itself. Anyone?

The state tournament begins a week from today on Monday, May 20. But for now we have an assortment of county tournaments that need to be completed, including the Somerset County Tournament championship game, which was rained out on Monday and moved to Friday.

Here is our coverage plan for this week.


Diamond Classic Final: Haddonfield vs. Shawnee

6:30 p.m., Eastern High School, Voorhees


TBD – League game or county rainout makeup


Somerset County Tournament Final: Immaculata vs. Ridge

7 p.m., TD Bank Park, Bridgewater


Greater Middlesex County Tournament Final – finalists TBD

4 p.m., East Brunswick Vo-Tech, East Brunswick

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