Baseball – 2019 Shore Sports Network All-Shore Second and Third Teams
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2019 Shore Sports Network All-Shore Second Team
Jorden Jurkiewicz, Sr., Lacey
As a defender and an athlete behind the plate, Jurkiewicz takes a backseat to no one in the Shore Conference. On top of his impressive arm, the Maryland commit also flashed his speed with 13 steals – the second-most among Shore catchers behind Brick Memorial’s Mike Murphy. Jurkiewicz also stepped up against the best teams in B South, going 6-for-15 (.400) with a double, three runs and two RBI in the six games vs. Jackson Liberty, Point Boro and Pinelands.
Carmine Petosa, Jr., Jackson Memorial
Petosa was one of the most impressive young hitters in the conference as a sophomore but his game was not without holes. Over the past year, the Wake Forest recruit fine-tuned his approach at the plate and became perhaps the Shore’s most improved hitters. After hitting .289 wit 14 strikeouts in 112 plate appearances last year, Petosa raised his average .121 points and struck out just once in 78 plate appearances this past season while still hitting for more power.
Ahmir Cournier, Sr., SS, Jackson Memorial
With his transfer from Toms River East to Jackson Memorial, Cournier further swung the balance of power in the Class A South divisional race, especially with the way the North Carolina Central recruit hit to start the season. His .439 average was second among shortstops and his 13 extra-base hits ranked him third at the position in the Shore Conference. A wrist injury ended Cournier’s season five games too early and Jackson Memorial suffered without him hitting near the top of the lineup.
Tommy DiTullio, Sr., SS, Christian Brothers Academy
After dealing with a foot injury during his junior year, DiTullio showed he was healthy on day one, hitting a walk-off home run off Howell’s Bryan Bernard to start the season with a bang. The Bryant University commit continued his standout year by going 8-for-19 (.421) with a double and five RBI combined in the Monmouth County and Shore Conference Tournaments, helping lead CBA to its ninth Monmouth County title. DiTullio was also one of the conference’s best defenders at any position, committing just one error in 87 chances at shortstop this season (.988 fielding percentage).
Ryan Toomey, Sr., SS, Ocean
Toomey was once again one of the Shore’s top all-around shortstops, finishing tied for third at the position in extra-base hits, second in RBI and fourth in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He also tore it up at the plate during tournament time, going 6-for-11 (.545) with three doubles, a home run and six RBI during Ocean’s run to the Monmouth County Tournament final and 11-for-23 (.478) with four doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI across the three tournaments.
Robby Zega, Sr., 2B, Middletown South
In his third year as the starting second baseman at Middletown South, Zega found his power stroke and became the Eagles’ most dangerous threat in the batter’s box. His .708 slugging percentage was the best of any player in Class A North and the future James Madison infielder tormented Central Jersey Group IV champion Manalapan in two games. Against the Braves, Zega went 5-for-7 with a home run, four runs and three RBI – including 3-for-3 with the go-ahead homer in a win that effectively clinched the A North title for Middletown South.
Ryan Lasko, Jr., CF, Jackson Memorial
Lasko was a grinder at the plate and a polished young outfielder as a sophomore one Jackson Memorial’s South Jersey Group IV championship team in 2018 and turned himself into one of the Shore’s best power threats while maintaining his elite defense in centerfield. The Rutgers commit finished tied for fourth in the Shore Conference in both home runs and RBI, was No. 9 in slugging percentage and despite Jackson Memorial’s struggles in this year’s tournaments, Lasko was 5-for-19 with four of his seven homers and 10 of his RBI coming in those five games.
Reece Horneck, Sr., RF, Colts Neck
Horneck came charging out of the gate in 2019 and never stopped hitting during his senior season. He was one of only 14 players in the Shore Conference this year with a slugging percentage over .700 and one of 18 with at least 13 extra-base hits. The Rutgers commit was also exceedingly clutch throughout the season, hitting a walk-off RBI single in an upset win over Wall, a game-winning three-run home run in the sixth vs. Neptune and a game-winning triple in the seventh at Matawan. In six tournament games, Horneck was 8-for-21 (.381) with two doubles, a homer and six RBI.
