Baseball – 2021 Shore Conference Preview: Freehold Township
Although Freehold Township will miss a few key players that were set to make a significant different last season, the Patriots entered 2020 with a junior-heavy core that always had 2021 as a fallback. That fallback is now here in the form of a prove-it season, during which the Patriots will try to climb back to the top of Class A North while the division is about as deep and challenging as it has ever been.
Zach Gorman leads a trio of senior pitchers who will have to be at the center of any success the Patriots have this year. Gorman was an ace as a sophomore, pitching at an All-Shore level while also playing good defense in the outfield and providing plenty of spark in the lineup. Luke Mulhern and Matt Villapiano are the two senior left-handers who will follow Gorman and the Patriots will go where those three take them.
The Freehold Township offense will be a major key to the season and while the returning starters have not hit for much authority so far, they were only sophomores in 2019 and trying to hold their own in a very difficult division for underclassmen to shine. Chris Corchado and Patrick Burns return on the corners and will be the two big hitters behind Gorman at the top of the lineup, while senior catcher Griffin Murphy brings some experience back behind the plate.
Nick Kolozsvary is ready for a starting spot as a senior and will help replace valuable 2020 graduate Jarrett Urban in the lineup and in centerfield, while junior Ryan Keegan is primed for a strong season after making a case to be the starting shortstop as a sophomore before the season was halted.
The pitching should be a constant each day for Freehold Township, which should keep the Patriots in the hunt through the end of the year. If the experienced hitters in the Patriots lineup can make a big jump, they might lead be the team leading the hunt.
Freehold Twp. at a Glance
Head Coach: Todd Smith, 11th season
Key Losses: Jarrett Urban (OF/P), Andrew Reidy (C), Alec Schwartz (RHP), Mason Weeks (LHP), Mike Marino (OF/P), Zander Ginter (OF/RHP), Nick Schulman (2B), Patrick Borromeo (OF), Anthony Czarrunchick (C), Kyle Checkett (OF), Brian Lavelle (P), Brandon Ramos (RHP/SS)
Around the Diamond (Returning 2019 starters in bold with available stats)
Catcher: Griffin Murphy, Sr.
First Base: Chris Corchado, Sr. (.290/.372/.348, 4 2B, 13 R, 15 RBI, 6 SB)
Second Base: Sean Keegan, Jr.; Joe Zappulla, Sr.; Connor Morie, Sr.
Shortstop: Ryan Keegan, Jr.
Third Base: Patrick Burns, Sr. (.246/.413/.298, 3 2B, 10 R, 8 RBI)
Leftfield: Zach Gorman, Sr. (.296/.375/.310, 1 2B, 18 R, 8 RBI, 16 SB); Joe Zappulla, Sr.
Centerfield: Nick Kolozsvary, Sr.
Rightfield: Jon Olik, Jr.
Other Key Hitters
Andrew Foti, Jr., 3B
Matt Villapiano, Sr., DH
John Abrahamsen, Sr., OF
Doug Doyle, Sr., DH
Andrew Ackerman, Sr., OF
J.J. Donahue, Sr., 3B
Ryan Kopf, So., C
Zach Gorman, Sr., RHP (5-0, 2.47 ERA, 39.2 IP, 28 H, 13 BB, 39 K)
Luke Mulhern, Sr., LHP
Matt Villapiano, Sr., LHP
J.J. Donahue, Sr., RHP
Jack Hillermeier, Sr., RHP
Alex Foglia, Sr., RHP
Patrick Burns, Sr., RHP
John Abrahamsen, Sr., RHP
Andrew Foti, Jr., RHP
Zach Gorman – Wagner College
Chris Corchado – Post University
Patrick Burns – Belmont Abbey College
Nick Kolozsvary – Queens University of Charlotte
Griffin Murphy – Arcadia University
Luke Mulhern – Muhlenberg College
Matt Villapiano – Stevens Institute of Technology