Baseball – Middletown South’s Joe Stanzione Breaks Shore Conference Home Run Record
Joe Stanzione did not quite put the Shore Conference home-run record in his rearview mirror before turning his attention fully to helping his Middletown South baseball team win a second straight NJSIAA Group IV championship.
The good news for Stanzione is crushing baseballs is his job description and once again, he did his job very well on Wednesday afternoon in the first round of the NJSIAA Tournament and it landed him in exclusive company.
Stanzione connected on his 15th home run of the 2022 season Wednesday with a two-run shot in the second inning to set a new Shore Conference single-season record and the top-seeded Eagles coasted to an 8-1 win over No. 16 Princeton in the Central Jersey Group IV opening round.
In Saturday's 3-0 win over Steinert, Stanzione hit his 14th home run to tie 1994 Jackson Memorial graduate Marc Fink, who set the record during his senior campaign. In his second at-bat on Wednesday, Stanzione moved past Fink and into first place all by himself atop the list of the Shore's all-time single-season sluggers.
The record-breaking home run came in the bottom of the third inning. Stanzione crushed a pitch from Princeton's Kenny Schiavone over the fence in left-centerfield to extend Middletown South's lead to 3-0. The homer also marked the 100th hit of Stanzione's career.
Stanzione is also now three home runs away from matching the single-season record for the entire state of New Jersey, which is held by two players who graduated within the past decade-and-a-half. Before he was a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels and won three American League MVP awards, Mike Trout set the single-season record with 18 homers as a senior at Millville in 2009.
Six years later, Ramsey's Ashton Bardzell tied Trout's record and the two still share the record today.
Stanzione will try to add to his new record while creeping closer to Trout and Bardzell when Middletown South hosts East Brunswick Saturday in the Central Group IV quarterfinals.