Baseball – 2014 Preview: Brick
Brick Green Dragons
Head Coach: Jason Groschel, ninth season
Record Last Year: 13-11 (7-7, tied for fifth in A South)
|Returning Starters||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Nick Zbranak||Sr.||3B/P||.431/.478/.485, 3 2B, 10 R, 10 RBI||4 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 4 K, 1.75 ERA|
|Brian Gallagher||Sr.||C||.310/.420/.423, 5 2B, 1 HR, 12 R, 9 RBI|
|Matt Olsen||Sr.||OF||.300/.333/.400, 2 2B, 1 3B, 7 R, 7 RBI, 5 SB|
|Evan Lobato||Sr.||P||.222/.462/.222||32.2 IP, 41 H, 24 BB, 35 K, 5.36 ERA, 2-3|
|Nick Moglia||Jr.||P/1B||1-for-3||23.2 IP, 29 H, 14 BB, 9 K, 5.03 ERA, 1-2|
|Returning Players||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Dan Berg||Jr.||2B||.214/.267/.214, 3 R|
|Transfer||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Carmen Sclafani (TRN)||Jr.||SS||.375/.402/.444, 3 2B, 1 3B, 16 R, 21 RBI, 8 SB|
Key Losses: Tyler Iannarone (1B), Tyler Wicker (2B), Brad Applegate (OF), Brian Henry (SS/P), John Fuino (OF), Trevor Mastria (P)
Key Newcomers: Matt Greenberg (Jr., 3B/P), Ron Parliament (Jr., OF), Colin Henry (Sr., OF/2B/P), Jordan Rassmann (Sr., P), Tyler Post (Sr., C), Ian Cole (Sr., P), Stephen Cole (Jr., P), Brandon Weber (Jr., P/OF), Nick Pollara (Jr., OF), John Canterelli (Jr., OF), Nick Chirichello (So., OF/P), Dan Finelli (So., 1B), Steve Schirm (So., 1B), Hunter Rizzuto (So., P/OF)
There are legitimately six teams that could win Class A South this season and while Brick may be the longest shot of the six, it doesn’t take much to talk oneself into believing the Green Dragons have the goods to get it done. Brick returns one of the best left-handed bats in the division in third baseman Nick Zbranak, as well as senior Brian Gallagher, the top returning offensive catcher in A South by OPS and a strong defender as well.
Junior Carmen Sclafani – a shortstop transfer from Shore Conference Tournament champion Toms River North – will give Brick a major lift in the infield and at the plate after coming through in a number of clutch situations for the Mariners last year. Sclafani already quarterbacked Brick’s football team to a state championship this past fall, so he has the blueprint for coming into a new program and winning right away.
The Green Dragons have the makings of another good lineup this season, but they will need their pitching to come through in order to get back near the top of the division. Senior right-hander Evan Lobato got off to a decent start last year, but lost his command and never regained his rhythm during the year. Lobato has a live arm and playable secondary pitches, so the potential is there for a bounce-back season. Brick will also look to junior Nick Moglia, a 6’5” right-hander, to take a step forward after throwing 23 2/3 innings last year with mixed results.
Juniors Matt Greenberg and Rob Parliament are in line to take over starting jobs for the first time, and based on Brick’s success over the past several years transitioning bench and junior varsity players into varsity starters, both should hold up well this season. The offense should come along, the defense will be improved with Sclafani in the mix, but the Green Dragons will need the pitching to come back this year in order to stay in the division race.