Baseball – 2021 Shore Conference Preview: Brick
Two years removed from a .500 showing (7-7) in Class A South play, Brick brings back a group of players who got significant experience during that season. The Green Dragons will be especially promising on the mound, where seniors John Wade and Ethan Gonzalez return after handling a bulk of the 2019 innings. Wade it a big right-hander who is also the team’s top returning hitter, while Gonzalez is a left-hander who could also find his way into the lineup for regular at-bats this year.
Senior right-hander John McFadden will be an x-factor in the rotation this year after missing out on a chance to show off his ability as a junior in 2020. Coach Jay Groschel was excited about McFadden’s potential as a junior so he will be a key cog in 2021 despite not yet logging any varsity innings.
Like Wade, McFadden will have an important spot in the field and the batter order as the projected starting centerfielder when he is not on the mound. He will be new to that position, but shortstop Jesse Evensen, catcher Robbie Blair and second baseman Ryan Duffy all return with varsity experience. Of those three, Duffy is the only one moving to a new position, sliding to the keystone from third base.
Brian Yacovchuk and Ethan Keegans lead the junior group of position players and Jake Billheimer, Matt Kunzman and R.J. Reingold can add to the cause as both as pitchers and hitters. The middle of Class A South is going to be jammed with quality teams and when the dust settles, Brick has the capacity to finish in the top half of the always-competitive division.
Brick at a Glance
Head Coach: Jay Groschel, 15th season
Key Losses: Anthony Prato (CF), Robbie Page (RHP/OF), Dan Scheri (2B), Nick Guiro (RHP/SS), Kyle Chirichello (P/1B)
Around the Diamond (Returning 2019 starters in bold with available stats)
Catcher: Robbie Blair, Sr.
First Base: John Wade, Sr. (.369/.444/.415, 3 2B, 12 R, 13 RBI); Ethan Gonzalez, Sr.
Second Base: Ryan Duffy, Sr.
Shortstop: Jesse Evensen, Sr.
Third Base: Brian Yacovchuk, Jr.; Matt Kunzman, Jr.
Leftfield: Ethan Keegans, Jr.; Joe Scamardella, Jr.; Matt Kunzman, Jr.
Centerfield: John McFadden, Sr.; Joe Scamardella, Jr.; R.J. Reindhold, Jr.
Rightfield: Jake Billheimer, Sr.; R.J. Reinhold, Jr.
DH: Christian Kuhl (Sr., 1B); Nick Hoheb (Jr., C)
Other Key Hitters
Jimmy Schreiner (Jr., 2B)
A.J. Grygiel (So., 2B)
Vincenzo Caldarise (Jr., UTIL)
John Wade, Sr., RHP (1-3, 2.01 ERA, 31.1 IP, 33 H, 9 BB, 36 K)
Ethan Gonzalez, Sr., LHP (2-1, 3.43 ERA, 26.2 IP, 32 H, 22 BB, 27 K)
John McFadden, Sr., RHP
Jake Bilheimer, Sr., RHP
Jesse Evensen, Sr., RHP
Matt Kunzman, Jr., RHP
Jimmy Schreiner, Jr., RHP
R.J. Reinhold, Jr., RHP
Kyle McFadden, Jr., RHP
Kyle Knowsley, So., RHP
John Wade – Brookdale Community College
Ethan Gonzalez – Montclair State University
John McFadden – Army
Jesse Evensen – Rutgers-Newark