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The stories of heartbreak for spring athletes around the country in 2020 are too many to count and Southern had two of them in Aiden Hosszu and Ricky Glascock. Both 2020 graduates missed almost their entire junior seasons due to injury and were primed for big senior-year comebacks, only to have the COVID-19 pandemic wipe it out.

Southern had a chance to surprise the rest of Ocean County with those two senior leaders healthy and should still feel good about its chances now that baseball is back one year later. The pitching will be unproven, but the Rams lineup is littered with players who have already tasted the varsity life – a couple of whom have had some real success as well.

Southern senior Mike Gallaro. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Mike Gallaro will be one of the Shore’s top all-around catchers after an impressive showing as a sophomore while centerfielder Kevin Cooney a major factor as a sophomore. Xavier Hendricks, Jack Plesniarski and Brad Mills also saw time back in 2019 and will be senior strongholds in the everyday lineup. With a complementary effort from newcomers Killian Horne, sophomore Dominic Miranda, junior Stephen Stafford and junior Brennan Book, the Rams have the makings of a potent lineup.

The rotation is much less settled heading into the season but the Rams are hopeful they have a collection of arms ready to break out. Plesniarski got a chance to pitch important innings as a sophomore and will lead the staff. Left-hander Mike Mucci and right-hander Taylor Munt were ready for starting assignments last year and will enter 2020 as hungry seniors.

Southern junior Kevin Cooney. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Southern at a Glance

Head Coach: Keith Cocuzza, sixth season
Key Losses: Aiden Hosszu (3B), Ricky Glascock (RHP/1B)

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

Catcher: Mike Gallaro, Sr. (.390/.457/.463, 3 2B, 7 R, 9 RBI)

First Base: Brad Mills, Sr.

Second Base: Killian Horne, Sr.

Shortstop: Jack Plesniarski, Sr.

Third Base: Dominic Miranda, So.; Brennan Book, Jr.; Stephen Stafford, Jr.

Leftfield: Xavier Hendricks, Sr.

Centerfield: Kevin Cooney, Sr. (.295/.362/.344, 3 2B, 11 R, 6 RBI, 6 SB)

Rightfield: Brennan Book, Jr.; Stephen Stafford, Jr.

DH: Stephen Stafford, Jr.; Brennan Book, Jr.; Dominic Miranda, So.; Brad Mills, Sr.

Other Key Hitters

Nick Desiderio (Sr., 2B/SS/OF)

Mike Mucci (Sr., 1B)

Pitchers

Jack Plesniarski, Sr., RHP

Mike Mucci, Sr., LHP

Taylor Munt, Jr., RHP

Stephen Stafford, Jr., RHP

Nick Desiderio, Sr., RHP

Killian Horne, Sr., RHP

Xavier Hendricks, Sr., RHP

 

College Commitments

Jack Plesniarski – Rochester Institute of Technology

Mike Mucci – Delaware Tech

Brad Mills – Wells College

Killian Horne – Belmont Abbey College

Xavier Hendricks – Chestnut Hill College

Mike Gallaro – Salve Regina University