NEPTUNE - Even before this season started, Neptune senior Sebastian Jno-Baptiste and a handful of his classmates were been part of one of the more memorable seasons in Neptune's baseball history as well as one of its most forgettable.

This season was a chance to make or break their high-school careers and they continued to show on Wednesday that they are ready to make some more memories.

Jno-Baptiste added to his bounceback season on the mound with a complete-game shutout and aided his cause with a double and two RBI in a 1-for-2 game at the plate as Neptune blanked Pinelands, 8-0, in the opening round of the Shore Conference Tournament.

Jack Smith (21) welcomes Neptune teammate Ron Cole to the plate. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Jack Smith (21) welcomes Neptune teammate Ron Cole to the plate. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Neptune is just two years removed from reaching the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III final and losing to a powerhouse Allentown team in extra innings as a No. 14 seed. The Scarlet Fliers are also one year removed from an agonizing, 3-19 season that opened with such promise after the deep state-tournament run one year earlier.

On Wednesday, they played in their first Shore Conference Tournament game since 2009.

Baptiste was a prominent player on both teams, as were current senior Ron Cole and junior Rocco Richard. On Wednesday, Cole continued his big offensive season by going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI while Richard built on his breakout campaign with a triple and an RBI.

Neptune took a 2-0 lead Wednesday by scratching a pair of runs across - the first on a Kyle Bailey walk with the bases loaded in the fourth and the second on an error in the fifth.

The Fliers blew the game open in the sixth, with RBI extra-base hits from Jno-Baptiste, Cole and Richard. Richard made it 3-0 with his RBI triple, sophomore Brian Young singled in the fourth run and Jno-Baptiste opened the floodgates with a two-run double to make the score 6-0.

Junior Jett Tinik followed with an RBI single and Cole capped the scoring with his run-scoring double.

Jno-Baptiste scattered eight hits, walked just one and struck out two in the first complete-game win of his career. The senior and primary center fielder for Neptune pitched a six-inning complete game in a loss to Wall earlier in the season.

Neptune senior Sebastian Jno-Baptiste. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Neptune senior Sebastian Jno-Baptiste. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Prior to this season, Jno-Baptiste had pitched 19 innings over the previous two seasons with mixed results. He sported a 3.18 ERA in 11 innings as a sophomore but his ERA ballooned to over 11.00 in only eight innings as a junior.

This season, Jno-Baptiste has made his case as Neptune's most consistent pitcher, going 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA and just 19 hits allowed in 33 innings.

Just as Neptune was in the CJ III Playoffs two seasons ago, it is the No. 14 seed in this SCT. The 2017 state tournament run began with a big upset of third-seeded Wall and the Scarlet Fliers will try to knock off another No. 3 on Saturday when they travel to play Christian Brothers Academy in the round of 16.


Box Score

(14) Neptune 8, (19) Pinelands 0

Pinelands (9-8)0000000081
Neptune (13-7)000116X891


Noah Dean (L, 3-2)5543511106
Pete Hammond14440134
Sebastian Jno-Baptise (4-2)78001291

Top Hitters

Anthony Diaz2-3
Sebastian Jno-Baptiste1-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Jett Tinik2-4, R, RBI
Ron Cole2-4, 2B, R, RBI
Rocco Richard1-2, 3B, R, RBI
Brian Young1-2, R, RBI



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