Baseball – 2021 Shore Conference Preview: Central
There is a buzz back at Central heading into 2021 and a lot of it has to do with the name that put the school on the map during the 80’s and 90’s, when its most famous alumni was in his baseball prime. Not only did Al Leiter make a generous donation to reconstruct Central’s baseball field – a project that is expected to take most of the spring but could be completed before the conclusion of the season – but his nephew and brother are now part of the program.
Cam Leiter – the son of Al’s older brother and the new pitching coach at Central, Kurt Leiter – will be the right-handed ace of the staff in 2021 after the family moved from the Vancouver area before the start of the last school year. Leiter gave Central a small dose of his stuff during the Last Dance World Series, but other than that, the Shore is still just getting to know the 6-foot-2 hurler with the familiar last name.
It was not too long ago that Central was among Ocean County’s contenders, with the Golden Eagles reaching the Shore Conference Tournament final just three years ago. It has been a process for coach Jerry Frulio, who returned as the head coach in 2019, to get develop the next competitive group, but a surprising win over Jackson Memorial in 2019 and the return of the Leiter gene pool have been exciting moments that have led to a promising start to 2021.
The pitching staff will be inexperienced but can boast some depth, with Jeremy Bruner, Ryan Burke, Joe Viespoli and Shane Sajewicz among the arms following Leiter in the rotation.
Offensively, there will be a little more varsity know-how returning, led by well-rounded senior centerfielder Evan Agrapides. Sajewicz and Trevor Coltenback are also back after playing two years ago, while catcher Rob Schneider and Nico Argento are seniors who were ready to go as junior starters a year ago.
The middle-infield will be a duo to watch and a key for Central, with sophomore Dan Masino playing shortstop and Grany Tillet ticketed for second base. Leiter also has some power at the plate that should be a weapon for Central, which is hoping to push toward the top of Class A South over the next two seasons.
Central at a Glance
Head Coach: Jerry Frulio, 10th season
Key Losses: Mike Masino (RHP/SS), Dan Greene (RHP/1B), Gavin Whalen (2B/RHP), Nick Firetto (C), Ryan Black (OF), Mike Ottomanelli (3B), Javier Rios (OF), Eddie Jacoby (1B), Seth Kirwan (2B)
Around the Diamond (Returning 2019 starters in bold with available stats)
Catcher: Rob Schneider, Sr.
First Base: Shane Sajewicz, Jr.
Second Base: Grant Tillet, Jr.; Conner Shea, Sr.
Shortstop: Dan Masino, So.; Kyle McQuinllan, Sr.
Third Base: Trevor Coltenback, Sr.
Leftfield: Nico Argento, Sr.
Centerfield: Evan Agrapides, Sr. (.273/.342/.379, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 R, 5 RBI)
Rightfield: Billy Sottilare, Jr.; Chase Pierce, So.
DH: Cam Leiter, Jr.
Other Key Hitters
Ryan Burgess (Sr., OF)
Anthony Musso (Jr., OF)
Jeremy Bruner (Sr., INF)
Cory Van Den Berg (Jr., C)
Cristian Soto (Fr., C)
Cam Leiter, Jr., RHP
Jeremy Bruner, Sr., RHP
Ryan Burke, Jr., RHP
Joe Viespoli, Sr., RHP
Shane Sajewicz, Jr., LHP
Connor Shea, Sr., RHP
Anthony Musso, Jr., RHP
Billy Sottilare, Jr., RHP
Cam Leiter – University of Central Florida