Former Gov. Livingston Baseball Standout Keith Skinner Enjoys Successful Homecoming, Named Semifinalist for Johnny Bench Award


NEWARK, NJ - It's been a few years since former Gov. Livingston baseball standout and current University of North Florida's senior catcher Keith Skinner (Gov. Livingston 2012, Berkeley Heights) has had a chance to play in New Jersey before his family and friends, but this past week Skinner made the most of a rare homecoming opportunity when UNF Ospreys visited NJIT for a regular season ending 3 game series. 

Skinner, who is having an outstanding senior season, pounded out 6 hits in 12 trips to the plate (.500, 4 RBI)  much  to the delight of the large contingent of family and friends who were on hand to watch the Ospreys sweep the three game series played at Bears Riverfront Stadium in Newark. The six hits Skinner collected in the series raised his season batting average to .395 which has him currently ranked 15th in the nation this season (NCAA, DI).  

Skinner's outstanding play this year has not gone unnoticed as he was recently named as one of the 15 semifinalists for the prestigious Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation's top catcher each year. 

Sign Up for E-News

The homecoming for Keith and the Skinner family began on Wednesday night as Nancy and John Skinner hosted the entire UNF baseball team and coaching staff for dinner at their home in Berkeley Heights. It was at this homecoming dinner with all his teammates and coaches that he learned that he was named a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, and was able to share the exciting news with his parents.

The distinguished Johnny Bench Award criteria calls for all nominees to have been the starting catcher for their team in 75 percent of their games and is based on athletic ability, sportsmanship, team leadership, and character. Ironman Skinner has started all but one of the Ospreys games this season behind the plate and has thrown out 15 runners stealing and has not committed an error in 388 chances.

His .395 batting average  leads the Atlantic Sun Conference and his .481 on base percentage is 29th highest in the nation. Finalist for the award will be named on June 3 with the winner being named during the College World Series. Skinner has also been named a unamious first team Atlantic Sun All-Conference selection.

The three game series with NJIT was played in just two days with day games on Thursday and Friday (2) due to possible poor weather moving Saturday's game to a Friday doubleheader. Unfortunately for NJIT the Ospreys pummeled them over the three games, outscoring the Highlanders 37 to 4 over the three games. The sweep enabled UNF to secure sole possession second place in the conference as they headed back home.

While at Gov. Livingston, Skinner was an All-State selection and left GL as the all-time leader in career hits (117) and a school record of .564 average as a junior. He was a member of the 2011 Group II NJ State championship team playing under Coach Chris Roof. Roof, who was able to get out to Bears Riverfront Stadium to catch Skinner in action had this to say about his former player, "I can't be any prouder of Keith both to where he's gotten as a baseball player, but more importantly as a young adult. I was very impressed and proud when I recently watched him play. And the fact that he's on the Johnny Bench list is a credit to how hard he works at the game both offensively and defensively."

"After meeting and talking with his coach (North Florida, Smoke Laval), he shared with me how in two quick years there how Keith has become the leader of the team," said Roof. "I hope our current Highlanders that aspire to play in college take a page out of Keith's book."
After their big weekend in New Jersey, the Ospreys record stands at 37-17 as they head to Nashville as the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Sun Conference Baseball Championship to face No.5 Florida Gulf Coast in the opening round. The winner of the double elimination Conference Tournament will be awarded an automatic berth in the upcoming NCAA baseball tournament.

Catch Skinner in action as each game of the tournament will be live on ESPN3.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

New Jersey Youth Symphony Announces 2018 Summer Camps

February 20, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE—The New Jersey Youth Symphony announced today that it will hold two summer camps, Orchestral Camp from June 24 until July 7 and Junior Winds Camp from July 30 until August 3, at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. Campers can take advantage of a 5% tuition discount by registering before the Early Registration deadline on June 1, 2018. For more information visit ...

Return Berkeley Heights Public Library's Books, etc.

Remember those book and DVDs and other materials borrowed from the Berkeley Heights Public Library before it closed? It's time to return them.

Staff will be at the Municipal Courtroom/Council Chambers at 29 Park Ave. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24 to accept them. Enter through the glass door, using the stairs by the Police Department.

For more information, email ...

2018 Gov. Livingston Highlander Softball Clinic Set for March 19

Come join and learn from the 2017 Union County Softball Champion Gov. Livingston coaches and varsity players on Monday, March 19, 2018 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Activities will include the following fastpitch softball skills:

Batting Techniques
Throwing Mechanics
Base Running

Who: Children grades 1-7 of any skill level or ability

Where: Gov. Livingston High School, 175 ...

Mike Zuko at Salem Roadhouse Cafe

Raised on a diet of The Beatles, Buddy Holly and The Doors, Michael Zuko was exposed first hand to the thrilling music of the legendary 70s NYC club scene. Zuko and the band show a skilled singer-songwriter who is backed by solid musical talent, bringing original, fresh and intelligent lyrics to the stage. A true entertainer, Mike engages the audience fully and leaves them wanting more. Mike and ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...

We Need More Women Like Colleen Mahr in Municipal, County and State Government

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to support Colleen Mahr for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee  (UCDC) and am encouraging my Scotch Plains peers to join me.

I was a first time candidate wanting to make a difference in my hometown of Scotch Plains, when Mayor Mahr of neighboring Fanwood stepped in to help me campaign and win my election to be Councilwoman three years ago.

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 21

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

The Underground Railroad Documentary

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, February 22

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Thu, February 22, 6:00 PM

UCEDC, Cranford

Next Level Business Planning

Business & Finance

Fri, February 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green


Fri, February 23, 6:30 PM

Union County Vocational Technical Schools, West Hall Cafeteria, Scotch Plains

Union County Magnet High School Silent Auction

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...