Baseball – 2014 Preview: Toms River North
Toms River North Mariners
Head Coach: Andy Pagano, first season
Record Last Year: 20-7 (8-6, tied for third in A South)
|Returning Starters||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Julian Feliz||Sr.||3B||.272/.348/.284, 1 2B, 13 R, 17 RBI, 4 SB|
|Anthony Ferlise||Sr.||1B||.366/.409/.451, 7 2B, 17 R, 16 RBI|
|Joe LaCava||Sr.||2B||.167/.192/.167, 9 R, 5 RBI|
|Steve Slagmolen||Sr.||P||44.2 IP, 42 H, 17 BB, 50 K, 2.35 ERA, 4-2|
|Brett Hyers||Jr.||P||20.1 IP, 15 H, 4 BB, 17 K, 2-0|
|Returning Players||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Ryan Larsen||Jr.||P||4.1 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 1-0|
Key Losses: Karl Blum (P/1B), Ron Marinaccio (P/OF), Quintin Garvin (OF), Cory Cordasco (OF), Mike Miraglia (OF), Sal Smith (C), Jordan Silvestri (P/2B), Carmen Sclafani (SS) – Transferred to Brick
Key Newcomers: Joey Rose (So., SS/3B/P), Beau Wyckoff (Sr., OF), Jeff Ciervo (So., OF/P), Kevin Blum (Jr., OF/P), Doug Molnar (Jr., P), Jeff Venditto (Jr., OF/DH), Mike Tiplady (Jr., C), Owen Sulfrian (So., C)
The defending Shore Conference Tournament and Ocean County Tournament champions thrived during tournament time, which makes it easy to forget that they were rather ordinary during the Class A South regular season. Of course, playing in A South can make extraordinary teams look ordinary, and the reason Toms River North was only an 8-6 team in A South was because it didn’t play its best defense and it was more of a good offensive team than a great one. Once tournament time started, the defense tightened up and the pitching was lights out.
This year’s Mariners team could be a lot like last year’s, which is likely what first-year head coach Andy Pagano is hoping for. In addition to losing 20-year head coach Ted Schelmay to retirement, Toms River North also loses three top pitchers, a catcher, a double-play duo and an entire outfield. So how is it that the Mariners will find a way back into the Class A South race? More pitching, of course. Toms River North’s pitching was so good last year that senior Steve Slagmolen often flew under the radar and junior Brett Hyers lost his spot once he missed time with arm trouble. Slagmolen and Hyers return this year and will most likely be the best top-of-the-rotation duo in the division, and with two more promising arms behind them in juniors Ryan Larsen and Doug Molnar, the rotation is once again deep.
Toms River North has a lot of players to replace in the lineup, but no one player carried a large portion of the offensive load and the Mariners. Senior third baseman Julian Feliz and first baseman Anthony Ferlise are back in the starting lineup and senior Joey LaCava takes over at second base full time. Senior Beau Wyckoff leads a new group of outfielders, while sophomores Joey Rose and Jeff Ciervo will also figure into the lineup. Rose, set to be the starting shortstop, is a promising prospect who has already homered five times during the preseason.
The Mariners offense is inexperienced, but in time, the Toms River North bats could actually be better than they were last year. With the returning pitching depth the Mariners have, that sort of development would be bad news for the rest of the division.