Baseball – 2021 Shore Conference Preview: St. John Vianney
Heading into each of the past two seasons, St. John Vianney had a young-but-talented team that showed the potential to do some special things in due time. That time is now coming due, as the Lancers return a group of players who were promising sophomores and freshmen the last time they were on a high school field and are now some of the top players in the Shore Conference.
The headliner at St. John Vianney is junior Rocko Brzezniak, who clobbered seven home runs and slugged over .900 during a First-Team-All-Shore freshman season in 2019. The Louisville commit is the eye-catching talent on the field for the Lancers, but the development of the rest of the squad is what has SJV thinking big heading into 2021.
On the mound, the Lancers are poised to have what shapes up to be their best pitching staff since winning the NJSIAA Non-Public championship in 2014. Senior Ryan Sekman is a hard-thrower from the left-side of the rubber and has already served the role of ace as a sophomore. Seniors Thomas Wright, Dominic McCaffery and Evan Pollack are all ready to step up their roles, with Wright throwing a six-inning no-hitter in July’s Last Dance World Series and Pollack – who is still rounding into form while recovering from an injury, according to coach Mike Morgan – pitching well in relief as a sophomore.
Sophomore Aiden Cody is the newcomer to the staff and with a fastball that crosses into the 90-miles-per-hour-plus range, he could ascend to the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Sekman.
St. John Vianney has an abundance at catcher, with senior Jacob Ramirez and junior Kyle Pollack. Both are promising hitters as well, with Ramirez already putting up solid numbers as the starter in 2019, so whichever player does not claim the bulk of the starting duties will get the bulk of the at-bats as designated hitter.
John Furch and Matteo Pasculli are first-year starters at the infield corners, but were ready for starting roles as juniors last season. Pasculli tore the cover off the ball during SJV’s one-week stay in the Last Dance World Series last July, so he has already shown he can be a major run-producer. Dylan Galamb and Dylan Afflito are candidates for the second base job, with Afflito serving as a Swiss-Army Knife for Morgan.
Afflito could also land a starting outfield spot in certain lineups, with two-way junior Nick Ferraoli projecting as the centerfielder and Sekman playing in one of the corners when he doesn’t pitch. Juniors Brady Ostick and Drew Montgomery – the latter of whom was injured and unable to play a year ago – are other outfield bats to watch, as well as a collection of seniors in Jaydan Figueroa, J.P. Glick and Nick Loumaskos.
Everything has to come together after a year off, but St. John Vianney has the makings of a team that can contend for every title in front of the Lancers in 2021.
St. John Vianney at a Glance
Head Coach: Mike Morgan, 14th season
Key Losses: Ryan Chin (Sr., RHP), Domenic Cerniglia (Sr., INF/OF), John Higgins (Sr., OF), Robert Lehan (Sr., RHP), Ryan DiPede (Sr., OF)
Around the Diamond (Returning 2019 starters in bold with available stats)
Catcher: Jacob Ramirez, Sr. (.305/.438/.458, 6 2B, 1 HR, 11 R, 13 RBI); Kyle Pollack, Jr.
First Base: John Furch, Sr., 1B
Second Base: Dylan Galamb, Jr.; Dylan Afflito, Sr.
Shortstop: Rocko Brzezniak, Jr. (.508/.608/.952, 5 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 20 R, 26 RBI, 6 SB); Dylan Afflito, Sr.
Third Base: Matteo Pasculli, Sr.; Dylan Afflito, Sr.
Leftfield: Brady Oswick, Jr.; Dylan Afflito, Sr.; Matteo Pasculli, Sr.; Drew Montgomery, Jr.
Centerfield: Nick Ferraoili, Jr.; Dylan Afflito, Sr.
Rightfield: Ryan Sekman, Sr. (.263/.317/.316, 2 2B, 6 R, 6 RBI); Drew Montgomery, Jr. (.226/.400/.290, 2 2B, 9 R, 6 RBI)
DH: Kyle Pollack, Jr.; Jacob Ramirez, Sr.
Other Key Hitters
Robert Smith (Sr., UTIL)
J.P Glick (Sr., OF)
Jaydan Figueroa (Sr., OF)
Nick Loumaskos (Sr., OF)
Thomas Wright (Sr., OF)
Dominic McCaffery (Sr., OF)
Ryan Sekman, Sr., LHP (3-3, 2.84 ERA, 44.1 IP, 37 H, 25 BB, 49 K)
Aiden Cody, So., RHP
Thomas Wright, Sr., RHP
Evan Pollack, Sr., RHP (0-3, 2.30 ERA, 21.1 IP, 22 H, 9 BB, 21 K)
Dominic McCaffery, Sr., RHP
Nick Ferraioli, Jr., LHP
Robert Smith, Sr., RHP
J.P. Glick, Sr., RHP
Rocko Brzezniak, Jr., RHP
Ryan Sekman – Rowan University
J.P. Glick – Drew University
Evan Pollack – Stockton University