The baseball season at the Shore is humming along and there is plenty we already know: All the division championships are settled, the Monmouth County champion has been crowned and the Ocean County Tournament is down to four teams.

There are still, however, two whole tournaments to go and the Shore Conference Tournament is next up on the agenda. The Shore Conference Rules Committee voted to move the seeding meeting from Sunday to Monday and allow teams to reach the .500 mark by that same day in order to qualify. Despite the new cutoff date, teams that are already .500 going into a game on Monday will still be eligible for the tournament, even if they lose.

With all that out of the way, there are 30 teams still alive for an SCT berth heading into Thursday’s action and 20 teams that are locked into a spot. The SCT in baseball is unique because there are already two local tournaments that have basically been completed before the conference tournament starts and that is another way to evaluate the teams. That could be especially pertinent this year because the Monmouth County champion is a team that finished fifth in its division and there are multiple teams alive in the Ocean County Tournament that are not division champs.

On top of the county tournaments, there is a lot more to chew on this year than most years, although the No. 1 seed appears to be a straightforward decision at the moment. Nos. 2 and 3 also look pretty safe as well, so the debate will truly begin at No. 4 and last all the way to the mid-20’s.

Just as in past years, here is an early attempt to sort through the madness and project where the teams will end up when the seeding is announced. Check back throughout the next several days for updated projections.

 

1. Toms River South (16-2, 12-1)

Division Wins: Brick Memorial (2), Central (2), Southern (2), Toms River East (2), Toms River North (2), Brick, Jackson Memorial
Division Losses: At Jackson Memorial, Jackson Liberty
Non-Division Wins: Barnegat, Bayonne, Toms River East (OCT), Central (OCT)
Non-Division Losses: None
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Brick
Why They’re Here: The No. 1 seed wasn’t worth discussing until Friday night, when Jackson Liberty knocked off Toms River South. Given the Indians did not throw one of its top pitchers in the loss, the spot is still best-suited for Toms River South, but Monmouth and Wall can at least put together a reasonable case.

2. Monmouth (15-4, 11-3)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Middletown North (2), Middletown South (2), Ocean (2), Manasquan, Red Bank Catholic, at Wall
Division Losses: At Manasquan, at Red Bank Catholic, Wall
Non-Division Wins: Neptune, Academy Charter, at Holmdel, Middletown North (MCT)
Non-Division Losses: Ocean (MCT)
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Lacey
Why They’re Here: The Falcons are the outright champions of the Shore’s toughest division and own at least one win against every team in B North, which more than makes up for a mediocre non-divisional resume.

3. Wall (15-5, 10-4)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Manasquan (2), Ocean (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), Middletown North, at Monmouth
Division Losses: Middletown South (2), at Middletown North, Monmouth
Non-Division Wins: Pinelands, Freehold Boro, Jackson Liberty, Manalapan (MCT), At Matawan
Non-Division Losses: At Red Bank Catholic (MCT)
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Howell
Why They’re Here: Although Wall did not win the B North title, the Crimson Knights can mount the best challenge to Toms River South for the No. 1 seed. All of their losses are to teams that should be either in or right around the top 10, while Toms River South has a loss to a team outside the tournament. On top of that, Wall is 5-1 outside of B North and all six games are against teams that are either in the tournament or still alive (Pinelands).

4. Red Bank Catholic (14-7, 7-7)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Middletown South (2), Ocean (2), Monmouth
Division Losses: Manasquan (2), Middletown North (2), Wall (2), at Monmouth
Non-Division Wins: Manalapan, Delbarton, Colts Neck (MCT), Wall (MCT), Ocean (MCT), Freehold Boro (MCT), Red Bank
Non-Division Losses: None
Before the Cutoff: At Colts Neck
Why They’re Here: The Caseys finished fifth in B North, but get a big boost from winning the Monmouth County Tournament. Manasquan’s woes outside the division and Middletown North’s inferior non-divisional resume are enough to give the RBC the overall edge against two teams that finished ahead of the Caseys in B North and also beat them twice.

