Baseball – SSN Top 10, April 17
It has only been two weeks – one of them rain-shortened – and the Shore Conference has just two unbeaten teams remaining out of the 47 in the field. With teams beating one another left and right, the top 10 has a chance to undergo some serious changes from week to week. For the time being, the top 10 remains relatively unchanged, with two new teams joining the field this week – one of which is returning to the top 10 after dropping out last week. There is, however, a new No. 1 and with the way things are going this year, it is going to be a tough spot to hold down.
1. Toms River South (4-0, 3-0) Last Week: 2
One of two remaining unbeaten teams left in the Shore Conference, Toms River South will get its toughest test so far Monday when the Indians travel across town to play Toms River North. The Indians have been dominant so far, shutting out Jackson Memorial in the opener, then scoring 37 runs in the next three games with an average margin of victory of 10 runs.
2. Monmouth (6-1, 4-1) Last Week: 5
The Falcons did swallow their first loss this week, but it was against Manasquan senior left-hander Tommy Sheehan, who is heading to Notre Dame next year and had five Major League Scouts checking in on him the day he beat the Falcons. Monmouth knocked around Alabama commit Tyler Ras and Middletown North two days later and also has wins over Wall and Red Bank Catholic – which puts the Falcons at the top of the deepest division in the conference.
3. Christian Brothers Academy (6-1, 4-1) Last Week: 3
CBA also suffered its first loss, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Freehold Township. CBA’s offense has had some slow days, but the Colts pitching and defense have been outstanding so far, evidenced by the 10 runs allowed in seven games. CBA has two wins over Freehold Boro – one each against top pitchers Dan Chiusano and Tom Holdorf – and got a no-hitter from sophomore Spencer Bauer against Neptune on Thursday.
4. Toms River North (3-1, 2-1) Last Week: 1
Yet another top-five team from the previous set of rankings to lose its first game last week, Toms River North has one high-scoring game under its belt and it came against Ras and Middletown North. The Mariners dropped a game to Southern to start the week and edged Brick Memorial, 2-0 to close it. The Toms River North pitching has performed to expectations so far and is lined up for a big week that includes game against Toms River South, Toms River East, Brick and Jackson Memorial.
5. Wall (5-2, 3-2) Last Week: Not ranked
Wall’s crop of underclassman has the Crimson Knights in contention in a loaded B North division, but the seniors have stepped up too. Matt Yard is rounding into form on the mound and Shane Richey, Kevin Lenneper, Ryan Megill and John Perrino have all come up with big hits for Wall, which has wins over Manasquan, Middletown North, Red Bank Catholic and Freehold Boro.
6. Red Bank Catholic (4-2, 3-2) Last Week: 6
The Caseys hold at No. 6 this week despite losing a competitive game on the road against Wall. So far, RBC is 3-0 at home and 1-2 on the road, but the one win away from Count Basie was a dominant 20-6 drubbing of Middletown South on Thursday. If the pitching and defense come around, RBC and its deep lineup will still be in the running for multiple championships.
7. Freehold Boro (5-3, 4-2) Last Week: 4
Two tight losses to CBA and another to Wall on Saturday account for Freehold Boro’s loss column and the Colonials are a tidy 4-2 in a competitive Class A North division. Left-handers Dan Chiusano and Tom Holdorf at the top of the rotation are the strength of the team and both struggled last time out by their standards. Despite that, the Colonials still managed to go 1-1 in those games.
8. St. Rose (5-0, 4-0) Last Week: 8
St. Rose and Toms River South are the only two unbeaten teams left and the Purple Roses appear to have the ingredients to do damage in the Monmouth County Tournament. With a light schedule so far, that will be their chance to make a significant jump up in the rankings, although three no-hitters in five games alone makes for a pretty compelling case.
9. Ocean (4-2, 2-1) Last Week: 10
Ocean remains in the top 10 after spending the week playing out-of-state competition in Myrtle Beach. The Spartans still have a win over Tommy Sheehan and Manasquan and their lone in-state loss was against Red Bank Catholic at Count Basie. Ocean will have a chance to plant its flag at the top of the B North race this week when the Spartans take on Wall, Monmouth and Manasquan.
10. Middletown South (4-2, 2-2) Last Week: Not ranked
The Eagles re-enter the top 10 this week on the strength of wins over Wall and Jackson Memorial over the past week. Middletown South has not had the pitching it did last year, but it has had its moments and the lineup has been productive. The Eagles scored at least nine runs in three of those games and put up six runs against RBC No. 1 Austin Nappi.
Lacey (5-1, 3-1) Last Week: 7 – The Lions fell to Pinelands with their No. 3 pitcher on the mound and have bounced back nicely. As the Ocean County Tournament approaches, Lacey should still be looking at top-four seed, at worst.
Brick (4-1, 1-0) Last Week: 9 – Brick’s lone N.J. win is over winless Toms River East, so the Green Dragons are behind other teams that have faced more local competition. That will change this week and so could Brick’s ranking.
On the Bubble
Manasquan (4-3, 3-2) – The Warriors got a big win over Monmouth last week, which keeps them on the cusp of the top 10.
Raritan (6-1, 4-0) – The Rockets’ only loss is to No. 10 Middletown South and they have established themselves as the Class A Central frontrunner.
Pinelands (4-2, 4-1) – A win over Lacey briefly put the Wildcats in sole possession of first place in B South before a loss to Donovan Catholic to end the week. With a sophomore one-two punch of Noah Dean and Joey Ventresca, Pinelands will be in it for the long haul.
Manalapan (6-2, 2-1) – The Braves returned to N.J. from Myrtle Beach and won a wild game over Howell in nine innings on Saturday to extend their winning streak to five.