Baseball – Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week: Point Boro
When the Point Pleasant Boro baseball team lost in the South Jersey Group II championship game to Haddonfield to end the 2018 season, many of the core players and starters in the group knew they would be back in 2019.
Over the last two weeks, the Panthers have lived up to that expectation and them some.
In the last two weeks in May, Point Boro won its first ever Ocean County Tournament championship and followed that up with the program's third ever NJSIAA sectional championship and first since 2006. At the end of the day Friday, Point Boro was the only Shore Conference team to win two tournament titles this season and for that, the Panthers are the final Jersey Mike's Team of the Week of the 2019 season.
To win its first ever Ocean County Tournament, Point Boro had to overcome Jackson Liberty in the championship game - a team that defeated the Panthers twice during the Shore Conference Class B South regular season, including one game started by Point Boro junior ace Nick Guzzi.
Guzzi took the ball against Jackson Liberty on May 16 and had his roughest outing of the season, allowing seven runs - four earned while pitching into the sixth inning. It did not matter because Point Boro's offense put up 10 runs on the Lions and captured the OCT title by a 10-7 score.
After Jackson Liberty rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie the game, junior Sam Young drilled a tie-breaking two-run double to put the Panthers ahead for good, 7-5. Senior center fielder Christian Aurin later made a tremendous running, over-the-shoulder catch on a deep drive by Kevin Ritz in the sixth inning that prevented extra-bases.
Sam Collins came on to pitch the end of the game and recorded the final three outs to seal the win.
Young, Collins and Guzzi all played key roles two weeks later, when Point Boro took on Robbinsville in the Central Group II championship. Collins pitched an eight-inning complete game and in the bottom of the final inning, Guzzi started the winning rally with a lead-off single.
After a sacrifice bunt by senior Paul Franceschini, Young came to the plate and jumped on the first pitch he saw, lining a single down the line in left to score Guzzi from second and complete Point Boro's run to a sectional title - a run that ended one win short of the destination one year earlier.
2019 Team of the Week Winners