Baseball – Shore Conference Top 10, 4/12/15
Eleven days have passed since opening day and there is already a new No. 1 team in the Shore Conference. Baseball is volatile like that over short periods, and that is reflected in this week’s top 10 compared to the preseason installment. It was also reflected in some of the results from the first 11 days, which included a Freehold Boro team that was 0-3 in Class A North play beating No. 1 CBA, 10-0, in six innings.
The weather threw a wrench into the middle of last week, and while there is a decent helping of results to consider, there is plenty of baseball to be played.
1. Toms River North (4-1, 4-0) Last Week: 3
The Mariners have come out swinging in 2015, which is no surprise considering their deep lineup. In five games, Toms River North is averaging 8.4 runs per game and has faced the opposition’s No. 1 starter in four of them. A match-up with Toms River East Monday pits two good offenses against one another, and upstart Lacey awaits Friday, but it probably says something that the Mariners have already rolled through both Bricks, Jackson Memorial and Toms River South.
2. Colts Neck (5-0, 3-0) Last Week: 4
The Cougars are No. 1 in the Shore Conference in runs per game through the first week-and-a-half and although their competition does not quite match that of Toms River North to this point, they have been as dominant as one could expect a team to be. Matawan was the first real divisional challenge for Colts Neck and the Cougars rolled through the Huskies on Saturday, 13-0.
3. Christian Brothers Academy (5-1, 2-1) Last Week: 1
It is possible CBA suffered a letdown in taking its first loss of the season on Saturday against Freehold Boro, but a 10-0 loss to a Colonials team that had not yet won a division game is eye-opening. Although the loss is enough to drop the Colts from the No. 1 spot, it is not enough to make them plunge too far, especially given that they beat Marlboro just two days earlier.
4. Marlboro (5-1, 3-1) Last Week: 9
When it comes to pitching, not many teams have it to the degree that Marlboro does. Senior Andrew Nardi is an established All-Shore-caliber pitcher and now junior Jeremy Dyzenhaus is fast-developing his own sterling reputation after pitching seven shutout innings against CBA. Throw in St. Peter’s recruit Steve Epstein and the Mustangs have a deep staff to go with a lineup that has come through in late innings to date.
5. Toms River South (3-1, 3-1) Last Week: 7
The Indians have picked up three wins behind their offense and relief pitching, which has been led by Anthony Carfora and Ray Liguori. Both have also contributed at the plate, and senior right fielder Jake Ryan has started the season on fire, homering in each of the team’s last three games. Outside of a rough start in a loss to Toms River North, the Indians have been competitive at the very least and impressive at their best.
6. Red Bank Catholic (4-0, 3-0) Last Week: Not ranked
The Caseys were tested by Matawan and ace Adam Elliott in an opening-day win in extra innings and have since dominated inferior competition. The offense has certainly been there to this point, and this upcoming week will be a good test for a young pitching staff. The pace of the schedule starts to pick up with Wall on Monday and Toms River South on Saturday – both on the road.
7. Ocean (6-0, 1-0) Last Week: Not ranked
The Spartans have absolutely eviscerated the competition thus far, outscoring opponents 57-5 during a 6-0 start. Only two of those games, however, have come against teams from the Shore Conference due to a trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for spring break. One of those Shore Conference wins was a 7-0 victory over Monmouth, a team that has scored at least nine runs in each of its three other games.
8. Brick (4-1, 3-1) Last Week: Not ranked
Just about everything went wrong for Brick in a five-inning, 10-0 loss to Toms River North on Saturday, but that was the first hiccup of the season for the Green Dragons and it came after they had already played earlier in the day against Point Pleasant Boro. Saturday was a rare quiet offensive day for the Green Dragons, who scored 29 runs in their previous two games.
9. Pinelands (3-1, 2-0) Last Week: Not ranked
The Wildcats took their first loss of the season Saturday against a 4-1 Williamstown team, but that came after a very impressive start to the year. Pinelands beat Barnegat and ace Seamus Brazill to open the year and after an 11-0 win over Lakewood, the Wildcats beat Matawan – which turned around and beat Wall a few days later. There is a long way to go for Pinelands to mount a legitimate threat at a division title, but the talent on the team is legitimately good enough to do so.
10. Barnegat (2-2, 2-1) Last Week: 5
After being singled to death by Pinelands in a short opening-day outing, senior right-hander Seamus Brazill bounced back with a gem against Manchester to help get the Bengals ship steered in the right direction. Brazill and fellow senior John Corbett have both thrown the ball well early, which bodes well for a Barnegat team that should also come along offensively.
Jackson Memorial (1-4, 1-3) Last Week: 2 – The Jaguars have lost four games by a total of five runs and that is with two of their top pitchers – Brandon Janofsky and Chris Hawryluk – limited to hitting and playing the field because of arm trouble.
Wall (3-2, 2-1) Last Week: 6 – Wall also lost two one-run games to Matawan and St. Rose and its host of new starters still appear to be getting their feet wet as the Crimson Knights still play with a bull's-eye on their collective back.
Manasquan (1-2, 1-2) Last Week: 8 – After an 0-2 start that had the Warriors reeling, Tommy Sheehan and Jack Sheehan delivered a combined no-hitter against St. John Vianney and if the bats follow, the Warriors will make a top 10 push again.
Middletown South (1-4, 1-3) Last Week: 10 – Like Jackson Memorial, the Eagles have been on the wrong side of close games. Middletown South has dropped two one-run games to go with a 2-0 loss to Freehold Township
On the Bubble
Monmouth (3-1, 3-0) – Outside of a loss to Anthony Bartolomei and Ocean, the Falcons have swung the bats to the tune of 28 runs in three wins.
Howell (3-1, 3-1) – Class A North might have eight teams in the top 15 in the Shore Conference. With wins over Middletown South, Manalapan and Freehold Boro, Howell is next in line among A North teams for a top 10 spot.
Freehold Boro (3-3, 1-3) – The 10-0 win over CBA will carry a lot of weight if Freehold can get on a roll in A North, which was not kind to the Colonials in their first three divisional games.
Manalapan (4-2, 1-2) – A couple tough losses to Howell and Marlboro have set the Braves back, but the offense has been impressive and the division is still wide open.
Freehold Township (3-2, 1-2) – Joe Silvestrone is the Shore’s hottest hitter right now (five home runs in the last two games) and the Patriots have scored 11 runs in each of those games.