Baseball: Millburn Returns Armed for Another Title Run

Mike Garawitz
Brian Lannino
Jordan Brisgel Credits: file photo
Kevin Czapelski Credits: Guy Kipp
Johnny Serruto Credits: Guy Kipp

MILLBURN, NJ - Before asking what the Millburn varsity baseball team is expected to do for an encore, it might be worth remembering where the program stood at this time a year ago.

With an overwhelmingly young roster, the 2015 Millers were supposed to endure a bit of a rebuilding year. Instead, they reloaded and turned it into one of the greatest seasons in Millburn history, complete with a Group 4 state championship.

Fourteen players who were in the dugout during Millburn's 11-3 state championship victory over Williamstown return for coach Brian Chapman this spring. It is extremely rare that a team coming off a 27-6 season comes back with so much collective experience.

Sign Up for E-News

"With that type of experience, this preseason has been different," Chapman said. "We did not have to spend as much time teaching new principles, but instead were able to focus on continuing to improve on the things that helped our players to be successful in the past."

Millburn opens its season Friday at 4 p.m. at Belleville, with a game scheduled at home the next morning at 10 a.m. against Livingston.

Senior Kevin Czapelski was 10-2 with a 2.12 ERA last season, and the right-hander was the winning pitcher in both the Millers' sectional final victory over Ridge and the state title triumph over Williamstown. Czapelski, who had Tommy John surgery at the beginning of his sophomore year, showed no ill effects from the procedure and also wielded a dangerous bat in the middle of the Millburn lineup. He batted .393 last year with three home runs and 33 RBI. Czapelski has committed to Sacred Heart University.

Seniors Brian Lannino (5-0, 1.69 ERA), who will attend Lafayette University, and Mike Garawitz (4-2, 2.05 ERA) will also be important members of the Miller mound staff. They'll be backed up by a defense that makes almost all the plays and almost never gives the opposition extra outs to work with. Second baseman Johnny Serruto (.354 batting average and just four errors in 105 chances), third baseman Jordan Brisgel, first baseman Matt Jacob and outfielders Rich Schiekofer (.385 batting average, team-high 39 runs scored), Nick Minter and Dean Schweinler all know how to use the leather.

Ryan Adelman, last year's shortstop, helped provide the glue to a solid infield, but he will miss the 2016 season after tearing an ACL a scrimmage earlier in March.

"Our goals remain the same each year no matter what level of experience we bring to the dugout," Chapman said. "We try to focus on daily and short term goals rather than on the big picture. Our philosophy is that if we take care of what we need to each and every day, then all of our result goals will be attainable."

Chapman and his staff stress fundamentals to such an extent, and his players have bought in to the philosophy so thoroughly, that even a Millburn team without this wealth of experience could be expected to perform the basics at a level uncommon at the high school level.

"Our plan will not change. We will try to be a team that throws strikes, limits the opposition to three outs per inning, builds quality at bats and runs the bases aggressively and intelligently. Again, if we can meet our goals in those four areas day in and day out we feel like that will give us a chance to be successful and reach our long term goals," Chapman said.

"We understand that expectations will be high in our school, in our community, and at our dinner tables. Truthfully, though, we do not change our expectations from year to year," the coach added. "We expect that all of our players will prepare properly for our season with hard work in the off-season in the weight room; that they will give maximum effort both on the field and in the classroom whether in season or out; and that each member of our program will be a selfless contributor to the greater cause. We feel that if we hold all of our student athletes to that standard year after year that the results will follow. Wins and losses are simply an end to a means."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Merry Christmas from TAPinto Millburn-Short Hills

December 24, 2017

MILLBURN, NJ - The staff at TAPinto Millburn-Short Hills wish all our readers who celebrate a Merry Christmas.  

Millburn Police Investigate Theft by Nordstrom Employee

February 14, 2018

Press Release February 13, 2018


On February 6, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Royce stopped a 2009 Jaguar XKR as it exited the mall for having no front plate. The investigation led to the arrest of 50 year old Christopher Garibian of Morristown on an outstanding traffic warrant out of Morris Township. Mr. Garibian was placed under arrest, issued summonses, and released after posting ...


AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!


Upcoming Events


Mon, February 19, 7:45 PM

Education Center, Millburn

Millburn Board of Education Meeting


Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

Greenwood Gardens, Short Hills

All the Presidents’ Gardens Talk & Book Signing ...

Home & Garden


Tue, February 27, 8:15 AM

Congregation Bnai Israel, Millburn

JBN Presents: Women's Networking in Millburn

Business & Finance


Sun, March 4, 10:00 AM

South Mountain Dog Park, Maplewood

March Fourth for Colon Cancer Prevention 5K

Paper Mill Playhouse Announces the World Premiere of 'Unmasked'

February 18, 2018

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, announced today the world premiere of UNMASKED, which will feature some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most iconic work and the stories behind its creation, along with new music and memories from his extraordinary life and career, will open its ...

Millburn Township Republican County Committee Call for Potential Candidates

Registered Republicans interested in serving our community are encouraged to run for the single open Township Committee seat in the 2018 election.  The Millburn Township Republican County Committee invites prospective candidates to arrange an interview by contacting Chairwoman, Mary McNett, at 973-376-3345 or via e-mail at mary.mcnett

Ms. McNett noted ...

Harry Connick, Jr. to Appear in the World-Premiere Production of "The Sting"

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, has announced that Harry Connick, Jr. will star as Henry Gondorff in the world-premiere production of The Sting.  The musical is based on the 1973 film, and will have its world premiere at Paper Mill Playhouse for a limited run from March ...