Baseball – 2014 Preview: Pinelands
Head Coach: Robert Sanzari, second season
Record Last Year: 6-19 (4-10, seventh in B South)
|Returning Starters||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Bailey Taylor||Sr.||CF||.297, 19 H, 12 R|
|Cory Burke||Sr.||1B/P||.250, 8 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI||4.40 ERA, 1-2|
|Vinny Bondinello||Sr.||C||.278, 6 2B|
|R.J. Rodriguez||Jr.||OF||.250, 4 2B, 1 3B|
|Mitch Merrill||Jr.||SS||(2012 Stats) .338, .394 OBP|
|Chad Astemborski||Jr.||P||1.62 ERA, 2-5|
|Returning Players||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Tyler Carney||Sr.||P||3.93 ERA 0-3|
|Thomas McAndrew||Sr.||P/OF||3.82 ERA|
|David DeFeo||Jr.||DH||.160 Avg|
Key Losses: John Arch (P/3B), Anthony Blasco (P/OF), Dan Disbrow (C/INF), Joey Lunn (P/3B); Erik Schilling (INF), Jack Beykirch (OF), Tom Lamberson (P/INF)
Key Newcomers: Dan Rutherford (Sr., P), Todd Astemborski (Sr., OF), Sean Robinson (Sr., OF), Brad O’Brien (So., C), Darien Martinez (So., P/IF), Jared Miller (So. P)
Pinelands had a few shining moments within the division schedule last year and the Wildcats did it with some young talent in key positions, which will serve them well this season. The Wildcats scored division wins over Manchester, Barnegat and Point Boro, as well as one over Lakewood. That should give the Pinelands returning core confidence going up against some of the teams that finished ahead of them in the standings, even if the top of those standings are still far away.
In addition to five returning starters from last year’s team, Pinelands also welcomes back junior shortstop Mitch Merrill, who missed all of last season due to injury. Merrill started as a freshman and hit .338 with a .394 on-base percentage. Merrill’s return will help boost the lineup along with center fielder Bailey Taylor, first baseman Cory Burke, catcher Vinny Bondinello and outfielder R.J. Rodriguez. With a nice mix of returning talent, the Wildcats could end up with one of the four best lineups in the division this season if everything breaks right.
While the bats should improve, any success in the pitching department could mean a surprise season for Pinelands. Although that is way easier said than done, the team at least returns some experience on the hill that could make a difference if the offense breaks out. Junior Chad Astemborski pitched well despite a 2-5 record, posting a 1.62 ERA while emerging as the team’s top pitcher. Burke and seniors Tyler Carney and Thomas McAndrew also pitched some innings for Pinelands and will pitch some more this year. With a little bit of magic on the mound, the Wildcats will surpass these expectations and could take advantage of the rebuilding jobs at Monsignor Donovan and Point Boro.