Baseball – SSN All-Shore 2nd and 3rd Teams
All-Shore Team, Pt. 2
Robby Smith, Sr., Rumson-Fair Haven
Smith’s 1.90 at-bats per RBI led the Shore Conference and his 1.492 OPS was second at the Shore behind only Riley Maypother. The senior catcher smacked two homers and drove in six on opening day against Shore and he registered four games with at least four RBI.
Jorden Jurkiewicz, Jr., Lacey
The University of Maryland commit continued his ascension toward the upper echelon of catchers and overall players in the Shore Conference. His five triples tied for the Shore Conference lead while only eight players had more extra-base hits than Jurkiewicz’s 16.
Ricky Voss, Sr., Monmouth
Voss was an RBI machine for the high-power Falcons lineup, racking up 38 over the course of his senior season to finish behind only Larsen for the Shore Conference lead.
Jack Harnisch, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy
Harnisch – the son of former Major Leaguer Pete Harnisch – saw a significant spike in power as a senior and also broke the .400 threshold in batting average. He led all regular Shore second basemen with three home runs and finished second in extra-base hits, average and slugging percentage behind Lacey’s Miles Feaster.
T.J. Rosace, Jr., Brick Memorial
Rosace homered in three consecutive games in April against Lacey, Jackson Memorial and Toms River South and his fifth home run of the season was a game-tying home run in the top of the seventh inning against Toms River South on May 9, a game Brick Memorial went on to win in walk-off fashion, 6-5.
Shane Hickey, So., Jackson Liberty
After hitting .448 as a freshman, Hickey again eclipsed the .400 mark and slugged six doubles and six home runs to boot in earning the first All-Shore selection of what is shaping up to be an impressive high school career.
Anthony Galason, Sr., Colts Neck
Colts Neck lost more than twice as many games as it won, but that was not on Galason, who finished within 10 points of a top-10 spot in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage while also leading the conference in doubles. In a showdown with Raritan ace Zack Johnston, Galason went 3-for-4 with a triple.
Tyler Bruno, Jr., Raritan
In his second straight All-Shore season, Bruno finished in the top 10 in the Shore in hits, doubles and runs scored while leading a Raritan offense that helped the Rockets reach the 20-win mark, win a second straight A Central title and come within a run of the program’s first NJSIAA Group title since 2003.
Nick Ruszczyk, Sr., Howell
During Howell’s run to qualify for the postseason and during its early rounds, Rusczcyk swung a hot bat, including hitting home runs in three straight games against Wall, St. John Vianney and Clearview. His home run against Wall came off of SSN Pitcher of the Year Trey Dombroski, while the homer vs. SJV came in the SCT and the homer vs. Clearview was in the first round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV Tournament.
Ryan Ford, Sr., Freehold Township
Ford struggled last year after an All-Shore sophomore season and not only did he return to top form at the plate; he also turned in a season on the mound that merited an All-Shore spot on its own. Ford was big for the Patriots when they needed him, tossing a complete-game shutout against Monroe in a 1-0 Freehold Twp. win in the Central Group IV first round and also homered in each of the Patriots’ Shore Conference Tournament wins over Matawan and Manalapan.
Matt Mincieli, Sr., Long Branch
Not many players in the Shore affected the games in which they played as much as Micieli did. He was Long Branch’s top hitter, pitcher and shortstop and he helped the Green Wave win two Monmouth County Tournament game by pitching and hitter Long Branch past both St. John Vianney and Marlboro. He was the only Shore Conference player to hit .400 while also posting 60 strikeouts and a sub-2.00 ERA on the mound.
Nick Beetel, So., Jackson Memorial
Jackson Memorial’s sophomore left-hander got stronger and stronger as the season wore on until Beetel was the unquestioned ace of the starting staff at season’s end. He did not allow more than two earned runs in any of his outings and in his final two starts of the season, Beetel threw a four-hit shutout vs. Toms River North in the South IV quarterfinals followed by five innings of one-hit ball and eight strikeouts vs. Shawnee in the sectional final.
Brendan Mullins, Sr., Toms River North
Mullins fell victim to a lack of run support as well as some defensive letdowns this season, which explains his mediocre record alongside a tidy 1.20 ERA. The Penn State signee completed seven no-hit innings on opening day before Toms River North lost, 1-0, to Washington Township and dropped decisions vs. Manalapan and Jackson Memorial in which he surrendered only one earned run.
Nick DeGennaro, Sr., Toms River East
After missing the first three weeks of the season while recovering from an appendectomy, DeGennaro returned in time to pitch 33 impressive innings, with three memorable starts, in particular. The Stony Brook recruit beat Point Boro, Jackson Liberty and Red Bank Catholic in tournament settings, with a cumulative line of four earned runs on 13 hits with 35 strikeouts and seven walks in 19 1/3 innings.
Tyler Ras, Sr., Middletown North
On one hand, Ras did not quite perform to his immense talent and lofty expectations during his senior year based on the tale that his 0-5 record tells. On the other hand, he finished 15th among Shore qualifiers in ERA, eighth in WHIP, fifth in strikeouts and was the only Shore Conference high schooler drafted (by the Chicago Cubs in the 33rd round). He also posted an OPS north of 1.000 while recording his 100th career hit.
Alex Burnett, Sr., Rumson-Fair Haven
Burnett’s junior season in 2017 was a struggle, but his senior year made him one of the Shore’s most improved pitchers. He won his first four games of the season and actually pitched better after those first four starts (0.47 ERA in final 30 innings). His season ended with seven shutout innings against Central Jersey II champion Raritan, but the Rockets prevailed in nine innings after they waited out Burnett.