5. Freehold Boro (14-7, 10-4)

Division Wins: Colts Neck (2), Howell (2), Marlboro (2), Neptune (2), at Freehold Twp., Manalapan
Division Losses: CBA (2), Freehold Twp., at Manalapan
Non-Division Wins: Shore, Manasquan (MCT), at St. Rose (MCT), at CBA (MCT)
Non-Division Losses: At Wall, Red Bank Catholic (MCT), at Middletown South
Before the Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: The A North champs are a projected top-five team, but the Colonials are not a lock to stay in that spot. Freehold Boro is 1-3 against teams from Class B North and the win was against Manasquan when the Warriors threw their No. 4 starter. Losses to Wall, RBC and Middletown South give Middletown North and Toms River North a case to be higher than Freehold Boro, depending on what happens on Monday.

6. Toms River North (13-5, 9-5)

Division Wins: Brick Memorial (2), Central (2), Jackson Memorial (2), Toms River East (2), at Brick
Division Losses: Southern (2), Toms River South (2), Brick
Non-Division Wins: Middletown North, Donovan Catholic (OCT), Barnegat (OCT), St. John Vianney
Non-Division Losses: None
Before the Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Although Toms River North lost to Southern twice, the Mariners finished with a better record in A South and also own a convincing win over a Middletown North team that has had a good season in B North. If Brick beats Toms River South Monday, Toms River North would finish third in the division, but accounting for all common opponents, the two teams have the same record.

7. Manasquan (10-9, 9-5)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Middletown North (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), Middletown South, Monmouth, Ocean
Division Losses: Wall (2), at Middletown South, at Monmouth, at Ocean
Non-Division Wins: Holmdel (MCT)
Non-Division Losses: St. Rose, at Howell, at Freehold Boro (MCT), at Rumson-Fair Haven
Before the Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: A loss to Rumson buries the Warriors’ chance to be a top-five seed. While Manasquan was impressive in B North play, the Warriors are just 1-4 outside of it while no other B North team is worse than 5-3 against non-B North teams.

8. Middletown North (11-8, 8-6)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Middletown South (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), Ocean, Wall
Division Losses: Manasquan (2), Monmouth (2), at Ocean, at Wall
Non-Division Wins: At Manchester, Red Bank (MCT), at Donovan Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Toms River North, at Monmouth (MCT)
Before the Cutoff: Vs. CBA
Why They’re Here: With two wins over Red Bank Catholic, a win over Wall and a fourth-place finish in B North, the Lions have done enough to cement a spot in the top 10 and if they can beat CBA on Monday, a top-eight seed or better should be in order.

9. Middletown South (11-8, 7-7)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Ocean (2), Wall (2), Manasquan
Division Losses: Middletown North (2), Monmouth (2), Red Bank Catholic, at Manasquan
Non-Division Wins: At Raritan, Colts Neck, at Jackson Memorial, Freehold Boro
Non-Division Losses: Howell (MCT)
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Freehold Twp.
Why They’re Here: Middletown South’s best wins put the Eagles in the conversation for a top 10 spot, but a lopsided loss to Howell and a record around .500 might warrant some pause. Still, .500 in B North this year is an accomplishment and wins over division champs Raritan and Freehold Boro more than make up for the downside.

10. Southern (12-6, 8-6)

Division Wins: Brick Memorial (2), Toms River East (2), Toms River North (2), at Brick, Jackson Memorial
Division Losses: Central (2), Toms River South (2), Brick, at Jackson Memorial
Non-Division Wins: Cedar Creek, Brick Memorial (OCT), Jackson Liberty (OCT), at Barnegat
Non-Division Losses: None
Before the Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Two losses to Central takes the air out of Southern’s case for a top-eight seed, but the Rams are very much alive for a top-10 seed considering they have won nine of 11 and now have a three-man pitching staff that is healthy and clicking.

11. Lacey (17-3, 12-2)

Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Donovan Catholic (2), Lakewood (2), Manchester (2), Point Boro (2), at Jackson Liberty, at Pinelands
Division Losses: Jackson Liberty, Pinelands
Non-Division Wins: Brick, Point Beach, at Central, at Toms River East, Point Beach (OCT)
Non-Division Losses: Manchester (OCT)
Before the Cutoff: At Monmouth
Why They’re Here: The Lions have lost to the three teams right behind them in the B South standings: Jackson Liberty, Manchester and Pinelands. An opening-day win over Brick is the strongest win on the resume, but Monday brings a chance to beat a top-three team in the field. If the Lions can do that, they should easily jump back into the top 10, maybe even the top five.

