Baseball: Courier News pre-season notebook, Top 10

Baseball: Courier News pre-season notebook, Top 10

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Baseball: Courier News pre-season notebook, Top 10

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The Skyland and Union County conferences will have different looks season as they both move from three to four divisions.

The Union County Conference has added the “Sky’ division, which has Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle, Hillside and St. Mary of Elizabeth. Those five had been part of the Valley Division along with Summit, the division winner the last two years..

Summit, which played in the Mountain Division in 2012 before dropping into the Valley with Plainfield and Rahway. Summit dominated, winning the division with 10-0 and 8-1 records last two years. That forced county officials to make the move.

The modified Valley Division is now made up by Summit and former Mountain teams Brearley, Oratory of Summit, Roselle Catholic and Roselle Park. The Mountain remains the same – A.L. Johnson, Dayton, New Providence and Union Catholic – with the addition of Linden, Dayton is a three-time defending division champ

Linden drops down from the Watchung Division and leaves behind last year’s champ Westfield, Governor Livingston and Scotch Plains-Fanwood along with Cranford, Elizabeth and Union. Linden was 4-18 overall last season and 0-12 in division play.

The Skyland Conference adds the Mountain Division, which is made up by Group I schools and former Valley Division teams Belvidere, Bound Brook, Manville and South Hunterdon, Group II North Plainfield and non public’s Gill St. Bernards and The Pingry School. Bernards, which won the last three Valley titles, is still in the division. Bernards new division rivals are Delaware Valley, Somerville, Voorhees and Warren Hills – formerly of the Raritan Division. Franklin and two-time defending champion Ridge remain in the Raritan with former Delaware teams Montgomery, North Hunterdon and Phillipsburg.

The Delaware is now a five-team division, but the schools will cross over once with the Raritan Division with the game counting in the division.

Skyland Conference divisional alignment

Delaware

Raritan

Valley

Mountain

Bridgewater-Raritan

Franklin

Bernards

Belvidere

Hillsborough

Montgomery

Delaware Valley

Bound Brook

Hunterdon Central

North Hunterdon

Rutgers Prep

Gill St. Bernard’s

Immaculata

Phillipsburg

Somerville

Manville

Watchung Hills

Ridge

Voorhees

North Plainfield

Warren Hills

Pingry

South Hunterdon

Union County Conference divisional alignment

Watchung

Mountain

Valley

Sky

Cranford

A.L. Johnson

Brearley

Hillside

Elizabeth

Dayton

Oratory

Plainfield

Governor Livingston

Linden

Roselle Catholic

Rahway

Scotch Plains-Fanwood

New Providence

Roselle Park

Roselle

Union

Union Catholic

Summit

St. Mary

Westfield

Vikings Hall bound

Voorhees is hoping that it can stop its 21-game losing streak as it hopes to enjoy a baseball rebirth. The Vikings figure to get a baseball boost the weekend of April 25-27 when they take a trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. While there the Vikings will plat a game against Easton Area (Pa.) at Doubleday Field. Voorhees coach Cory Kent said he already has a movie ready for the long ride up — Ken Burns’ “Baseball.”

Crusaders come ‘home’

When TD Bank Ballpark (under a different name at the time) opened in Bridgewater in 1999, there was talk that each one of Somerset County’s high schools would get to play at least one game on the field. Since that time, however, the land once belonging to the borough that sits a long sacrifice fly away figures to have had its high school play at least once there.

But Bound Brook – who’s players could walk to the field with their equipment – ironically becomes the last of the county’s public schools to get a crack at playing there. The Crusaders will play Gill St. Bernards in a Skyland Conference Mountain Division game April 16 at 5 p.m. at TD Bank Ballpark.

The park became the Somerset County Tournament final home in 2000 and its semifinal not long after. Since then, schools not just form Somerset County – Newark Academy, Dayton, Union and Westfield to name a few – have paid to play on the field. Gill St. Bernards played Manville there several years ago.

Can Somerset Tech be far behind?

PRE-SEASON TOP 10

1. Hunterdon Central

2. North Hunterdon

3. Westfield

4. Bridgewater-Raritan

5. Governor Livingston

6. Bernards

7. Ridge

8. Watchung Hills

9. Immaculata

10. Montgomery

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Baseball: Courier News pre-season notebook, Top 10

Baseball: Courier News pre-season notebook, Top 10

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