Play Ball! – High school baseball/softball open camp

By Bob Behre | March 26, 2021

Pascack Hills celebrates its 2019 NJSIAA Group 2 state championship.

High School baseball and softball teams stopped playing ball about 380 days ago with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This afternoon, scholastic teams throughout the Garden State opened their respective practices/tryouts with a collective sigh of relief

Finally, the start of a new season is just an earshot away on April 19 and the joy among the players and coaches is palpable.

Under a directive from the NJSIAA, teams can have just pitchers and catchers in the camp at this point. Full teams are permitted to begin practice on April 1. The first allowable date for scrimmages is April 8.

Yes, the NJSIAA state tournament is a go. The Non-Public tournament begins on June 1 and ends with the Non-Public A & B championship games on June 18. The Public tournament begins on June 2 and concludes on June 19 with the four Group championship games. All six state finals will be played at Veterans Park in Hamilton.

Here’s the dates to save for the 2021 season.

Important Baseball Dates

First Practice (Pitchers & Catchers): March 26, 2021

First Practice (Team): April 1, 2021

First Scrimmage April 8, 2021

Opening Day: April 19, 2021

State Tournament Cutoff: May 23, 2021

Non-Public Tournament Dates

Round 1: June 1, 2021 Higher Seed

Round 2 by: June 4, 2021 Higher Seed

Round 3 by: June 7, 2021 Higher Seed

Sectional Finals: June 10, 2021 Higher Seed

Group Finals: June 16, 2021 Veterans Park, Hamilton Group Finals

Public Tournament Dates

Round 1: June 2, 2021 Higher Seed

Round 2 by: June 5, 2021 Higher Seed

Round 3 by: June 8, 2021 Higher Seed

Sectional Finals: June 11, 2021 Higher Seed

State Semifinals: June 14, 2021 North 1 & Central

Group Finals June 19, 2021 Veterans Park, Hamilton

There’s more good news. Diamond Nation, through a series of phone calls, texts and emails, has learned that almost all of the county tournaments will be played as well. 

There are 11 individual county championships contested along with the tri-county Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament and the prestigious seven-county Diamond Classic, which amounts to the championship of South Jersey.

That’s the 21 counties representing New Jersey. Only Mercer County and Somerset County have decided not to hold their annual county championships. Mercer will, instead, play host to a conference tournament championship in the Colonial Valley Conference. Somerset, which boasts some of the best teams in the mighty Skyland Conference, has no tournament planned as of yet.

Remember, with the 2020 season canceled, county championships have not been contested since 2019.

2021 County Tournaments

Bergen County Coaches Tournament

Defending champion: Ridgewood

Passaic County Tournament

Defending champion: Wayne Valley

Greater Newark Tournament (Essex)

Defending champion: Montclair

Morris County Tournament

Defending champion: Delbarton

Union County Tournament

Defending champion: Scotch Plains-Fanwood

Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament

Defending champion: Pope John

Greater Middlesex County Tournament

Defending champion: Old Bridge

Monmouth County Tournament

Defending champion: Christian Brothers Academy

Ocean County Tournament

Defending champion: Pt. Pleasant Boro

Shore Conference Tournament (twin-county)

Defending champion: Red Bank Catholic

Diamond Classic (seven counties)

Defending champion: Shawnee

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