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Baseball – Players of the Week, May 16 to May 22

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Player of the Week

Nick Massa, Sr., P/INF, Red Bank

In most year’s pitching a no-hitter during the week is enough to earn someone a Pitcher of the Week honor, but this is no normal year. Nick Massa pitched one of two no-hitters by Shore pitchers this week and the other was a perfect game in a Shore Conference Tournament game.

Fortunately for Massa, he did much more than no-hit Holmdel last Tuesday at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood. He struck out a career-high 14 in that 5-1 Red Bank win and also went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. That all-around effort kicked off a big offensive week for Massa, who also hit a game-winning, walkoff single in a 3-2 win over Keyport later in the week. In total, Massa went 9-for-15 with four RBI in four games last week.

Massa and Red Bank’s season ended Monday with the senior ace pitching six strong innings with eight strikeouts in a 4-1 loss at top-seeded Steinert in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III opening round.

Pitcher of the Week

Dan Chiusano, Jr., Freehold Boro

In a Shore Conference season inundated with no-hitters, Dan Chiusano managed to distinguish himself from a rather distinguished pack. In Wednesday’s Shore Conference Tournament opening-round win over Manasquan, he junior left-hander pitched the first Shore Conference perfect game in five years in a 3-0 Colonials win.

Chiusano needed only 66 pitches to complete the perfect game and he struck out four Warriors hitters – including Tommy Sheehan to end the game.

Dan Chiusano pitched a perfect game Wednesday against Manasquan in the SCT. (Photo by Matt Manley)
Dan Chiusano pitched a perfect game Wednesday against Manasquan in the SCT. (Photo by Matt Manley)

A North

Player of the Week

Tom Holdorf, Jr., 1B/P, Freehold Boro

It’s a clean sweep for the Colonials in A North thanks to two standout SCT performances. Holdorf knocked in a run in Chiusano’s perfect game, then hit and pitched the Colonials to an upset of third-seeded Toms River North in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Holdorf was 2-for-4 in that win with four RBI and also threw four shutout innings of relief to earn the win. In addition to the SCT performance, Holdorf also went 3-for-4 with a double, triple, four runs scored and two RBI in a 7-6 regular-season win over Wall.

Pitcher of the Week

Dan Chiusano, Jr., Freehold Boro

 

A Central

Player of the Week

Michael O’Halloran, Sr., SS, Shore

The Blue Devils senior shortstop raked at an 8-for-13 clip over four games this week, including a 3-for-3 performance in a win over a 20-win Point Boro team Sunday at FirstEnergy Park. O’Halloran also doubled and scored two runs in that game and scored five runs over the course of the week.

Pitcher of the Week

Noah Eggenschwiler, Jr., Monmouth

The junior hurler helped the Falcons cap their Class A Central regular season by pitching shutout ball fr the first six innings of a 5-2 win over St. John Vianney last Tuesday. Eggenschwiler ended up allowing one run on six hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings while striking out six.

 

A South

Player of the Week

T.J. Scuderi, So., RF/P, Toms River South

The Indians enjoyed another solid week thanks to a litany of contributors. Scuderi did his part by going 5-for-11 with two doubles and a triple at the plate and beginning the week with five shutout innings of two-hit ball in a regular-season win over St. John Vianney. Scuderi also went 3-for-3 with two doubles in that game, added an RBI triple in an SCT win over Keyport and accounted for one of the four hits Toms River South managed against Toms River North sophomore Brendan Mullins in the OCT final.

Pitcher of the Week

Brendan Mullins, So., Toms River North

The sophomore right-hander came up big for the Mariners in Thursday’s Ocean County Tournament championship game, tossing seven shutout innings to pick up the win as the Mariners captured their second county title in the last four years. Mullins allowed four hits and one walk while striking out only one. His team scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning and Anthony Sasso retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning to nail down Mullins’s fifth win of the season (5-0).

Toms River North sophomore Brendan Mullins pitched the Mariners to an OCT title. Photo by Matt Manley)
Toms River North sophomore Brendan Mullins pitched the Mariners to an OCT title. (Photo by Matt Manley)

B North

Player of the Week

Nick Massa, Sr., P/INF, Red Bank

Pitcher of the Week

Jake Talarico, Sr., Ocean

Manchester rolled into Oakhurst on a five-game winning streak and left befuddled by Talarico. The senior right-hander pitched six shutout innings against the streaking Hawks in the openin round of the SCT on Wednesday, allowing only three hits and a walk while striking out five. Talarico also added a sacrifice fly to help his cause in the 5-0 Spartans win.

 

B Central

Player of the Week

Joe Volpe, Jr., SS, St. Rose

The Purple Roses orchestrated two of the more memorable comebacks of the season on consecutive days and Volpe was at the heart of both. He hit a two-out, game-tying double during a five-run rally in the top of the seventh as St. Rose stunned Point Boro on May 16, then hit a walk-off three-run homer the next day in a 10-8 win over Ocean in eight innings. Volpe delivered an RBI single during a six-run seventh inning that helped erase a 6-0 deficit heading into the inning and his three-run blast wiped out an 8-7 deficit that was 8-6 to start the inning.

Pitcher of the Week

Kevin Donnelly, So., Point Beach

Despite losing the game, Donnelly performed admirably against one of the Shore’s more formidable lineups Wednesday when he limited Red Bank Catholic to two earned runs on five hits over six innings of work.

 

B South

Player of the Week

Mike Falconetti, Sr., 1B/P, Point Boro

Despite losing two games last week, the Panthers still got plenty of offense, including from Falconetti. In four games, Falconetti went 8-for-16 with a double, triple, three runs and five RBI and was instrumental in helping the Panthers rally from a 6-2 deficit Friday in the SCT round of 16. He went 3-for-5 with a late RBI triple and also pitched four innings to help keep the Panthers in the game. In total, Falconetti gave up three unearned runs on three hits over six innings this week, with five strikeouts and one walk.

Pitcher of the Week

Jason Groome, Sr., Barnegat

Groome took a loss against state power Gloucester Catholic on May 16 but it was hardly a losing effort. The left-hander and top MLB Draft Prospect allowed just one ball out of the infield during six two-hit innings and struck out 14 while walking two. Groome struck out the final eight Rams hitters to come to the plate and was an unearned run from pitching the Bengals into the late innings with a chance to win the game.

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