Baseball – 2014 Preview: Toms River South
Toms River South Indians
Head Coach: Ken Frank, 36th season
Record Last Year: 18-9 (9-5, second in A South)
|Returning Starters||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Russell Messler||Sr.||OF/P||.500/.606/.932, 7 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 39 R, 20 RBI, 22 SB|
|Ryan Shiffer||Jr.||C||.341/.438/.402, 5 2B, 18 RBI|
|Spencer Kapp||Sr.||OF/1B||.320/.370/.360, 2 2B, 9 R, 7 RBI|
|Christian Campbell||Sr.||SS||.333/.430/.351, 1 2B, 12 R, 5 RBI, 6 SB|
|Returning Players||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Tyler Mellot||Jr.||P||24.1 IP, 21 H, 7 BB, 15 K, 1.44 ERA|
|Vinny Scrudato||Jr.||P||29 IP, 26 H, 16 BB, 2.17 ERA|
Key Losses: Dylan DiPolviere (3B), Ryan Sweeney (1B), Casey Cranmer (SS/P), Eric Fricks (P), Clayton Kapp (OF/DH), Kevin Fox (OF), Jon Puleo (2B)
Key Newcomers: Austin Gonella (Jr., INF), Anthony Carfora (Jr., P), Tyler Folger (Sr., P/1B), Chandler Thompson (Jr., P), Ray Liguori (Jr., 3B/P), Trevor Wagner (Soph., OF/INF/P), Tyler Wisnewski (So., C/P/INF), Mark DeBlasi (Sr., OF), Jake Ryan (Sr., OF), Jesse Polozzo (Sr., DH/P/1B), Corey Nase (Jr., C/DH), Chris Wolfe (Sr., OF/C), Paul Donini (Sr, P), Billy Kosh (Sr., INF/OF), Stephen Altman (Jr., OF), Sean Bellavance (Jr., OF/1B), Austin Byrnes (Jr., OF), Esteban Castro (Sr., INF), Michael Conover (So., OF), Joe Erbe (Sr., INF/OF), Connor Feeney (So., 1B/3B), Anthony Genchi (So., INF), Nick Scrudato (So., OF/INF), Brandon Vargas (Jr., C/P), Rich Thomas (So., INF), Ted Golubowski (So., OF), Kyle Hebrew (So., 1B/DH), Jesse Liguori (Jr., INF), Hunter Marchlewski (So., P/OF), Joe Meyers (Jr., OF), Devin Murray (So., C/INF), Bill Simione (So., OF/P), Nick Diaz (Jr., P), Santino Roma (So. OF), Javion Harris (So., P/OF), Tom Clarke (So., OF)
No matter how much talent Toms River South might lose, the Indians always reload and find a way to stay in the Class A South hunt. This year, the Indians return their best player, an impressive junior catcher and two junior right-handers who emerged as reliable starters as sophomores last year. One could make the argument that this year’s collection of talent exceeds that of last year, when the Indians finished in second place behind undefeated Jackson Memorial and ahead of SCT champion Toms River North and NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV runner-up Brick Memorial.
All three first team All-Shore outfielders from a year ago are back with their respective teams and with all due respect to Evan Pietronico of St. John Vianney and Kyle Cala of Brick Memorial, Indians senior Russell Messler was the best of the bunch. Considering the division in which he plays, it’s probably safe to say Messler is the best offensive player in the Shore Conference. The Rutgers recruit is coming off his second straight season in which he hit .500 and in 2013, Messler slugged .932 with seven doubles, two triples and six home runs. He also scored 39 runs and drove in 20 out of the leadoff spot in the order.
The Indians also bring back junior catcher Ryan Shiffer coming off a strong varsity debut, as well as seniors Spencer Kapp and Christian Campbell, who moves from second base to shortstop this season. On the mound, juniors Tyler Mellot and Vinny Scrudato pitched some big games for the Indians, with Mellot beating Toms River North and Scrudato shutting out Brick Memorial. Fellow juniors Anthony Carfora, Tyler Fogler and Chandler Thompson will also have a chance to compete for innings. Juniors Austin Gonella and Ray Ligouri are lined up for time in the infield, while sophomores Trevor Wagner and Tyler Wisnewski could find their way into the lineup.
Toms River South has accomplished much more than fourth place in the division with a lot less than what it has this year, but it all comes down to what happens with the other teams in the division. Then again, if the Indians hit it big with some of the new starters, it might not matter what the opposition does.