Baseball – Howell Slugger Strauch, Central No-Hit Hurler Bell Nab Ocean Sports Medicine Weekly Awards
Ocean County Sports Medicine Week 3 Player of the Week
Thomas Strauch, Howell
As the calendar nears May -- not quite halfway through the 2022 high school baseball calendar in New Jersey, but halfway through the overall schedule for a lot of teams in the state -- Howell senior Thomas Strauch is tied for the Shore Conference home run lead with five longballs. As often happens with home run hitters, those five homers have come as part of a week-plus power surge by the Rebels shortstop.
Strauch went on a home run tear last week, blasting four long balls in three games, including a three in two games against Freehold Township. Strauch hit a 10th-inning grand slam in a 10-4 Rebels win over the Patriots, then belted two home runs in a 12-2 Howell win over Freehold Township.
Since going off on Freehold Township, Strauch blasted a home run in a loss to Caldwell on Saturday, then cracked another one in a payback win over CBA on Tuesday, giving him five home runs in a span of nine days. While it is true Strauch plays his home games at a field that has an especially short fence in left field for him and other right-handed hitters to target, two of Strauch's five dingers have come on the road: the clutch grand slam vs. Freehold Township and the his two-run blast in the win over CBA this week.
Strauch won the Week 3 Player of the Week award with 37.4 percent of the vote, beating out runner-up Tyler Spencer of Colts Neck (27 percent).
Ocean County Sports Medicine Week 3 Pitcher of the Week
Tyler Bell, Central
Last week, Central coach Jerry Frulio opted to hold back his senior ace, University of Central Florida commit Cam Leiter, in order to have him fully rested to pitch against Jackson Memorial this past Monday.
Central may not have pitched Leiter last week, but the Golden Eagles still got a memorable pitching performance. In a 10-0 win over Toms River East, Bell pitched a no-hitter with three walks and five strikeouts, clinching it when Central scored its 10th run in the bottom of the sixth to end the game.
A junior left-hander, Bell was making just his second career start when he took the mound at Al Kunzman Field on April 22. He pitched two effective two-inning relief outings against Point Boro and state-ranked No. 2 St. Augustine to start the season, earning him his first career start -- a win over Brick on April 13.
In his fourth career outing, Bell put it all together, allowing just five Raiders batters to reach: three on walks, one hit batter and one on an error. Bell struck out five in earning his second win of the season.
For winning the Player and Pitcher of the Week awards, both Strauch and Bell will receive a Player of the Week shirt courtesy of Ocean County Sports Medicine.
2022 Player/Pitcher of the Week Winners