Baseball – 2021 Shore Conference Preview: Southern
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.
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 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)
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
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