The Shore Daily, 4/24/15
Follow Scott Stump on Twitter for news and notes from around the Shore.
What a day of Shore Conference baseball on Thursday, as the return of a pitching star sent the No. 1 team in the Shore to its first divisional loss, Middletown South sprung a big upset in the Monmouth County Tournament, and Freehold Boro cooled off a red-hot Marlboro team in Class A North.
Let's get to Thursday's Top 10 performers and then take a look at the day in baseball and more.
Brandon Janofsky, Sr., P, Jackson Memorial
The Jaguars' star and Stony Brook recruit made his 2015 debut on the mound a memorable one by firing a complete-game, two-hit shutout against No. 1 Toms River North in a 3-0 win, striking out nine and walking just one on 95 pitches.
Dan Wondrack, Sr., C, Wall
The College of Charleston recruit belted his third home run in two games and also had a double and three RBI to help the Crimson Knights beat Rumson-Fair Haven 8-4 to advance to the Monmouth County Tournament Round of 16.
Austin Markmann, Jr., P, Middletown South
The Eagles' resurgence continued behind Markmann, who picked up the win on the mound and went 3-for-3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI to help 16th-seeded Middletown South stun top-seeded Colts Neck 9-3 to reach the Monmouth County Tournament quarterfinals.
Justin Liggett, Jr., P, Red Bank Catholic
The junior lefty made sure the Caseys would bounce back quickly from their first loss by firing a complete-game, three-hit shutout against a fellow Top 10 team, Class B North rival Ocean, in a 5-0 win. Liggett struck out five in the victory.
Dan Chiusano, So., P, Freehold Boro
The Colonials have gotten numerous standout pitching performances this season, and Chiusano delivered a big one by taking a shutout into the seventh inning and striking out seven to help Freehold topple No. 3 Marlboro with a 4-2 win. Chiusano scattered seven hits and walked four in the win.
Matt Cuppari, Jr., P/SS, Brick Memorial
Cuppari continues to rake at the plate and also did the job on the mound in a 10-1 win over Lacey for the Mustangs' first win in Class A South. He went 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and three RBI and also threw four shutout innings of two-hit ball to get the win.
Ray Ligouri, Sr., P, Toms River South
Ligouri has been a mainstay of the Indians' success this season, and he was at it again in a 10-8 win over rival Toms River East. He threw five innings on the mound to get the win in his first career start and also had an RBI double and a run scored. He ended the game on the mound by snatching a line drive with the bases loaded in the seventh for the final out.
Zach Mann, So., P, Donovan Catholic
The Griffins' pitching staff continues to be one of the Shore's best, as Mann threw a four-hit shutout with a walk and three strikeouts in a 3-0 win over Central in Class B South. The Griffins have now gone four straight games without allowing a single earned run. The win also helped Donovan Catholic stay right with Barnegat in first place in the loss column in the division.
Jared Kacso, Jr., P, Barnegat
Speaking of Barnegat, Kacso scattered eight hits in six innings and also had an RBI single and a double to help his cause in a 6-2 win over Point Boro to give the Bengals' their sixth straight win in Class B South.
Jack Sheehan, Jr., 3B, Manasquan
Sheehan went 3-for-3, including an RBI single in a six-run fifth inning, to help his younger brother Tommy get the win on the mound as the Warriors avenged an earlier loss to Shore Regional with a 6-1 win that kept them right in the mix for a title in the Class A Central race.
Certainly one of the headlines was the return to the mound of Jackson Memorial senior Brandon Janofsky, who had been playing shortstop and hitting this season but hadn't pitched yet because of shoulder stiffness. He picked up right where he left off last year when he threw a one-hitter against Roxbury in the NJSIAA Group IV final. The Stony Brook recruit threw a two-hitter against No. 1 Toms River North in a 3-0 win for the Mariners' first loss against Shore Conference competition this season.
Matt has the full breakdown of his performance in his game story. With Janofsky back on the mound plus the return of another top pitcher Chris Hawryluk from shoulder issues, the Death Star is close to fully operational for a Jaguars' team that started the season ranked No. 2 in our Top 10. Senior outfielder Rich Rountree has become an RBI machine with 16 in 10 games to lead the offense, so Jackson looks to be rounding into form with the Ocean County Tournament looming to kick off the postseason.
As for Toms River North, it now only has two hits in its last 14 innings after being no-hit in a game it still won against Lacey. The Mariners faced two very good starters in those games, Anthony Elefante and Janofsky, so it's not a huge cause for panic. Every good team goes through a few valleys during the season, so it's more about just turning things around when the games start to become do-or-die in the tournaments. The good news for North is that its pitching has been consistently strong, as Doug Molnar had a solid effort to keep the Mariners in it yesterday in throwing a complete game.
