Baseball – 2021 Shore Conference Preview: Class B Central
2021 Shore Sports Network Baseball Preview - Class B Central
There has always been a haves-and-have-nots element to the Shore Conference Class B Central division and every so often, enough of the smaller Group I teams would step up, compete with the perennial contenders and make for a fun season.
This season, with so many schools and programs dealing with the residual impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, small-school programs are feeling additional strain that larger programs are better equipped to absorb.
Nowhere is that more evident than in taking a look around the Class B Central landscape, where two teams are armed for, perhaps, the best seasons in their respective histories. Meanwhile, one program has closed up shop for the year and four others are just trying to stay afloat and make it to what we all hope is something close to a normal school year in 2021-22.
Ranney and Point Pleasant Beach appear ready for big seasons, but even that has its complications as Point Beach will be shut down due to COVID-19 protocol until April 29 - just five days before the two division favorites are schedule to meet for the first of two games in three days.
Meanwhile, Asbury Park has decided it will not be able to field a team in 2021, according to its athletic department. At the moment, that will be a one-year hiatus for the Blue Bishops but it remains to be seen what the impact of not fielding a baseball team for two consecutive springs will have on the program.
Elsewhere, Mater Dei Prep lost 13 seniors to graduation as well as a longtime head coach, Keyport is playing with a dozen players, Keansburg does not have much more and Henry Hudson will be starting at least five freshmen.
The hope is the hard times won't last beyond this season and even if this year is a challenge, the good news is there will still be baseball games to play.
Class B Central Projected Standings (Click on Team for Individual Preview)
6. Henry Hudson
Class B Central Lineup (with 2019 stats if available)
David Terra-Nova, Sr., C, Point Beach (.318/.423/.485, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 R, 13 RBI)
Lou Spadafora, Jr., C, Ranney (.333/.500/.461, 5 2B, 11 R, 12 RBI)
Alec Glen, Sr., 1B, Point Beach (.473/.518/.581, 6 2B, 1 3B, 12 R, 27 RBI)
Phil Trebour, Sr., SS, Point Beach (.290/.432/.377, 2 2B, 2 3B, 18 R, 14 RBI, 10 SB)
Brett Wehringer, So., SS, Ranney (.375/.507/.393, 1 2B, 25 R, 11 RBI, 16 SB)
Dev Bhatnagar, Sr., OF, Ranney (.254/.379/.473, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 20 R, 14 RBI, 12 SB)
A.J. Gracia, So., CF, Ranney
Charlie Chropuvka, Jr., OF, Ranney (.554/.662/.786, 13 2B, 22 R, 24 RBI, 18 SB)
Hunter Alia, Sr., CF, Point Beach (.313/.409/.313, 22 R, 8 RBI, 15 SB)
Class B Central Pitching Staff (with 2019 stats if available)
Matt VanBrunt, Sr., RHP, Point Beach (3-2, 2.24 ERA, 25 IP, 28 H, 10 BB, 15 K)
Anthony Longo, Jr., RHP, Keyport (3-2, 2.61 ERA, 32.1 IP, 27 H, 9 BB, 32 K)
Nick Coniglio, So., RHP, Ranney
Marcello Mastroianni, So., LHP, Ranney
Jack Renaud, So., RHP, Ranney
Class B Central Breakouts to Watch
Sean Lachky, Sr., C/RHP, Keyport
Jack DiPaolo, Jr., CF/RHP, Keyport
Connor Graf, Sr., SS, Keansburg
Waylon Manoes, Sr., INF/RHP, Keansburg
Jack Olausen, Sr., 1B/RHP, Mater Dei Prep
Sean Hanna, So., SS/RHP, Mater Dei Prep
Jake Jacobsen, Jr., OF, Mater Dei Prep
Andrew Banick, Sr., RHP/OF, Point Beach
Owen West, Jr., LHP, Point Beach
Jack Tallent, So., 3B, Ranney