Chris Lotito, Jr., CF/RHP, Middletown South
Lotito entered the season pitching in relief and hitting near the bottom of the Middletown South order but by season’s end, he was the Eagles’ ace, one of their most dangerous hitters and a standout defensive center fielder to boot. In the SCT and Central Group IV playoffs, Lotito went 3-for-8 with a double, home run, four walks and two RBI in four games and also pitched a three-hitter in an SCT win over Brick Memorial.
John Gannon, Jr., C, Neptune
Gannon was named the Co-Hitter of the Year in Class B North along with Rocko Bzrezniak and it’s not hard to see why after taking a look at his stat-line. Among catchers in the Shore Conference, Gannon was second only to David Melfi in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage, teaming up with Ron Cole to form an imposing middle-of-the-order for Neptune. He hit two home runs in a win over Matawan and also homered off Red Bank ace and Villanova commit Jack Povey.
Spencer Bauer, Sr., RHP/1B, Manasquan
Bauer missed his entire junior year after transferring to Manasquan from CBA and his senior year got off to a frustrating start as well when he came down with a hamstring injury less than two weeks into the season. Eventually, the Elon-bound right-hander made it back and when he was healthy, he was electric – both at the plate and on the mound. He pitched a one-hit shutout vs. Red Bank Catholic in the Monmouth County quarterfinals and in the Shore Conference quarterfinals, he hit a game-winning home run in the eighth inning to beat Middletown South.
Joey Ventresca, Sr., RHP/SS, Pinelands
When it comes to win-loss record, no pitcher in the Shore Conference was unluckier than Ventresca. Despite putting up an ERA on the right side of 1.50, a WHIP well under 1.00 and the fourth-highest strikeout total in the conference, the Monmouth-bound right-hander suffered five losses, with Pinelands scoring a grand total of three runs in the three starts he lost. Ventresca’s shining moment came in an NJSIAA South Jersey Group III win at Toms River South, where he went the distance on the mound and hit a two-run home run to cap Pinelands’ first ever NJSIAA Tournament win.
Aaron Ayers, Sr., RHP, Manalapan
Few pitchers in the Shore Conference were steadier than Ayers, who emerged as Manalapan’s big-game pitcher and one of its two workhorses at the top of the rotation. The senior right-hander beat Howell twice in the regular season and Freehold Township in the Monmouth County Tournament before doing his best work in Manalapan’s run in Group IV. Ayers posted a 1.05 ERA in 20 state tournament innings, throwing a two-hitter in a win over four-time defending Central Jersey Group IV champion Hunterdon Central and another two-hitter in a loss to Eastern.
Matt Potok, So., RHP, Jackson Memorial
Jackson Memorial coach Frank Malta and his staff have built up Potok at a slow-and-steady pace over his first two varsity seasons and in that relatively modest sample size, the 6-foot-5 right-hander has been nearly flawless. He did not allow a run in 15 innings last year and gave up only three in 34 innings as a sophomore this season. Potok’s 33-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio trailed only Trey Dombroski for the top mark in the Shore Conference and his 0.62 ERA was fourth among pitchers with 30 or more innings. With his command, frame and feel for pitching at a young age, Potok has a chance to be one of the state’s best over the next two years.
Joe Escandon, Sr., LHP, Christian Brothers Academy
The left-handed side of CBA’s one-two punch on the mound, Escandon wrapped up a stellar two-year run with his first SSN All-Shore campaign. Headed to Salve Regina University, Escandon put a big three-start run together in the middle of CBA’s season. He struck out a season-high eight in a win over Marlboro in the MCT round-of-16, pitched a two-hitter in a 3-1, regular-season win over Manalapan and took a no-hitter into the seventh in the MCT final vs. Ocean and settled for a two-hitter as CBA won its ninth county championship.
Dante Ciaramella, Sr., RHP, Monmouth
By the end of last season, Ciaramella started to show flashes of brilliance on the mound and in his final high school season, he made the jump to the upper-echelon of Shore Conference pitchers. His 86 strikeouts were second in the Shore Conference behind Trey Dombroski and the Monmouth University commit also finished in the top-10 in WHIP. Ciaramella pitched two postseason tournament gems during the season, throwing a four-hitter over six innings with nine strikeouts to beat Middletown South in the MCT first round and striking out 11 more in seven three-hit innings in a no-decision vs. Point Boro in the Central Jersey Group II first round.