12. St. Rose (17-2, 13-0)

Division Wins: Henry Hudson (2), Keansburg (2), Keyport (2), Mater Dei (2), Point Beach (2), Ranney (2), Asbury Park
Division Losses: None
Non-Division Wins: Manasquan, Rumson-Fair Haven, Marlboro (MCT), Donovan Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Freehold Boro (MCT), at Marlboro
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Asbury Park
Why They’re Here: Thursday’s loss to Marlboro knocks St. Rose out of the top 10. Since beating Marlboro, 11-0, the Purple Roses have struggled to score against non-B Central teams and they haven’t been able to win those games without Brandon Mology on the mound. With CBA, losing to Marlboro twice, however, St. Rose can still stay ahead of the Colts.

13. Christian Brothers Academy (14-6, 9-5)

Division Wins: Freehold Boro (2), Howell (2), Manalapan (2), Neptune (2), Freehold Twp.
Division Losses: Colts Neck (2), Marlboro (2), at Freehold Twp.
Non-Division Wins: At Point Boro, Brick Memorial, Westfield, Matawan (MCT), Howell (MCT)
Non-Division Losses: Freehold Boro (MCT)
Before the Cutoff: At Middletown North
Why They’re Here: The best part of CBA’s season was the first couple of weeks, but the Colts picked up big wins over Freehold Township and Howell this week to move back into second place in A North. A win over Middletown North and a Lacey loss on Monday should pretty much guarantee CBA a top-10 seed.

14. Jackson Liberty (13-7, 10-4)

Division Wins: Lakewood (2), Point Boro (2), Pinelands (2), at Barnegat, at Donovan Catholic, at Lacey, Manchester
Division Losses: Barnegat, Donovan Catholic, Lacey, at Manchester
Non-Division Wins: At Jackson Memorial, Point Boro (OCT), at Toms River South
Non-Division Losses: At Wall, at Central, at Southern (OCT)
Before the Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Jackson Liberty responded to an ugly loss to Southern in the OCT by taking out the No. 1 team at the Shore Friday when the Lions beat Toms River South at Ken Frank Stadium. They didn’t face one of the Indians’ top starters and they also threw ace Matt Pickus to get it done, but they should be rewarded for going after the Shore’s best team and getting the job done. If Lacey can beat Monmouth on Monday, Jackson Liberty should also benefit by climbing a couple more spots or so.

15. Raritan (14-4, 10-2)

Division Wins: Holmdel (2), Red Bank (2), Rumson-Fair Haven (2), St. John Vianney (2), Matawan, at Shore
Division Losses: At Matawan, Shore (forfeit)
Non-Division Wins: At Mater Dei, at Donovan Catholic, Mater Dei (MCT), Keyport
Non-Division Losses: Middletown South, at Ocean (MCT)
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Manchester
Why They’re Here: Despite winning A Central, the Rockets might have to scratch and claw to get a home game because as of right now, their only two wins over teams in the field are one against Matawan and two against Mater Dei, although Red Bank looks poised to qualify as well.

16. Brick (12-6, 9-4)

Division Wins: Brick Memorial (2), Central (2), Toms River East (2), at Jackson Memorial, at Southern, at Toms River North
Division Losses: Jackson Memorial, Southern, Toms River North, at Toms River South
Non-Division Wins: Buckeye Valley (Oh.), Lakeshore (N.Y.), Herndon (Va.)
Non-Division Losses: At Lacey, Barnegat (OCT)
Before the Cutoff: At Toms River South
Why They’re Here: With Wednesday’s win over Toms River North, Brick should be back in the mix for a home game and fly up the rankings if the Green Dragons can beat Toms River South on Monday.

17. Manalapan (14-8, 8-6)

Division Wins: Colts Neck (2), Howell (2), Freehold Boro, at Freehold Twp., Marlboro, at Neptune
Division Losses: CBA (2), at Freehold Boro, Freehold Twp., at Marlboro, Neptune
Non-Division Wins: Kenston (Oh.), St. Joseph by the Sea (N.Y.), Granby (Va.), Wakefield (Va.), Long Branch (MCT), At Memorial-West New York
Non-Division Losses: At Red Bank Catholic, at Wall (MCT)
Before the Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: The Braves have been streakier than any team in the conference. They won 11 straight to get to 12-2, then lost six in a row before finally getting back on track with two straight wins over Colts Neck and Memorial-West New York. All-in-all, the resume is solid and they trail only Toms River South and Wall in power points, if you are swayed by such things.

