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Baseball – VOTE: SSN Players of the Week, Week 1

BB Vote POTW

Each week for the remainder of the baseball season, Shore Sports Network will select both players and pitchers of the week from each of the six Shore Conference divisions and open up the voting to the readers in order to pick an overall Player of the Week. In addition to the six pitchers and players from each division, there will be two wild cards in each category who will be placed on the ballot. Vote early, vote often, and vote until Wednesday at 10 p.m., when the voting will close and the winners will be posted.

 

Class A North

Player of the Week

Steven Bullen, Manalapan

It probably helps Bullen that his team played five games this week while most other teams played three, but the senior was locked in for all five Manalapan wins. For the week, Bullen was 10-for-15 with three doubles, two home runs, nine runs scored and nine RBI, including game-tying and go-ahead RBI singles in a 15-10 win over Howell Saturday in extra innings. Bullen is tied for the Shore Conference lead with three home runs.

Pitcher of the Week

Spencer Bauer, CBA

In his first varsity start on the mound, Spencer Bauer pitched a no-hitter against Neptune and did so under tense circumstances. Mound opponent Dylan Taliaferro was also dealing that day and held CBA to one run while striking out 11. Bauer, however, was up to the challenge and struck out 10 while walking just one to lead CBA to a 1-0 A North win over the Scarlet Fliers.

Honorable Mention: Nick Hohenstein, CBA; Mike Pirrotta, Freehold Twp.; Bryan Reed, Freehold Twp.; Jeremy Bello, Marlboro

 

Class A Central

Player of the Week

Mike Jelliff, Shore

This is admittedly, a partially retroactive award for the feat Jelliff turned in during week one of the season when he hit two grand slams in one inning for Shore in a 15-1 win over Rumson-Fair Haven on opening day. He was pretty good last week as well, going 6-for-9 during a 1-2 week for the Blue Devils.

Pitcher of the Week

Matt Birdsall, Raritan

After an uncharacteristic three walks in his first start, Birdsall was back to painting with his fastball-breaking-ball combo in a 7-1 win over Shore in which the senior right-hander allowed one unearned run on three hits while walking just one and striking out 11 for the second start in a row. Birdsall has struck out 22 batters in 13 2/3 innings so far.

Honorable Mention: Dan Vanmeerbeke, Raritan; Jackson Hercek, Matawan; Mike Trapani, Matawan; Mike Shirvanian, Shore; Connor Dupree, Rumson-Fair Haven

 

Class A South

Player of the Week

Justin Fall, Toms River South

Already armed with an All-Shore track record as a pitcher, Fall has shown off a potent bat so far. He went 2-for-4 with a double in a win over Toms River East on Wednesday and belted a three-run homer in a 9-1 win over Southern on Thursday. He also turned in a typically impressive start on the mound, limiting Toms River East to two unearned runs on two hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.

Pitcher of the Week

Mike Soldo, Brick

It would be fair to say Soldo falls under the category of crafty left-hander, but his pitching line in his start this week was more Randy Johnson than Mark Buehrle. The senior struck out a career-high 17 in a Green Dragons win down in Myrtle Beach and he limited Lake Shore of N.Y. to two hits over seven innings in a shutout performance. Soldo also knocked in a run with an RBI single in the game.

Honorable Mention: Mike Nyisztor, Toms River North; Alex Iadisernia, Jackson Memorial; Tim Halasnik, Jackson Memorial; Jared Kwicinski, Toms River South; TJ Scuderi, Toms River South; Craig Larsen, Toms River North

 

Class B North

Player of the Week

Adam Schreck, Manasquan

Schreck turned in a monster performance on Saturday, when he went 3-for-4 with three home runs and eight RBI in Manasquan’s 13-3 win over Holmdel. Schreck’s eight RBI matched Jelliff – who hit two grand slams in one inning – for the single-game high for this season and he is the first Shore Conference player to homer three times in a game since Freehold Township’s Joe Silvestrone in 2014. Schreck’s third and final home run on Saturday was a game-ending grand slam.

