The Shore Daily, 5/11/15
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After some surprises earlier in the Shore Conference Boys Lacrosse Tournament, it was no surprise that when the smoke cleared it was No. 1 Southern and No. 2 Rumson-Fair Haven still standing following this weekend's semifinals.
On the baseball side of things, the Ocean County Tournament championship game is set, as Barnegat will face Jackson Memorial on Thursday at Toms River East. One half of the Monmouth County Tournament final is settled, as Wall ended Middletown South's 14-game winning streak in emphatic fashion to reach the championship game, where it awaits the winner of Tuesday's semifinal game between Christian Brothers Academy and Manalapan.
Also, the Shore Conference Tournament is being seeded tonight. Make sure to check out Matt Manley's full projection of the field, which is as thorough a breakdown of the Shore Conference season so far as you're going to find.
Here are the Top 10 performers from the weekend and then some lacrosse and baseball notes.
Brendan Lefanto, Sr., G, Southern
The Rams' solid defense claimed some spotlight from their high-powered offense by leading the way in an 8-4 win over Manasquan in the SCT semifinals that put Southern back in the final for the third straight season. Lefanto had 14 saves as Southern rallied from an early 3-0 deficit by only allowing one goal in the final three quarters, with Mike Adragna and Evan Henken leading the defensive effort in front of Lefanto.
Brandon Janofsky, Sr., P, Jackson Memorial
Janofsky continues to be lights-out, as he threw his third shutout in three starts with a four-hitter in a 2-0 win over Toms River South in the OCT semifinals. Janofsky has thrown 19 scoreless innings this spring and now has 27 strikeouts after whiffing 12 in the win over the Indians. He also had an RBI sacrifice fly in the victory.
Matt Klepper, Sr., P/3B, Manalapan
Klepper went 2-for-4 and pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless and hitless relief to help the Braves pull out an 8-6 win in extra innings over Red Bank Catholic to reach the MCT semifinals.
Seamus Brazil, Sr., P, Barnegat
The 6-foot-9 right-hander, who is headed to Hofstra, pitched the best game of his career with an eight-inning, complete-game shutout in a 1-0 win over Brick Memorial in the OCT semifinals. Brazil allowed six hits and one walk while striking out 12 and stranding a baserunner in scoring position in five of the eight innings.
Dan Wondrack, Sr., C, Wall
Wondrack helped lead the assault by going 2-for-2 with a two-run double during an eight-run second inning as the Crimson Knights routed Middletown South, 11-1, in five innings in the MCT semifinals to end the Eagles' 14-game winning streak.
Jack Moore, Sr., D, Rumson-FH
Moore marked Freehold Township star Billy Sasso for the majority of the game and kept him off the scoreboard as part of a remarkable overall defensive effort in a 6-0 win in the SCT semifinals.
Michael O'Halloran, Jr., SS, Shore Regional
O'Halloran went 2-for-3 with two runs scored to help send the Blue Devils to a 6-5 nondivisional win over Point Boro on Saturday that qualified Shore for the SCT on the cut-off date.
Dan Schirmacher, Sr., P, St. John Vianney
Schirmacher struck out six and walked three in a complete-game, three-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over Shore Regional on Friday that gave the Lancers the outright Class A Central title for the second straight year.
Josh Jackson, So., 3B, Monmouth
Jackson belted a clutch, game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to keep the Falcons in it before they pulled out an 8-7 win over Manasquan in nine innings on Friday to tie the Warriors and Rumson-Fair Haven for the Class A Central public crown.
Joe Silvestrone, Sr., C, Freehold Township
Silvestrone went 2-for-4 and hit his school-record ninth home run of the season, which leads the Shore, to back up a two-hit shutout by sophomore Mike Pirrotta in an 8-0 win over Lacey on Friday that qualified the Patriots for the SCT.
The OCT was all about dazzling pitching performances this weekend, between Brandon Janofsky's shutout for Jackson Memorial and Seamus Brazil's eight-inning shutout for Barnegat. The Bengals have become a team that is starting to regularly crash the usual Class A South party in the OCT by advancing to their second straight final.
Janofsky has been unstoppable since returning to the mound at the end of April from shoulder stiffness. His ability to get his breaking ball over for strikes in almost any count, as well has his command in hitting spots with his fastball, have prevented anyone from scoring on him yet this season. He is committed to Stony Brook, and if he were about three or four inches taller, I think you would have seen him getting recruited by some major Division I programs. Even so, he should have a nice career up there and give himself a shot to get drafted, similar to former Jackson star Pete Kelich, who had a great career at Bryant University and got taken by the Padres in the 38th round in 2013.
It will most likely be Ryan Takacs vs. Barnegat's John Corbett in the OCT final given that the teams also have to worry about upcoming SCT games and then get things lined up for the state tournament, which starts next week. However, if it's close in the later innings, I could see Brazil or Janofsky possibly coming out there to lock down a championship.
On the MCT side of things, Wall has taken full advantage of getting a second life. The Crimson Knights had that walk-off loss earlier in the tournament to Marlboro erased due to forfeit because Marlboro used an illegal pitcher, and they have come barreling through that loophole all the way to the final. They dismantled a Middletown South team that was playing better than any squad in the Shore.
Finally, what a wild ending to the Class A Central race on Friday. Dan Schirmacher gave St. John Vianney a championship effort to lock down the overall title, and then three teams (Rumson-FH, Monmouth and Manasquan) tied for the public title. Essentially, it was three championship games in the division on Friday because wins by Rumson and Monmouth gave them a tie with Manasquan, and St. John Vianney's win over Shore gave them the outright crown. The Lancers graduated almost their entire lineup from last year's Non-Public A champs, yet still got it done in the division race, which is a tribute to the foundation that coach Mike Morgan has built there.
It will be a highly-anticipated rematch tomorrow at 4 p.m. on the turf at Monmouth University when undefeated Southern faces No. 2 Rumson. Either the Rams will become the first Ocean County team to win the SCT, or Rumson will capture an unprecedented fifth straight SCT title.
Both teams are coming off great defensive efforts, but the regular-season game between the two of them was a high-scoring affair as Southern won 16-14 for its first victory in history over the Bulldogs. This is the third straight season that these two teams have met in the championship game, so either Southern will get over the hump or Rumson will send the Rams back to the drawing board again.
More on Monday:
- Toms River North, Colts Neck, and Jackson Memorial are the three Shore baseball teams in the latest state top 20 rankings.
- Catholic University outfielder Stefan Poggioli (Middletown South) earned first-team all-conference honors.
- The New York Giants' third-round pick has dealt with a lot of adversity in his life, including a father who murdered three people.
- A 13-minute film by a high school wrestler on what wrestlers have to go through will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival.
- An MLB prospect from the University of Washington has dedicated his games to his mother, who is battling early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
- A high school golfer from Oklahoma has overcome a brain tumor to reach the state tournament.
- A man who has twice been paralyzed and recovered rode his bike from Massachusetts to Miami to help raise money to cure paralysis.
On tap for today: There is a big slate of nondivisional and nonconference baseball action as teams tune up for the SCT and state tournaments. Wall plays Middletown South in a regular-season game after beating them on Saturday in the MCT semifinals, and Toms River North heads to Red Bank Catholic for a good nondivisional match-up.
I'll end with Barnegat's walk-off win in the OCT, and the Phillies' fan dad who made the barehanded grab of a foul ball with his baby son strapped across his chest yesterday. Well done, sir. The Mets won the game, by the way.