The Shore Daily, 4/13/15
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The weekend featured a stunning win by Freehold Boro baseball, two teams off to slow starts with high expectations picking up their first win, more great pitching performances and a verbal commitment from Red Bank standout wide receiver Sadiq Palmer.
On the lacrosse side, Christian Brothers Academy took a big step toward the Class A North title in a showdown of Top 10 teams, while another primary obstacle for the Colts, Howell, continued its best start in program history.
I'll start with the 10 best performers from the weekend's action, in no particular order.
Joe Silvestrone, Sr., C, Freehold Township
Silvestrone continued his red hot streak with two more home runs, including the game-winning solo shot in the eighth inning, in an 11-10 slugfest win over Jackson Memorial on Saturday. That performance gave Silvestrone five home runs in two games, as he hit a school-record three in a loss to Manalapan in the Patriots' previous game. Silvestrone has five home runs now in five games overall. The Shore Conference single-season record is 14 bombs by former Jackson Memorial star Marc Fink in 1994.
Steve Rullo, Jr., P, Freehold Boro
Rullo shut down CBA, the preseason No. 1 team in the Shore and a top-five team in the state, by throwing six shutout innings of two-hit ball on Saturday in an eye-opening 10-0 win for the Colonials that handed the Colts their first loss. Sophomore Tom Holdorf led the offensive onslaught with three hits, three RBI, a run scored and a double.
Jake Ryan, Sr., OF, Toms River South
Ryan homered for the third straight game and finished 3-for-4 with three RBI after belting a three-run shot in a 7-2 win over Southern in Class A South on Saturday night for the Indians.
Andrew Nardi, Sr., P, Marlboro
Nardi is becoming a regular in this spot, as he turned in another great performance with a complete-game five-hitter on Saturday in which he struck out eight in a 2-1 win over Manalapan that improved the Mustangs to 5-1.
Jake Sherman, Sr., A, Howell
Sherman hit a career milestone with his 100th goal in a 13-4 win over Marlboro on Friday that improved the Rebels to 6-0 for their best start in program history.
Zac deRocco, Sr., P, Middletown South
Another Class A North standout, deRocco brought an 0-4 start by the Eagles to a halt by throwing a two-hit shutout, striking out six and walking two, in a much-needed 5-0 victory over Middletown North on Friday. DeRocco had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning.
Nick Casner, So., A, CBA
Casner racked up five goals and two assists as the No. 3 Colts blew open the game in the second half to pull away for a big 10-4 win over Class A North contender Freehold Township.
Matt Santos, So., P, Red Bank
Santos helped the Bucs break into the win column with a complete-game, two-hit shutout in a 1-0 win over Neptune in which he struck out 10.
Zach Richards, Jr., OF, St. John Vianney
Richards saved the game for the Lancers by robbing Rumson's Morgan Maguire of a potential walk-off, three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning in a game that St. John Vianney eventually won 4-2 in eight innings on Saturday. In addition to snatching away the home run ball, Richards also had an RBI groundout and scored the game-winning run in the top of the ninth when he singled, went to third on an error and then scored on a wild pitch.
Mike Trezza, Jr., G, Lacey
Trezza registered 13 saves to help the Lions hand previously unbeaten Brick its first loss with an 8-4 victory on Saturday.
The Top 10 has certainly been shaken up, but that's usually to be expected this early in the season as teams try to emerge from the pack.
One thing that's looking clear is that Class A North is the Shore Conference's deepest division. Every single team is dangerous. Just look at Freehold Boro, which was 0-3 in the division and then mercy-ruled preseason No. 1 CBA. It's going to be a question of which teams have enough pitching to survive the schedule with one difficult team after another. Young teams that were thought to be maybe a year away or that got hit hard by graduation have started strong like Middletown North, Freehold Boro and Freehold Township. It looks like it will be a division where the minute a team starts climbing the rankings, someone else will pull them back down into the pack.