Pitcher of the Week

Matt Mincieli, Long Branch

Mincieli got a chance to start twice this past week and took advantage by winning both starts. He allowed three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out eight in a 5-3 win over Rumson-Fair Haven on Monday and was even better on Saturday against Matawan. In that game, Mincieli pitched six scoreless innings while allowing four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts. All told, Mincieli allowed three runs on seven hits in 13 innings with 17 strikeouts and three walks.

Honorable Mention: Tommy Antonucci, Manasquan; Shane Richey, Wall; Anthony DeRosa, Red Bank Catholic; Ben Porpora, Middletown South; Ryan Ruziecki, Middletown South; Joe Malfara, Monmouth; Tommy Sheehan, Manasquan

 

Class B Central

Player of the Week

Kyle Dowlen, Mater Dei Prep

Walk-off wins happen in high school just like they do at every level of baseball, but the walkoff home run is a rare treat. Dowlen got a chance to experience that trip around the bases on Thursday, when the senior clouted a game-winning solo home run to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning of Mater Dei’s 6-5 win over Keansburg. Dowlen finished that game 3-for-4 with a double to go with his game-winning homer.

Pitcher of the Week

Nick Schmidt, St. Rose

Two St. Rose pitchers pitched a five-inning no-hitter last week to follow up Sam Sestito’s seven-inning no-no on opening day. This week’s honor goes to the junior who was making his first varsity start.  Schmidt breezed through five innings Monday against Keansburg, which managed just one walk in the game against Schmidt. The right-hander struck out two in his memorable debut as a varsity starter.

Honorable Mention: Riley Maypother, St. Rose; Kevin Donnelly, Point Beach; Brendan Carlstrom, Henry Hudson; John Crowley, St. Rose

 

Class B South

Player of the Week

Joey Ventresca, Pinelands

The Wildcats’ dominant sophomore pitching duo has been on full display so far, with both Noah Dean and Vestresca turning in dazzling starts. Dean opened the season with a no-hitter and beat Lacey on Monday, while Ventresca struck out 11 with no walks in a three-hit shutout of Point Boro on Wednesday. Ventresca also went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the win over Lacey and was 1-for-3 with two runs scored against Point Boro.

Pitcher of the Week

Don Zellman, Lacey

Zellman has picked up right where he left off when he was an All-Shore pitcher as a junior. The senior right-hander followed up a two-hit shutout in his first start with a three-hitter over six innings against a Jackson Liberty lineup that is averaging 9.6 runs per game in its five other games this season. Zellman struck out nine in his Wednesday gem while walking just one.

Honorable Mention: David Melfi, Jackson Liberty; Justin Thompson, Lacey; John Poplawski, Donovan Catholic

 

Wild Cards

Players

Nick Hohenstein, CBA

Hohenstein has been as good as any player in the Shore Conference this year with two wins on the mound over Freehold Boro, including a shutout on opening day. He hit a two-run single to help his own cause in Monday’s win over the Colonials, capped a six-run sixth inning with a two-run homer in an 11-5 win over Brick Memorial on Tuesday, and went 3-for-3 with a double in a 1-0 win over Neptune Wednesday to help Spencer Bauer get the win in his no-hitter.

Ben Porpora, Middletown South

Porpora’s stat line from the week is impressive enough: he went 9-for-12 with a double, home run, five runs scored and five RBI for the week. On top of that, though, the senior slugger saved his homer for the biggest spot. He crushed a solo shot to dead centerfielder to break a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning Wednesday against Wall and the Eagles went on to win, 3-2.

 

Pitchers

Mike Pirrotta, Freehold Twp.

Pirrotta did just about everything in Freehold Township’s Wednesday win over CBA, the Colts’ only loss of the season. He threw five one-hit innings against the Shore’s No. 3 team and also drove in the lone run of the game as the Patriots pulled out the 1-0 victory.

Craig Larsen, Toms River North

The Mariners bounced back from a loss to Southern thanks to a dominant performance on the mound by Larsen, who struck out nine and walked one in a one-hit shutout against Brick Memorial on Wednesday. In two starts this year, Larsen has not allowed an earned run in 14 innings, during which he has surrendered just four hits and a walk while striking out 12.

 

Vote for the Player of the Week and the Pitcher of the Week in the Polls Below.

 

 

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