18. Colts Neck (11-9, 7-7)

Division Wins: CBA (2), Neptune (2), Freehold Twp., Howell, Marlboro
Division Losses: Freehold Boro (2), Manalapan (2), at Freehold Twp., at Howell, at Marlboro
Non-Division Wins: Matawan, St. John Vianney (MCT), at Jackson Memorial, Holmdel
Non-Division Losses: At Middletown South, at Red Bank Catholic (MCT)
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Red Bank Catholic
Why They’re Here: Two wins over CBA might give Colts Neck an argument to be several spots higher. As it is, beating Matawan and splitting with Freehold Township slot the Cougars comfortably in the top 20 with a chance to climb by beating RBC on cutoff day.

19. Matawan (10-8, 8-4)

Division Wins: Red Bank (2), Shore (2), at Holmdel, at St. John Vianney, at Rumson-Fair Haven, Raritan
Division Losses: Holmdel, St. John Vianney, Rumson-Fair Haven, at Raritan
Non-Division Wins: At Lakewood, Freehold Twp. (MCT)
Non-Division Losses: Colts Neck, Long Branch, at CBA (MCT), Wall
Before the Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Matawan has four losses to teams that won’t be in the field, but a Monmouth County Tournament win over Freehold Township keeps the Huskies in the top 20.

20. Manchester (11-8, 8-6)

Division Wins: Donovan Catholic (2), Lakewood (2), Barnegat, Jackson Liberty, at Pinelands, at Point Boro
Division Losses: Lacey (2), at Barnegat, at Jackson Liberty, Pinelands, Point Boro
Non-Division Wins: At Pinelands (OCT), at Lacey (OCT), Toms River East
Non-Division Losses: At Red Bank, Middletown North
Before the Cutoff: At Raritan
Why They’re Here: Manchester has noteworthy wins over Lacey and Jackson Liberty, but lopsided losses to Red Bank and Middletown North hurt the Hawks’ case, as well as the case of the rest of B South. A win over A Central champion Raritan on Monday would help both Manchester and the rest of its division, but the Hawks most certainly have their sights set on Tuesday’s Ocean County semifinals against Southern.

21. Freehold Twp. (9-9, 8-6)

Division Wins: Neptune (2), CBA, Colts Neck, at Freehold Boro, at Howell, at Manalapan, Marlboro
Division Losses: At CBA, at Colts Neck, Freehold Boro, Howell, Manalapan, at Marlboro
Non-Division Wins: New Egypt
Non-Division Losses: Brick Memorial, at Matawan (MCT), at Watchung Hills
Before the Cutoff: At Middletown South
Why They’re Here: The Patriots beat every team in A North at least once, but losing to Brick Memorial and Matawan hurts their case to be higher. Although Freehold Township is a game better than Colts Neck in the A North standings, the two teams have the same record against common opponents when Matawan is factored in. A win over Middletown South on Monday, however, could change the narrative.

22. Marlboro (11-10, 6-8)

Division Wins: CBA (2), Colts Neck, Freehold Twp., at Howell, Manalapan
Division Losses: Freehold Boro (2), Neptune (2), at Colts Neck, at Freehold Twp., Howell, at Manalapan
Non-Division Wins: Fairfax (Va.), Canisius (N.Y.), Hudson Catholic, Shore (MCT), St. Rose
Non-Division Losses: John Champe (Va.), at St. Rose (MCT)
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Brick Memorial
Why They’re Here: Beating St. Rose on Thursday gives Marlboro a top-20 case, especially considering the Mustangs also have a pair of wins over CBA and a 6-5 mark against teams in the tournament. With a 6-8 record in A North, however, they can’t jump Freehold Township or Colts Neck, so they will need those two to pick up big non-divisional wins on Monday in order to make a leap of their own.

23. Point Pleasant Beach (10-8, 10-4)

Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Henry Hudson (2), Keansburg (2), Mater Dei (2), Ranney (2)
Division Losses: Keyport (2), St. Rose (2)
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: Lacey, Brick Memorial, at Lacey (OCT), at Point Boro
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Lakewood
Why They’re Here: Point Beach doesn’t have a non-divisional win on its resume and beating Lakewood on Monday won’t move the needle With Mater Dei qualified and two games behind Point Beach in the standings, the Garnet Gulls are guaranteed to stay away from the last seed.