With Andrew Nardi, Jeremy Dyzenhaus and Steve Epstein, Marlboro looks like a team that has the arms to challenge CBA, which beat the Mustangs in a 1-0, extra-inning game in their first meeting after Dyzenhaus went toe-to-toe with Colts ace Luca Dalatri. It's a long haul, though, so we'll see how things look in two weeks or so.
After a week-and-a-half, there are only four unbeaten teams left, three of them in Class B North: Colts Neck (5-0); Red Bank Catholic (4-0) and Ocean (6-0), and then Point Beach (3-0) in B Central. The Cougars have been impressive so far, while RBC has big games coming up this week against Wall and Toms River South, and Ocean looks to keep the momentum going after racking up four wins in Florida. Point Beach has a win over St. Rose already to stamp itself as the early favorite to win the division.
New No. 1 squad Toms River North has been as impressive in reality as the Mariners looked on paper in the preseason, with its only loss coming to South Jersey power Washington Township. Toms River North has a relentless lineup and deep pitching, so the ingredients are there to make a run at several championships if everyone stays healthy. The Mariners rolled over a quality Brick team 10-0 on Saturday.
St. Rose got a much-needed win at the expense of an old rival with a 4-3 nondivisional thriller against Wall thanks to a two-run double by senior Travis Cloney in the bottom of the sixth inning. That gave the Purple Roses their first win under new coach Chris LeMore.
Another division race that looks like it will be an "any given day" type of deal is Class A Central. Every team is a threat, and Saturday brought a pair of good games in Monmouth's 9-6 slugfest over Shore and St. John Vianney's extra-inning thriller over Rumson-Fair Haven.
So far this season, the top three has looked like the ironclad group of Southern, Rumson-Fair Haven and CBA. We will find out today which of those teams looks like the main challenger to No. 1 Southern, which has a win over Rumson under its belt. CBA and Rumson face off in a big nondivisional game this afternoon. Bob Badders will be in the house so check back for updates, a story and highlights from that one.
The two teams that have looked like good bets to make a run at that No. 4 spot are a Manasquan team that took CBA to the brink in an 8-7 loss, and a Howell team off to a 6-0 start. The Rebels' main tests are still ahead, as they have CBA on Friday and Freehold Township on April 29 as far as their big Class A North games are concerned.
Red Bank standout and SSN first-team All-Shore pick Sadiq Palmer is the first member of the talented Shore Conference Class of 2016 to make a verbal commitment. Syracuse offered him over the weekend and less than 24 hours later, he committed. Syracuse's recruiting coordinator, Bobby Acosta, was previously a head coach at Monmouth Regional and Marlboro, so he knows the Shore well and is really recruiting it hard. St. John Vianney quarterback Anthony Brown has been a primary target of the Orange along with numerous other Shore talents. If they are able to land Brown, he may be throwing bombs to Palmer one day.
I think Palmer has a lot of upside. He was the best wide receiver I saw in the Shore last season of any grade, and he also has talent as a safety should Syracuse want to move him to that side of the ball. With improved speed and strength, he could be unstoppable this fall for the Bucs and become a real weapon for the Orange and a steal considering no one else had offered him yet. From the minute he stepped foot in Red Bank Regional, he was thought of as an FBS prospect, and now that day has come, so congrats to him.
More on Monday:
- Iona catcher Carmine Palummo (Howell) had a hit in a win over Monmouth University on Sunday. Catcher Kyle Perry (Toms River South) had an RBI single in the loss for the Hawks.
- St. Anthony guard Jagan Mosely, who is a Marlboro resident, will take a visit to Louisville and has an in-home visit from Princeton.
- Two Shore baseball teams among the state top 20 this week.
- The sports gods at ESPN have smiled upon us, as Lou Holtz is out as a college football commentator. Hopefully that means Mark May is next in the firing line.
I'll end with Bartolo Colon. He should bat in every game for the Mets even if he isn't pitching, just on principle.