Baseball – Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week: Colts Neck
Last year, the Colts Neck baseball team scored one of the 2018 Shore Conference season's biggest wins when the Cougars upended Wall, 11-8, in the Monmouth County Tournament round of 16.
After beating the top-seeded Crimson Knights, the Cougars finished the season with a 1-10 slide over their final 11 games.
Last week, Colts Neck again had a chance to beat Wall - then unbeaten and ranked No. 2 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - and this time, after finishing the job against the Crimson Knights and winning the second Jersey Mike's Team of the Week Award of 2019, the Cougars intend to build on it.
Senior Reece Horneck hit a walk-off double to right field that drove in the tying run and allowed the winning run to score on an error, giving Colts Neck a 7-6 win over the previously-unbeaten Crimson Knights on Thursday, April 18.
That win over Wall extended Colts Neck's winning streak to five games and the Cougars made it six straight with a win over Holmdel earlier this week in the Monmouth County Tournament opening round.
Horneck is one of three Colts Neck hitters batting .400 or better and all three have a slugging percentage better than .700 to boot. Horneck is hitting .424/.474/.758 with two doubles, three triples, a homer and 14 RBI and has also been as clutch as any player at the Shore this season with his three game-winning hits in the sixth inning or later.
Junior Rob Mannino and senior Dan Cowles are also putting up huge offensive seasons, with Mannino leading the team in average (.565), on-base percentage (.706), slugging percentage (1.000), runs scored (12) and doubles (five). Cowles is hitting .400/.541/.760 with four doubles, a triple, a home run and 10 RBI, including a game-winning, walk-off single in a win over Middletown North on April 12.
Colts Neck's pitching has been a group effort, with junior Justin Coppola (26 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings), senior Walter Jordan and sophomore Chase Masterson (20 strikeouts, 1.27 ERA in 11 innings) all coming up with key outings as starters. Senior Adrian Jimenez has been a weapon out of the bullpen with his 3-0 record, 11 strikeouts and sub-1.00 WHIP in 9 1/3 innings - all in relief.
The Cougars will aim for their second straight Monmouth County Tournament quarterfinal appearance as a double-digit seed when they travel to Manasquan Saturday in the tournament's round of 16. If the 12th-seeded Cougars can knock off the No. 5 Warriors, they would play the winner of No. 20 Red Bank and No. 4 Red Bank Catholic on Sunday, should the schedule remain unaffected by the weather.
2019 Teams of the Week Winners