NJSIAA Central Group III baseball championship.
Who: No. 3 Somerville (18-8) vs. No. 1 Northern Burlington (25-4)
When/Where: Friday, 3:45 at Northern Burlington High School
How they reached the final: Somerville beat Kenney-Iselin 10-0, Allentown 7-1 and Hamilton West 6-5. Northern Burlington beat Red Bank 8-0, Ocean Township 2-1 and Middletown South 5-1.
About Somerville: The Pioneers are as balanced a team as the program has ever had – and that’s a long time. They are batting a collective .314 led by junior first baseman Kellen Hardy (.468), senior outfielder Austin Markowski (.438) and senior left fielder and lead off man Erik Rano (.366). Senior catcher Tommy Scharnikow is another of the leaders. Junior lefty Andrew Prescott (9-1, 1.76) is the ace. Senior Alex Antonelli, is 6-1, 2.42 ERA
About Northern Burlington: Northern Burlington:Senior lefty Ryan Shinn, a Florida Gulf commit, is 8-0 with a 1.66 and is hitting an even .500 (42-84) with 27 RBI. Senior shortstop Tyler O’Dell is hitting .450, with 24 runs and senior catcher Brett Parlante is at .484, with 20+ RBI. Shinn has allowed 11 runs in the entire season.
Playoff history: Somerville has won one sectional title — the Central Group II championship in 1973.. The Pioneers last made the sectional final in 2007 when they lost 1-0 to Spotswood in the Central Group II final. Northern Burlington is going for its second sectional title in three years.
Common foes: Both teams have played Bridgewater-Raritan and Allentown. Somerville beat Allentown 7-1 May 21 and Bridgewater-Raritan 2-1 (Prescott no hitter) on April 19. Northern Burlington beat Bridgewater-Raritan 7-6 on a walk-off grand slam April 25 and Allentown 10-1 on April 23.
The pick: Northern Burlington 3-2.