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No program in New Jersey was completely unaffected by the cancellation of the 2020 baseball season and that includes this year’s Lacey squad. The young Lions lost a year of playing together and developing toward what they hope will be a team that can compete for an Ocean County Tournament and NJSIAA South Jersey Group III title.

With that being said, no team in the Shore Conference maintained its roster from 2020 to 2021 more than Lacey did, with the Lions bringing back all of their expected starters from a year ago. It is true that those starters are all skipping over important junior and sophomore seasons, but that is true of every team’s players – at least with respect to high-school at-bats.

Lacey’s strength will be at the top of its rotation, led by seniors Jacob Bowles and Nick Zarycki. Bowles has emerged as one of the division’s best arms and Zarycki has been a rotation staple since his freshman season. The rest of the rotation doesn’t have nearly the experience, so Michael Todaro and sophomores Zach Mohr and Noah Quinn will be x-factors for the Lions.

Lacey junior Jacob Bowles. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Todaro will also be an important part of the lineup as the team’s starting shortstop – a position he was set to assume as a sophomore in 2020. Classmate Matt McClung is another new starter on the other side of the bag at second base and Mohr and Quinn will start in the corner outfield spots, with Mohr able to interchange with McClung at second.

The rest of the lineup will be seniors and experienced ones at that. Brandon DeAngelo is one of the Class B South division’s top returning catchers and Donnie Kirk one of its best all-around centerfielders. Matt Kaliske is also a big bat at first base and Josh Fracasso played multiple infield spots as a sophomore.

The division is wide open with multiple contenders and a first-place finish would be a big jump for Lacey, but the Lions are only four years removed from being a 21-win division champion and again have the makings of a team ready to strike.

Lacey at a Glance

Head Coach: Adam Taha, second season
Key Losses: None

Around the Diamond (Returning 2019 starters in bold with available stats)

Catcher: Brandon DeAngelo, Sr. (.282/.352/.346, 5 2B, 12 R, 15 RBI)

First Base: Matt Kaliske, Sr. (.227/.322/.293, 5 2B, 9 R, 15 RBI)

Second Base: Matt McClung, Jr.; Zack Mohr, So.

Shortstop: Michael Todaro, Jr.

Third Base: Josh Fracasso, Sr.

Leftfield: Noah Quinn, So.

Centerfield: Donnie Kirk, Sr. (.300/.417/.380, 4 2B, 10 R, 8 RBI)

Rightfield: Zack Mohr, So.; Matt McClung, Jr.

DH: Jacob Bowles (Sr., 1B/3B)

Pitchers

Jacob Bowles, Sr., RHP (3-3, 1.69 ERA, 29 IP, 32 H, 14 BB, 20 K)

Nick Zarycki, Sr., RHP (2-4, 3.35 ERA, 46 IP, 52 H, 12 BB, 29 K)

Michael Todaro, Jr., RHP

Noah Quinn, So., RHP

Zack Mohr, So., RHP

 

College Commitments

Brandon DeAngelo – Kean University

Jacob Bowles – Brookdale Community College