Baseball – 2014 Preview: Freehold Twp.
Freehold Township Patriots
Head Coach: Todd Smith, fifth season
Record Last Year: 13-12 (4-10, seventh place in A North)
|Returning Starters||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Nick Cardace||Sr.||1B||.413, 7 2B, 2 HR, 20 RBI|
|Chris Talbott||Sr.||3B/P||.338, 2 3B, 2 HR, 20 R, 16 RBI, 10 SB|
|Mike Alexander||Sr.||SS||5 2B, 2 HR, 14 R, 7 SB|
|Joe Ellerman||Sr.||P/2B||30.1 IP, 1.38 ERA, 5-1|
|Steve Derby||Sr.||CF||19 H, 7 2B, 2 3B, 18 R, 10 RBI|
|Returning Players||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Joe Silvestrone||Jr.||C||.364, 8 SB|
|Joe Decelie||Sr.||P||18.1 IP, 1.91 ERA, 3-1|
Key Losses: Steve Ginter (P), Kevin Checkett (P), Matt Alimena (2B), Rob Roth (C), Kyle Goodman (OF)
Key Newcomers: Kenny Carrier (Sr., LF/P), Chris Rose (Sr., DH/P), Sam Goldsmith (Sr., 3B/P), Jose Diaz (Sr., P), Jaimin Shah (Sr., P), Kyle Fenton (Jr., OF/INF), Rob Eriksen (Jr., 2B), Kevin Gordon (Jr., C)
While Howell started strong and sputtered out, Freehold Township did the exact opposite last year by struggling through the division schedule and rolling to eight straight wins to end the season a game over .500. To pour a little cold water on that finish, many of those games were tune-ups for opponents that were playing in tournaments, but that also means Freehold Township was beating good teams, albeit in games that did not mean a whole lot.
The Patriots will try to go from the cellar to the penthouse in Class A North this season by building off that finish and riding a collection of talented senior returnees. Six seniors return to the lineup, led by first baseman Nick Cardace and third baseman Chris Talbott. Cardace hit .413 with seven doubles and two home runs while Talbott cracked two triples and two homers to go with 10 stolen bases. Shortstop Mike Alexander (five doubles and two homers), center fielder Steve Derby (seven doubles and two triples), right fielder Julius Saporito and second baseman Joe Ellerman round out the list of returning position players and junior catcher Joe Silvestrone also has some experience from last year, when he hit .364 and stole eight bases.
Talbott and Ellerman lead the starting rotation and Ellerman is coming off an especially strong junior year on the mound. The senior right-hander went 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA in 30 1/3 innings as a junior and will look to duplicate that performance over a full season. Joe Decelie also posted a sub-2.00 ERA in 18 1/3 innings last year and should see some more innings in his senior year. Freehold Township has made its living late in the season in recent years, winning the eight straight games to end last year and winning the Monmouth County Tournament in 2012, but with a talented, senior-heavy roster, the Patriots shouldn’t have to wait so long to find their groove.