The Shore Daily, 4/6/15
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Spring break! (Does cannonball into pool with laptop)
Actually, it's more like remembering spring breaks past while staring wistfully out the window and typing all day. But for you, good readers, this is a good time to get outside and check out a Shore Conference game, whether it's baseball, lacrosse or whatever, and soak in the weather after being buried under snow and ice for months.
With baseball and lacrosse action already underway with morning games this week with most Shore Conference schools off for the break, here are the Top 10 performers from the weekend's action, some football and alumni notes, and more.
Also, make sure to check out our interviews and photos with former Shore stars Brad Brach of the Orioles and David DeJesus of the Rays, who play each other on Opening Day today. The two other Shore alumni who are on Opening Day MLB rosters are Cincinnati Reds teammates, third baseman Todd Frazier (Toms River South) and pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (Colts Neck).
Top 10 Performers from the Weekend
1. Chris Smith, Sr., Midfielder, Southern
Smith was sensational in a showdown of the Shore's top two boys lacrosse teams on Saturday for a historic regular-season win by the No. 1 Rams. Southern beat defending Shore Conference Tournament champion Rumson-Fair Haven for the first time in history, rallying for a 16-14 victory in an instant classic. Smith not only scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with 1:43 remaining, he also had two other goals and two assists while going a remarkable 19-for-21 on face-offs with 21 groundballs to fuel the comeback. It marked Rumson's first loss to a Shore Conference team since 2013 and only their second since 2011. It also stamped the Rams as the favorite to win their first SCT title after losing to Rumson in the finals in each of the last two seasons.
2. Joey Rose, Jr., 3B, Toms River North
The Oklahoma State recruit helped the No. 3 Mariners knock off No. 2 Jackson Memorial in Class A South on Saturday by finishing 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, three runs scored, three RBI and a great play in the field to nail a runner at the plate in the 8-7 victory.
3. Anthony Bartolomei, Sr., RHP, Ocean
Bartolomei started his season with a complete-game, two-hit shutout, striking out five, in a 7-0 win over Monmouth Regional on Saturday.
4. Ray Ligouri, Sr., P, Toms River South
Ligouri went 3-for-4 with four RBI, including a two-run homer in the sixth that broke open a close game, and he also pitched two innings of scoreless relief in an 11-6 win over Toms River East in Class A South on Saturday that improved the Indians to 2-0. Ligouri has now thrown 15 1/3 straight scoreless innings dating back to last season.
5. Mitch Merrill, Sr., SS, Pinelands
Merrill went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI while also making a great over-the-shoulder catch that led to a double play in a 6-3 win over Matawan on Friday that got the Wildcats off to a rare 3-0 start.
6. Ryan Mahon, Jr., M, Lacey
One of the top midfielders in Ocean County, Mahon had three goals and an assist as the Lions held off Shore Regional 8-7 in a nondivisional game on Saturday.
7. Justin Steel, Jr., 2B/C, Howell
Steel finished 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, four RBI and two runs scored in a 9-8 win over No. 10 Middletown South on Saturday that improved the Rebels to 2-0.
8. Zach Harrell, Jr., G, and the Wall defense
Harrell only needed to make five saves thanks to a superlative defensive effort by the Crimson Knights in an eye-opening 15-0 nondivisional win over Brick Memorial on Saturday.
9. Steve Epstein, Sr., P, and Jeremy Dyzenhaus, Jr., P, Marlboro
Epstein and Dyzenhaus combined on a five-inning no-hitter in a 10-0 wipeout of Hudson Catholic on Saturday. Epstein threw the first four innings, striking out two and allowing one walk, and Dyzenhaus pitched a scoreless fifth to wrap up the win.
10. Nick Zuppi, Jr., P, Freehold Boro
Zuppi allowed one run on four hits, walking two and striking out seven in six innings to help the Colonials beat defending Group I champion Shore Regional, one game after the Blue Devils knocked off a Top 10-Manasquan team.
Former Manasquan star Michaela Mabrey will play in her second straight national championship game after Notre Dame pulled out a thriller against South Carolina on Sunday night. The Fighting Irish now have a rematch with defending champion UConn on Tuesday night.
Several of the Shore's top prospects from the Class of 2016 were up at Syracuse's spring game on Saturday. The recruiting coordinator in the middle of the first photo is former Monmouth Regional head coach Bobby Acosta.
More on Monday:
- A BYU long-snapper who clearly loves long-snapping judging by this tattoo.
- The Trailblazers' Wes Matthews begins the long road back from a torn Achilles.
- Fantasy sports has blown up to such a degree that Disney is investing $250 million in DraftKings, which is now valued at $900 million.
- A judge allowed a woman to divorce her husband via Facebook.
I'll end with a trio of former Shore Conference standouts already at the next level putting in work this spring to become impact players for Penn State this fall.