SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Widely regarded as the best amateur summer baseball league in the country, the Cape Cod League enters its final game of the 2012 season and three Seton Hall Pirates are vying for a championship ring. Ryan Sullivan (Stony Point, N.Y.), an outfielder for the Wareham Gatemen, and pitchers Brian Gilbert (Toms River, N.J.) and Jose Lopez (Cranbury, N.J.) of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, will compete tonight in the third and deciding game of the Cape's championship.
Seton Hall's representation in the Cape Cod League is impressive given the number of current All-Americans and future professionals on each of the eight teams' rosters. In fact, among all of the schools represented in the Cape's championship, only Indiana and Stanford have more student-athletes than Seton Hall on the championship rosters.
Seton Hall players have flourished in a multitude of summer leagues throughout the country this season.
Before being called up to the Cape Cod League, Sullivan was an All-Star in the Valley Baseball League for the Covington Lumberjacks. Among the league leaders with a .375 batting average, he led Covington in most offensive categories including home runs (10) and RBIs (44).
Lopez was named an All-Star in the New England Collegiate Baseball League after establishing himself as a dominant pitcher for the Mystic Schooners. His performance earned him a call-up to the Cape Cod League as well.
Not only was Giuseppe Papaccio (Nutley, N.J.) named an All-Star in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, he was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Papaccio went 2-for-4 in the All-Star Game and launched a third-inning solo home run to lead his team to a 4-0 victory. The Seton Hall rising senior will bring home a ring from his summer play as he helped guide the Amsterdam Mohawks to a sterling 35-12 record and league championship.
Rising sophomore Sal Annunziata (Bronx, N.Y.) brought his power to the Coastal Plains League where he was named an All-Star for his Morehead City Marlins. The Pirates' first baseman slugged the third-most home runs in the league and tied for second with 38 RBIs. Annunziata also led his team with 12 doubles and batted a respectable .270 in 178 at bats.
Chris Selden (Allenhurst, N.J.) and Kyle Grimm (Bergenfield, N.J.) excelled this summer in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League (ACBL). Selden was named a league All-Star and led his Staten Island Tide to a 26-9 record. The Pirates' infielder hit a team-best .380, while starting all 35 games, and also led his team in at bats, hits, triples and RBIs. Grimm batted .342 with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 32 starts for the North Jersey Eagles. Despite a sub-.500 record, the Grimm-led Eagles snuck into the playoffs and upset their way to their first-ever ACBL championship.
Seton Hall will reunite in February in an attempt to record its third straight 30+ win season and a third consecutive trip to the BIG EAST Championship.