Middletown South's takedown of top-seeded Colts Neck as the 16th seed in the Monmouth County Tournament shows how tightly-bunched the talent is this year. The Eagles have plenty of pitching, which always makes them tough in the tournaments, and Austin Markmann helped lead them yesterday against a tough Colts Neck lineup. The Eagles have also fared well in the MCT under coach Ryan Spillane. Senior Nolan Pereless, also known for his football skills in the secondary for the Eagles, has been a huge part of their offense, and he had a suicide squeeze bunt that scored two runs and stole three bases in the win.
Freehold Boro is another team that looks to be dangerous in the tournaments because of its pitching. Dan Chiusano shut down Marlboro in a 4-2 win that cooled off the Mustangs after their 7-1 start. Manasquan has also ridden its pitching after a slow start and is right at the front of the pack in Class A Central after Notre Dame recruit Tommy Sheehan helped the Warriors avenge an earlier loss to Shore with a 6-1 win.
Wall senior Dan Wondrack entered the season already established as one of the Shore's top catchers and power hitters, and he has now slugged three longballs in two games after hitting another one in a Monmouth County Tournament win over Rumson. Wall is on the fringes of the Class B North race at this point, but looks to put things together in time to make a run in the tournaments.
Donovan Catholic's pitching has been tremendous, one of the best statistical performances of any in the Shore, which continued with Zach Mann's shutout of Central in a 3-0 win. I'm interested to see how that staff does in the Ocean County Tournament against the strong lineups of the Class A South teams. That's their chance to really make a statement.
The annual Jackson Memorial-Jackson Liberty game is tonight at 7, and it will double as a fund-raiser for autism awareness. Bob has the details here.
Also, there's one other Jackson Liberty cause that needs your help involving a family of two students with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Their father died three years ago, causing the family to lose its health benefits, and their mother had heart surgery last year, so the family is in need of some financial assistance. They also are trying to get them on the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to help spread the word. You can donate here.
The annual Shore Football Coaches Foundation Academic All-Shore breakfast is Sunday at Gibbs Hall in Tinton Falls, where 86 seniors, two from each team, will be honored for their academic achievements.
I'm always impressed by the guys who get it done at a high level in both areas, which makes the eight SSN first-team All-Shore picks from the fall who also are receiving this academic honor really stand out.
The Jackson Memorial tandem of OL Tyler Rauch and TE/DE Brody Graham, the Manalapan duo of TE/DE Kyle Mullen and RB Imamu Mayfield, Monmouth Regional WR Isaiah Searight, Shore Regional LB James Bedell, Mater Dei Prep QB Christian Palmer, and Ocean DB Frank Henry all earned both honors. Graham (Pennsylvania) and Mullen (Yale) are both headed to the Ivy League.
I would bet that if you compared this list to the All-Shore list from the fall, there will be more success stories from Sunday's recipients. I just ask that the award-winners remember me fondly when they are my bosses in 10 years.
The rosters for this summer's U.S. Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic will also be unveiled at the breakfast, with those players also in attendance. The game is at 7 p.m. on July 16 at Long Branch High School. Shore Regional's Mark Costantino is the Monmouth County coach, and Jackson Memorial's Walt Krystopik will coach the Ocean County senior all-stars.
There was another college commitment on Thursday, and also make sure to check out the feature on Red Bank's Sadiq Palmer, a Syracuse recruit, by student contributor Ella Brockway.
More on Friday:
- Several NFL players and hundreds of townspeople showed up at the birthday party of a 10-year-old girl with a rare genetic disorder after no one from her class initially RSVP'ed.
- Former Middletown North star Shilique Calhoun helped show off Michigan State's new uniforms yesterday.
- Interesting story on a quarterback recruit who is similar to St. John Vianney's Anthony Brown in that he already has some offers from power conference schools but doesn't have the elite teams offering yet.
- Louisville pass-rusher and NFL Draft hopeful Lorenzo Mauldin made it through living in 16 foster homes as a kid to reach his dream.
- Looking forward to this weekend's Subway Series.
- The remaking of a drug kingpin into a fitness guru.
- The latest NFL Draft hotbed is...the University of Central Florida?
On tap for this weekend: No. 2 CBA at No. 3 Marlboro headlines today's baseball schedule. The Colts are alone in first place in Class A North, while the Mustangs look to avenge an earlier 1-0 loss to CBA in extra innings to put themselves in a tie for first in the division. Ocean also heads to Colts Neck in another Top 10 showdown in Class B North after both teams lost yesterday. The Monmouth County Tournament games also continue today and tomorrow.
The lacrosse schedule is fairly light with St. John Vianney at No. 8 Ocean looking like one of the better match-ups, plus the autism awareness fund-raiser in Jackson tonight. On Saturday, there is a big one at Sea Girt Army Camp when Manasquan hosts rival Wall at 10 a.m. for a game with huge Class B South title implications.
I'll end with Steph Curry's ridiculous 3 against the Pelicans last night, a volcano that has started erupting in Chile, and the trailer for this new Johnny Depp movie on Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, which looks awesome.