Baseball – Shore Conference Tournament Semifinal Preview
Shore Conference Tournament
At Count Basie Park
(2) Middletown South vs. (6) Toms River South, 4 p.m.
One day after falling to Highland Regional in the South Jersey Group III semifinals, Toms River South looks to extend its season against a Middletown South team that dropped a stunning game at home to Wall in last Thursday's Central Jersey Group III quarterfinal. Toms River South has right-handed senior ace Trevor Wagner rested and ready after pitching a three-hit shutout in his previous start Thursday against Delsea.
Middletown South has its entire stable or pitchers eligible and all three starters - Ian Scheuer, Austin Markmann and Jon Martin - have been effective this season. Markmann pitched six innings in Thursday's loss and Martin took the loss with one inning in that game after pitching four in Monday's win over Ewing. Scheuer tossed 5 2/3 innings in last Wednesday's SCT win over Colts Neck before Joey McLaughlin came on to finish the game and earn the win.
Eagles senior infielder Johnny Zega has hit four homers in the team's last seven games and has 10 home runs this season. He hit a go-ahead home run against Wall in the sixth inning before the Crimson Knights rallied in the next inning.
(1) CBA vs. (4) Red Bank Catholic, 7:30 p.m.
After CBA lost to St. Augustine Tuesday in the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A quarterfinals, senior ace Luca Dalatri will take the ball Wednesday looking not only to pitch the Colts into the SCT final for the third straight year but also tie the Shore Conference record with his 34th career win. He has won 28 consecutive decisions dating back to the start of his sophomore year and with a win Wednesday and a win in the final, Dalatri would pass Toms River East alum Casey Gaynor for the Shore record.
This season alone, Dalatri is 8-0 with a 0.13 ERA (one earned run allowed) in 53 innings. He has struck out 98 and walked only two batters all season. Since coming back from a mid-season hamstring injury that sidelined him for two weeks, Dalatri is 4-0 with 26 scoreless innings, 46 strikeouts and no walks. One of those starts was a one-hit shutout with 15 strikeouts against Red Bank Catholic in the Monmouth County Tournament finals, which he pitched on three days rest.
Red Bank Catholic will try to solve Dalatri on its home field, where the Caseys lost to Dalatri, 2-1, in nine innings in the 2014 SCT semifinals. RBC will counter with senior left-hander Justin Liggett after Caseys ace John Poccia pitched a nine-inning one-hit shutout Tuesday in a 1-0 win over Notre Dame in the South Jersey Non-Public A quarterfinals. CBA has eliminated RBC in each of the last two Shore Conference Tournaments, including last year's championship game.