Ben Levine, Sr., LHP, Manalapan
If there was a heart-and-soul player on Manalapan’s run to its first NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV title in seven years, it was the Braves 6-foot-4 left-hander. Levine threw more innings than any other pitcher in the Shore other than Trey Dombroski and Nick Guzzi and won two games during Manalapan’s run to the title, including the championship game vs. Old Bridge. Levine was also a clutch hitter, delivering walk-off hits in an MCT win over Middletown North and a first-round, extra-inning win over North Brunswick in Central Group IV.
Justin Kapuscinski, Sr., Marlboro
The Mustangs catcher and Marist recruit finished second in A North in slugging percentage and fared well vs. top pitchers and in big games. Kapuscinski went 4-for-11 with three doubles against the top duos from Manalapan (Aaron Ayers and Ben Levine) and CBA (Pat Reilly and Joe Escadon) and drove in a run in each of Marlboro’s games in its run to the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals.
Dave Howarth, Sr., C, Wall
Howarth’s first All-Shore selection is less about his numbers and more about his intangible value to the Shore’s No. 1 team. He helped manage arguably the Shore’s most dominant pitching staff of the last four years by calling every pitch of every game – a rare responsibility awarded high school catchers. The fourth-year starter also delivered at the plate in Wall’s biggest games, going 3-for-3 with two RBI in the Group III final and hitting .387 with two doubles and seven RBI in his team’s 11 tournament games.
Kevin Ritz, Sr., 1B/RHP, Jackson Liberty
There is no better example of the depth of Jackson Liberty’s lineup – the highest-scoring at the Shore this year – than the stats of its No. 8 hitter, Ritz. Not only did Ritz put up big numbers overall but he went 5-for-15 with a double and a homer vs. pitchers who made one of the three All-Shore teams.
Alex Gonzalez, Sr., 2B, Red Bank Catholic
A sparkplug out of the leadoff position and a standout defender at the keystone, Gonzalez did a little bit of everything for the Shore Conference Tournament champions during his senior season. Even his one home run came in a big spot – it accounted for the lone run in Red Bank Catholic’s 1-0 win over Class A Central rival Manasquan during the regular season.
Shane Hickey, Jr., 3B/RHP, Jackson Liberty
Not only was Hickey consistently a tough out and a clutch hitter for Jackson Liberty but with the Lions struggling to get outs on the mound, the junior became the team’s most reliable pitcher down the stretch as well. His numbers at the plate slipped near the end of the season with him carrying more of the pitching burden, but the final body of work remained All-Shore-worthy, especially with a .375 mark (6-for-16) against other All-Shore pitchers.
Kyle Brex, Sr., SS, Howell
Howell’s year started off promising thanks to its one-two pitching punch, but one half of that duo got injured and the Rebels had to scramble the rest of the way. They still won two tournament games and Brex had a large role in that effort, hitting 9-for-18 with two doubles and four RBI in Howell’s five games between the MCT, SCT and South Jersey Group IV Playoffs.
Cristian Corcione, Sr., 2B, Freehold Township
Corcione and Brex had seasons that were nearly carbon-copies of one another, so if one is on the All-Shore, the other just about has to be. Both A North infielders went 4-for-12 vs. All-Shore pitching and both hit .500 in tournament games. Corcione was 11-for-22 in the three tournaments, including 7-for-12 with a double and a homer in the MCT and a pair of dazzling defensive plays in his team’s CJ IV first-round win over Monroe.
Charlie Rudderow, Sr., LF, Jackson Liberty
Rudderow was not headliner in Jackson Liberty’s lineup but he played his role to perfection, slotting into the No. 2 spot in the order between First-Teamers Connor Keenan and David Melfi. Rudderow had two of Jackson Liberty’s biggest swings of the season, both of which were homers. He hit a tie-breaking home run in the fifth inning to beat Brick Memorial, 11-10, in the OCT quarterfinals and hit a walk-off, two-run home run to beat Colts Neck, 12-10, in the SCT round of 16.