24. Mater Dei Prep (8-8, 8-6)

Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Keyport (2), Ranney (2), at Henry Hudson, Keansburg
Division Losses: Point Beach (2), St. Rose (2), Henry Hudson, at Keansburg
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: Raritan, at Raritan (MCT)
Before the Cutoff: At Pinelands
Why They’re Here: Mater Dei is the one team that can qualify for the SCT with a record below .500 because the Seraphs reached the .500 mark by the original cutoff date and won’t be penalized if they drop a game during the extension period. If Mater Dei can knock Pinelands out of the field on Monday, they probably help B Central’s case more than its own since Point Beach beat the Seraphs twice.

 

Still Alive

Pinelands (8-9, 8-6)

Division Wins: Lakewood (2), Point Boro (2), Barnegat, Donovan Catholic, at Lacey, at Manchester
Division Losses: Jackson Liberty (2), at Barnegat, at Donovan Catholic, Lacey, Manchester
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: At Wall, Oakcrest, Manchester (OCT)
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Mater Dei Prep
Chances to Qualify: Very good. Extending the cutoff the Monday means Pinelands will have to beat Mater Dei Prep at home to qualify. The Seraphs are 0-2 in their only two games outside of B Central with two losses to Raritan. Should Pinelands get in, the Wildcats are likely to be the No. 23 seed.

Central (8-9, 6-7)

Division Wins: Southern (2), Toms River East (2), Brick Memorial, at Jackson Memorial
Division Losses: Brick (2), Toms River North (2), Toms River South (2), Jackson Memorial
Non-Division Wins: Jackson Liberty, at Jackson Memorial (OCT)
Non-Division Losses: Lacey, at Toms River South (OCT)
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Point Boro
Chances to Qualify: 50-50. Central and Point Boro will meet Monday to determine which team will get a spot in the SCT. Central has been the more consistent team this year, but Point Boro has improved over the course of the season with an inexperienced roster. With two wins over Southern and one over Jackson Liberty, Central would likely slot into the 17-to-20 range.

Point Pleasant Boro (9-10, 6-8)

Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Lakewood (2), Donovan Catholic, at Manchester
Division Losses: Jackson Liberty (2), Lacey (2), Pinelands (2), at Donovan Catholic, Manchester
Non-Division Wins: Rumson-Fair Haven, Shore, Point Beach
Non-Division Losses: CBA, at Jackson Liberty (OCT)
Before the Cutoff: At Central
Chances to Qualify: 50-50. The Panthers started the season 1-6 and have recovered to reach the doorstep of the SCT field. Central will be a tough-but-winnable game for the Panthers, which is the perfect game for a team to play with the tournament on the line. Point Boro has a great shot, but they will have to earn it.

Red Bank (8-9, 5-7)

Division Wins: Shore (2), Holmdel, at Rumson-Fair Haven, St. John Vianney
Division Losses: Matawan (2), Raritan (2), at Holmdel, Rumson-Fair Haven, at St. John Vianney
Non-Division Wins: Manchester, Neptune, at Ocean
Non-Division Losses: At Middletown North (MCT), at Red Bank Catholic
Before the Cutoff: At Union
Chances to Qualify: Fair. Monday’s game at Union is not a gimme, but it is one the Bucs can manage if they continue to pitch the way they have and come up with big hits like the ones they’ve delivered over the last two weeks. Despite a convincing win over Manchester and nice wins over Neptune and Ocean, three losses to non-tournament teams and a 1-6 record vs. teams in the field probably relegates the Bucs to 23 or 24, should they qualify.

Henry Hudson (8-9, 7-7)

Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Ranney (2), Keansburg, Keyport, at Mater Dei
Division Losses: Point Beach (2), St. Rose (2), at Keansburg, at Keyport, Mater Dei
Non-Division Wins: Calvary Academy
Non-Division Losses: At South River, at Calvary Christian
Before the Cutoff: At Bound Brook
Chances to Qualify: Good. As long as Bound Brook’s field is playable on Monday, the Admirals will have a shot to qualify against a Crusaders team that sports a record of 4-13. If Henry Hudson can get the job done and qualify, it would be a great accomplishment for a program that hasn’t had this kind of success since it reached a sectional final in 2010.

 

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