Baseball – 2021 Shore Conference Preview: Donovan Catholic
It took Corey Hamman five seasons to build Lacey into a Class B South championship team and the way things are going, that timeline might be conservative for his rebuild at Donovan Catholic. The Griffins have gotten solid play from their seniors since Hamman took over and this year should be more of the same in that regard, but the countdown is on for a talented group of underclassmen to elevate into the starting lineup over the next two seasons.
Centerfielder Sam Gates and catcher Joe Payne are two returning senior starters and shortstop Tyler Hmielewski and leftfielder Anthony Mursko are juniors back in the fold as well. Leftfielder Evyn Menta is another senior moving into the lineup and second baseman Andrew Bonick adds to the juniors in the order.
The sophomore class will make an instant impact on the infield corners, with Martin Dwyer and Rocco Scarpitti the candidates at first and among them for the designated hitter job. Gavin Degnan will start at third base and could also work in at shortstop, while John Grano and Ryan Butchko compete for outfield and DH at-bats. Lucas Zydzik and Hunter Johnson are two more sophomores who can catch and will be players to watch over the next two years.
Donovan Catholic’s pitching staff will be senior-led, with Matt Colucci and Bob Nosti at the top coming off strong sophomore campaigns. Junior Shaun O’Keefe and senior Andrew Castro are two more experienced arms while Grano and classmates Brian Padilla and Jason Basilcata make up the youth movement within the rotation. If the sophomores are ready to shine, Donovan Catholic could make its move this year and even with a more modest season from the underclassmen, the seniors and juniors are ready to contend.
Donovan Catholic at a Glance
Head Coach: Corey Hamman, second season
Key Losses: Liam Leonard (OF), Christian McElroy (UTIL), Mike Faranaccio (SS), Damian Johnson (OF), Pat Dowling (P), Jack Renaud (RHP/1B) – transferred to Ranney
Around the Diamond (Returning 2019 starters in bold with available stats)
Catcher: Joe Payne, Sr.
First Base: Martin Dwyer, So.; Rocco Scarpitti, So.; Anthony Mursko, Jr.
Second Base: Andrew Bonick, Jr.
Shortstop: Tyler Hmielewski, Jr.; Gavin Degnan, So.
Third Base: Gavin Degnan, So.; Anthony Mursko, Jr.; Andrew Bonick, Jr.
Left Field: Evyn Menta, Sr.; Ryan Butchko, So.
Center Field: Sam Gates, Sr. (.203/.352/.257, 4 2B, 11 R, 11 RBI, 11 SB)
Right Field: Anthony Mursko, Jr. (.297/.352/.313, 1 2B, 8 R, 12 RBI); John Grano, So.
Other Key Hitters
Ryan Dever (Jr., OF)
Lucas Zydzik (So., C)
Hunter Johnson (Fr., C)
Bob Nosti, Sr., RHP (2-6, 3.21 ERA, 28.1 IP, 37 H, 18 BB, 16 K)
Matt Colucci, Sr., RHP (2-2, 1.81 ERA, 31 IP, 30 H, 19 BB, 21 K)
Shaun O’Keefe, Jr., LHP
Brian Padilla, So., RHP
Jason Basilcata, So., RHP
John Grano, So., RHP
Nate Watson, Jr., RHP
Joe Ruggiero, Sr., RHP
Nick Dowling, Jr., RHP
Andrew Castro, Sr., RHP
Anthony Mursko, Jr., RHP
Sam Gates – George Washington University
Matt Colucci – Alvernia University
Bob Nosti – Stockton University
Tyler Hmielewski – Susquehanna University