John Foreman, Jr., CF, Manasquan
The 2019 season was a breakout year for Manasquan’s junior centerfielder, who finished fifth among all Shore Conference outfielders in batting average. Foreman came on strong for the Warriors late in the year, going 9-for-19 (.474) with two doubles and seven RBI in six games between the Shore Conference and Central Jersey Group II Tournaments.
Colin Mackle, Sr., CF, Toms River South
Even though his numbers did not match the ones he put up as a Third-Team All-Shore outfielder in 2018, Mackle was still a steady hitter at the top of Toms River South’s lineup. The Marist commit went 5-for-12 (.417) with a double against All-Shore pitching and was 6-for-14 (.429) in Toms River South’s four games between the OCT, SCT and South Jersey Group III Playoffs.
Rob Mannino, Jr., Colts Neck
Mannino was unable to catch this season due to injury but he still helped his team at the plate during a breakout junior season as a hitter. A talented backstop when healthy and a Rutgers commit, Mannino still managed to post an OPS of 1.170 and was an impressive 4-for-10 with a double, home run and a .600 on-base percentage when facing pitchers who made one of the three All-Shore teams.
Jack Povey, Sr., RHP/2B, Red Bank
Povey entered the season has an accomplished, high-profile pitcher headed to Villanova and when he was on his game, he lived up to the billing. He pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings vs. Wall, pitched a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over Ocean and struck out 14 in a win over St. John Vianney. As a bonus, Povey had his best offensive season and went 3-for-5 combined against All-Shore First-Teamers Trey Dombroski and Shane Panzini, including a double off Dombroski and an RBI vs. Panzini.
Jake Tennant, Sr., 3B/RHP, Raritan
One of the core pieces on Raritan’s Group II runner-up team from a year ago, Tennant built on his junior year with an even better showing at the plate and workmanlike numbers on the mound. Tennant was the only player at the Shore this season to throw at least 50 innings on the mound and post a slugging percentage better than .600 at the plate and one of his two homers this year came in Raritan’s state tournament loss to A.L. Johnson.
Ryan Napolitano, Sr., RHP, Wall
The lone blemish on Napolitano’s senior-year resume was the result of a five-run first inning that he followed up with five clean innings in a 5-3 loss to Manalapan in the SCT semifinals. Wall needed length out of Napolitano that day and just like he did in his three varsity seasons, Napolitano gave his team what it needed. Dombroski hogged the headlines for the last two years, but Napolitano was a major cog in the Shore’s most imposing rotation during the last three seasons.
Kevin Schoenberger, Sr., RHP, Ocean
By the numbers, Schoenberger was the No. 1 pitcher on the Shore’s No. 10 team and would have been the No. 1 on a lot of teams. His lone loss of the year came in the Monmouth County Tournament championship game and that was the result of six unearned runs scored by the Colts while the offense failed to generate a baserunner until the sixth inning. Schoenberger’s 1.14 ERA was 10th among Shore Conference pitchers with at least 40 innings of work this season.
Joe Princiotta, Sr., LHP, Jackson Memorial
Jackson Memorial’s pitching was a strength during its 20-5 season and Princiotta was a foundational member of the rotation. He settled in as a “weekend” starter, pitching games against some of Jackson Memorial’s toughest out-of-division opponents, as well as three tournament games. He picked up wins over Jackson Liberty, Somerville and Toms River North and even threw a one-hitter in a 1-0 OCT loss to Toms River East.
Nick Beetel, Jr., LHP, Jackson Memorial
Although he never quite found the groove that made him Jackson Memorial’s go-to starter by the end of the 2018 season, Beetel still had an impressive follow-up season. The junior left-hander saw his defense let him down in both his losses and both of his double-digit strikeout performances followed his two losses. Beetel struck out 11 in five innings vs. Brick and a career-high 13 vs. Toms River East in six.
Gabe Driscoll, Sr., RHP, Toms River South
Driscoll’s senior season got off to a less-than-ideal start when he was pulled after one inning on opening night vs. Jackson Memorial and gave up five runs vs. Lacey in his next start, but the 6-foot-5 senior responded with big season the rest of the way. He pitched a 10-inning complete game to beat Southern during the regular season and pitched a one-hitter with eight strikeouts, one walk and two unearned runs allowed in a 2-0 loss to Nick Guzzi and Point Boro in the OCT quarterfinals.
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