Baseball – 2014 Preview: Jackson Memorial
Jackson Memorial Jaguars
Head Coach: Frank Malta, 10th season
Record Last Year: 23-5 (14-0, first place in Class A South)
|Returning Starters||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Matt Guarino||Sr.||1B/P||.411/.468/.621, 9 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 20 R, 31 RBI||27.2 IP, 29 H, 9 BB, 13 K, 2.28 ERA, 3-1|
|Mike Petrizzo||Sr.||OF||.345/.419/.473, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 R, 14 RBI|
|Kyle Johnson||So.||3B/2B||.355/.430/.382, 2 2B, 27 R, 10 RBI, 15 SB|
|Brandon Janofsky||Jr.||SS/P||.250/.341/.276, 2 2B, 13 R, 8 RBI, 6 SB|
|Joe DeMaio||Jr.||OF||.295/.396/.295, 11 R, 12 RBI, 5 SB|
|Returning Players||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Nick Babin||Sr.||C||2-for-5, 1 HR|
|Rick Aviles||Sr.||P||6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 4.42 ERA|
Key Losses: Matt Thaiss (C), Spencer Young (SS/P), Ed Guippone (OF), Brian Delesky (OF/P), Anthony Rocco (P), Chris Gehrsitz (P), Jake Harlinski (P)
Key Newcomers: Matt Walters (Jr., P), Ryan Takacs (Jr., P), Chris Hawryluk (So., P/1B), Erik Beal (Sr., 1B), John Carello (Jr., INF), Nick Rocco (Jr., C), Ahmed Elessawi (Sr., INF), Rich Rountree (Jr., OF), Jason Iadisernia (Sr.,P)
The Jaguars took their biggest hit in graduation at the three most important positions on the field – starting pitcher, catcher and shortstop – and yet, here they are in the projected top spot in Class A South heading into 2014. Although Jackson Memorial will have to overcome some key losses at those spots, the Jaguars return starters at every other position while also reloading with talent, as they have routinely done over the last decade.
Senior Matt Guarino leads a strong group of returning starters after a first-team All-Shore season at the plate. While Jackson graduated top starters Chris Gehrsitz and Anthony Rocco, Guarino returns after pitching to a 2.28 ERA in 27 2/3 innings last year. Junior Brandon Janofsky will look to do what Guarino did last year and become a two-way player while also breaking out at the plate. Guarino bounced back after hitting under .200 as a sophomore and Janofsky is out to improve on his .250 average and .276 slugging percentage while giving the Jaguars some innings when needed. Most importantly, Janofsky will be taking over at shortstop for Spencer Young after flashing a very good glove at second base.
Sophomore Kyle Johnson also returns at third base after posting one of the more impressive freshman seasons in the Shore Conference last year (.355, 2 doubles, 27 runs scored). The Jaguars also welcome back two starting outfielders in Joe DeMaio and Mike Petrizzo, as well as senior Nick Dabrio, who missed nearly all of 2013 with a back injury after playing a significant amount as a sophomore. While the Jaguars look set in the infield and outfield, they have a huge hole to fill at catcher, where Matt Thaiss held down the position for two years before becoming a 32nd round pick of the Boston Red Sox and heading to the University of Virginia. Senior Nick Babin will help take on the task of replacing Thaiss after going 2-for-5 with a home run in a small dose of playing time.
Junior right-hander Ryan Takacs and sophomore left-hander Chris Hawryluk will join the rotation this year and should be able to pound the strike zone while allowing a strong defense to work for them. That has been the formula at Jackson Memorial in recent years and it helped the Jaguars go 14-0 in the division last year despite an entirely new pitching staff. With some more new blood on the mound and a lot of talent remaining in the field, the Jaguars will overcome the loss of Thaiss and pace the A South field again.