The Shore Daily, 4/15/15
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Monmouth Regional, Mater Dei Prep and Matawan all picked up big wins to highlight Tuesday's action, while unbeaten Red Bank Catholic and Colts Neck appear to be on a collision course in Class B North.
The Monmouth County Tournament seeds were also released on Tuesday night, as Christian Brothers Academy will look to defend its title as the No. 2 seed behind top-seeded Colts Neck, which CBA beat in last year's championship game.
First-round games and Round-of-16 games have to be played by April 25, which is often a double-header. The quarterfinals are May 2, followed by the semifinals on May 9 and the championship game on May 15. Seeding has become huge in this tournament because the championship game is no longer at a neutral site like FirstEnergy Park, it's at the home field of the highest remaining seed.
Hopefully weather doesn't alter the schedule because that would be great to get it wrapped up before the NJSIAA Tournament begins on May 18 so that teams don't have to start picking and choosing which pitchers to deploy to go after one tournament or the other, especially with the Shore Conference Tournament beginning on May 13 and going until June 1.
It's so hard to predict these tournaments as far as a winner because you don't know how the pitching will line up. While Colts Neck, CBA and Red Bank Catholic are all familiar faces as the top three seeds, Marlboro is an intriguing darkhorse at No. 4 because of its pitching depth. This is also one of those tournaments where a low-seeded team can make a deep run, so we'll see how it unfolds.
Wednesday also marks the spring National Signing Day for athletes in spring sports across the country. Anyone with signing pictures can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get them posted.
Now, on to the top 10 performers from Tuesday's action, in no particular order.
Adam Elliott, Jr., P, Matawan
The Huskies' ace, who is also a standout kicker on the football team, pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings of two-hit ball, striking out eight and walking four, to help Matawan taken down previously unbeaten No. 7 Ocean, 2-0, for a big Class B North win.
Joe Ruth, Jr., P, Mater Dei Prep
Like Elliott, Ruth's performance helped knock a team from the ranks of the unbeaten. Ruth tossed a complete-game four-hitter, striking out nine, to help the Seraphs upend Point Beach 6-2 and take over sole possession of first place in Class B Central. Ruth also went 2-for-3 with two RBI to help his own cause and improve Mater Dei Prep to 4-0 in the division.
Steve Epstein, Sr., P, Marlboro
The Mustangs' pitching staff continues to be lights-out, as Epstein followed strong performances by Andrew Nardi and Jeremy Dyzenhaus with a complete-game five-hitter in which he struck out six and walked none in a 7-1 win over Howell in Class A North.
Dante Cuzzolino, Sr., 2B, Freehold
Cuzzolino has been on fire, and his most recent effort was a pair of hits, including an RBI double, in a 7-5 win over Manalapan in eight innings in Class A North. On Monday, he was 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI as the Colonials nearly took out unbeaten Colts Neck in a two-run loss, and on Saturday he was 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI in a 10-0 wipeout of No. 3 CBA for the Colts' only loss.
Jimmy Green, Sr., INF, Monmouth
Better known as Monmouth's standout quarterback, Green (#12, above) can also swing it, as he smashed a grand slam and went 3-for-4 with six RBI in a 10-2 win over Rumson-Fair Haven that improved the Falcons to 4-1 overall and established them as an early favorite for the Class A Central title with a 4-0 divisional start.
Victor Jamandron, Jr., INF, St. John Vianney
Jamandron went 4-for-4 with a run scored as the Lancers brought a three-game winning streak by rival Raritan to a halt with an 11-1 win in six innings that also handed the Rockets their first loss in Class A Central.
Hunter Daly, Sr., P, Neptune
Better known as Neptune's standout punter and placekicker in the fall, Daly also is the Scarlet Fliers' ace on the mound. He helped them get their first win by striking out nine in a five-hit shutout and also going 2-for-3 with two RBI in a 10-0 victory over Long Branch in six innings.
John Poccia, Jr., P, Red Bank Catholic
Poccia was crucial in relief with 2 1/3 scoreless innings in a one-run game to seal RBC's 5-4 win over defending Class B North champion Wall that kept the Caseys unbeaten at 5-0.
Mike Antico, Jr., OF, Colts Neck
The St. John's recruit has been one of the Shore's top hitters in the early going, and he kept that up by finishing 3-for-3 with a triple, three runs scored and three stolen bases in a 7-4 win over Red Bank in Class B North that improved the Cougars to 7-0.
Justice Johnson, So., 1B, Keyport
Johnson had his best day at the plate in his young career in going 3-for-3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI in an 8-4 win over Keansburg that got the Red Raiders back to .500 at 3-3.
More on Wednesday:
- Catcher Kyle Perry (Toms River South) lifted the game-winning RBI sacrifice fly in the 10th inning against Luke Cahill (Monmouth Regional) in Monmouth University's 3-1 win over Seton Hall yesterday.
- Point Boro and Monmouth University soccer legend Christie Rampone will play in her fifth World Cup for the U.S. women's national team.
- LHP Jerry Vasto (Henry Hudson), who pitches for Colorado Rockies low A affiliate Asheville, and RHP Connor Kaden (Toms River South), who pitches for San Francisco Giants affiliate Augusta, will both be at FirstEnergy Park next month to visit the Lakewood BlueClaws.
- The next great point guard from Oakland could be California recruit Ivan Rabb, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of Damian Lillard, Jason Kidd and Gary Payton.
On tap for today: Today's baseball schedule features more divisional battles, particularly in Class B South, where No. 9 Pinelands heads to Jackson Liberty, and Class B Central, where Mater Dei Prep travels to St. Rose to try to tighten its grip on first place against the defending division champions.
In lacrosse, the big game is a nondivisional Top 10 showdown of No. 6 Red Bank Catholic heading to No. 7 Freehold Township at 4 p.m.
I will end with the ridiculous Steph Curry, who made 77 straight 3-pointers in practice, and the new Red Bank Catholic baseball uniforms, which are pretty sweet. It pays to be a school sponsored by Under Armour.