Baseball – 2021 Shore Conference Preview: Middletown North
Without the Last Dance World Series in July, Middletown North would be one of the Shore’s sleeper teams heading into the 2021 season. Instead, the Lions are already on the radar as one of the conference’s five best rosters. That’s how well the Lions played in July, when they bludgeoned three straight opponents to make it to the knockout round in week two of the tournament.
Averaging better than 10 runs through the first week of the Last Dance was eye-opening, but Middletown North’s starting pitching was even more impressive. The difference-maker was Danny Frontera, who missed his sophomore year while recovering from Tommy John Surgery and came back firing bullets to give his team an unquestioned ace to complement the rest of the solid staff, as well as a dangerous lineup.
Senior Colin Dowlen is the other returning starter on the mound who was dominant in the Last Dance and both Dowlen and Frontera are also big hitters for the Lions. Sophomore Ryan Frontera and Tony Sansone will also get big innings as two-way players, so the top returning arms are also big hitters for Middletown North as well.
The other part of the two-way equation for Middletown North is catcher Andrew Lombardi – who has shown impressive power during the first half of his high school seasons and also works well with the pitching staff.
The supporting cast around that core of Danny Frontera, Dowlen and Lombardi will be the key to Middletown North taking this high school season even farther than it took the Last Dance run. Sophomore R.J. Kernan is overcoming an injury at the moment, which puts Middletown North down a starter in the middle of the order, but senior Kevin Lisser can make a difference at DH and Dom Scerbo and Tyler Sharkey are seniors looking to step up in the outfield.
The rest of Class A North is used to the unforgiving schedule that Middletown North is about to undertake after playing in B North, but the Lions have the pitching to compete with anyone and the unfinished business from the summer to tend to.
Middletown North at a Glance
Head Coach: Ryan McCabe, second season
Key Losses: Mike Roditis (2B), Ryan Rozinski (RHP/OF), Shane Doyle (1B), Jack Costigan (OF), Matt Maguire (3B), Richie Wall (OF)
Around the Diamond (Returning 2019 starters in bold with available stats)
Catcher: Andrew Lombardi, Jr.
First Base: Colin Dowlen, Sr.; Christian Malizia, Jr.; Karl Strauch, Jr.
Second Base: Michael Weinbel, Jr.; Ryan Frontera So.; Matt Sherwin, Sr.
Shortstop: Danny Frontera, Sr.; Ryan Frontera, So.
Third Base: Ryan Frontera, So.; Colin Dowlen, Sr. (RS)
Leftfield: Dom Scerbo, Sr.; Dylan Briggs, Fr.
Centerfield: Tyler Sharkey, Sr.; Matt Adamson, Jr.
Rightfield: Tony Sansone, Sr.; Kevin Lisser, Sr.
DH: Kevin Lisser, Sr.; Karl Strauch, Jr.; Nick Palmadesso (Jr., 3B)
Other Key Hitters
Aidan Sheehan (Jr., C)
Matt Klimovich (Jr., 1B)
Connor Clark (Jr., OF)
Ryan Fairhurst (Jr., OF)
R.J. Kernan (So., 1B)
Danny Frontera, Sr., RHP
Colin Dowlen, Sr., RHP
Ryan Frontera, So., RHP
Tony Sansone, Sr., LHP
Jaden Ascolese, Jr., RHP
Tyler Sharkey, Sr., RHP
Nick Palmadesso, Jr., RHP
Matt Adamson, Jr., RHP
Michael Weinbel, Jr., RHP
Connor Clark, Jr., RHP
Ryan Fairhurst, Jr., RHP
Christian Malizia, Sr., RHP
Karl Strauch, Jr., RHP
Dylan Briggs, Fr., RHP
Danny Frontera – Seton Hall University
Andrew Lombardi – Millersville University