Nick Guzzi, So., Point Pleasant Boro
After flashing his substantial potential as a freshman last year, Guzzi had a full-on breakout during his junior season and even threw up some strong offensive numbers for good measure. On the pitching side, Guzzi finished second in the Shore Conference with 76 strikeouts thanks to three separate outings with double-digit strikeouts – two of which came against a Lacey offense that averaged just under 6.5 runs per game.
Max Winters, Jr., Ocean
Winters tried his hand at pitching this year and wound up becoming Ocean’s most effective starter. Hitting and catching is still his bread and butter, which made him the rare player to serve as his team’s catcher, its top pitcher and top hitter.
Brody Maypother, Sr., St. Rose
Brother Riley was the unofficial MVP of St. Rose’s run to the Monmouth County Tournament final, but Brody was huge during that stretch as well. He hit .316 in those five games with four doubles and four RBI, including 6-for-15 (.400) in the four Purple Roses wins. Maypother also cracked one of his three home runs against No. 1 Jackson Memorial.
Justin Levito, Sr., Marlboro
Levito was one of the Shore’s slickest fielders while manning shortstop for the Mustangs and also chipped in 10 extra-base hits and a slugging percentage just under .600. During a big week for Marlboro that included wins over CBA and Manalapan, Levito led the way with a walkoff RBI double vs. CBA and later hit two homers and drove in eight in a win vs. St. John Vianney.
Mark Costanzo, Sr., Freehold Boro
Costanzo was one of 10 non-first-base infielders to record a batting average of at least .400, an on-base of at least .500 and a slugging percentage of at least .500 and one of only three shortstops to do so. Speaking of shortstop, Costanzo made the conversion from second base to shortstop this season for a Colonials club that finished third in Class A North.
John Nista, Sr., Point Pleasant Beach
Nista was voted the Class B Central Pitcher of the Year by the division’s coaches but his hitting wasn’t too shabby either. Of all the two-way players to hit .400, Nista had the lowest ERA at 1.05. On the flip side, of all the two-way players to log an ERA under 2.00, Nista had the best batting average – an example of how good his numbers were in both facets of the game.
James Harmstead, Jr., Manasquan
Although Manasquan could never quite overcome the loss of its one-two punch of aces Tommy Sheehan and Connor Muly from last year’s Group II championship team, the Warriors followed Harmstead’s lead in swinging the bat. His biggest swing of the season was a go-ahead three-run home run in the top of the sixth inning of a 6-4 win over Monmouth.
Brad Brush, Sr., Toms River East
With Nick DeGennaro out for the first three weeks of the season, Brush helped get Toms River East off to s 5-0 start and stay afloat over the ensuing stretch just before the return of its ace. Brush hit .600 with six doubles, nine RBI and a .900 slugging percentage during the 5-0 start and also went 6-for-14 with two doubles, both of which came off Jackson Liberty ace Matt Pickus in a 7-2 Raiders win.
Connor Keenan, Jr., Jackson Liberty
The leadoff hitter of the Shore Conference’s most prolific offense in 2018, Keenan did a little bit of everything for the Lions. A minor injury knocked him out for a few games in the middle of the season and might have prevented him from reaching the 30-run and 20-RBI plateaus, but Keenan still finished among the top 12 Shore Conference outfielders in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Alex Iadisernia, Jr., Jackson Memorial
Iadisernia returned off an All-Shore season and helped lead Jackson Memorial to a 25-win season, a sectional title and a No. 1 ranking at the Shore. Iadisernia was on his game during tournament play for Jackson Memorial, going 13-for-34 (.382) with two doubles, a home run, nine runs scored and seven RBI, including a grand slam in a win over Brick Memorial in the South Group IV first round.
Colin Mackle, Jr., Toms River South
Mackle racked up double-digit extra-base hits, 20-plus runs and RBI, a .500 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage north of .600. He also played a good centerfield and posted an ERA below 2.50, including a shutout effort against Trenton Catholic that clinched a Shore Conference Tournament berth for the Indians.
Braedin Hunt, So., Christian Brothers Academy
Hunt entered the season with the inside track toward pitching significant innings for CBA thanks to his promising arm and while he did make good on that promise, his bat turned out to be even better. The sophomore hit his way into a starting outfield job and finished as one of only nine players in the Shore Conference with a batting average better than .450 and a slugging percentage better than .700.
Mike Dimino, Sr., Jackson Memorial
Jackson Memorial had a long list of heroes on a balanced roster that finished No. 1 in the Shore Conference, but it is hard to argue anyone was more of a team MVP than Dimino. He surprised his head coach by winning the starting shortstop job, captained the defense, hit the ball hard out of the No. 7 spot in the order and was overpowering as the Jaguars’ closer in saving five games over the course of the season.
Sam Collins, Jr., Point Pleasant Boro
While Guzzi opened the season looking like an ace for the Panthers, Collins wound up giving his sophomore teammate a run for his money down the stretch. The versatile junior led all Class B South pitchers in ERA and after a so-so first three outings, Collins went 5-1 with a 1.10 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP over his last nine appearances, which included 42 strikeouts and just five walks in 44 1/3 innings.
Blaise Venancio, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy
CBA settled in using multiple pitchers in nearly every game and with that approach in place, Venancio never pitched more than six innings in any of his outings this year. Despite that, the senior left-hander and St. Joseph University commit logged three starts with at least 10 strikeouts. Venancio was named the Pitcher of the Year in Class A North by the division coaches.
Ben Levine, Jr., Manalapan
Levine was a revelation for Manalapan this season, when the junior left-hander became the Braves’ best pitcher. His 1.17 ERA ranked fifth in the Shore Conference and his WHIP was the seventh-best in the conference as well. A rough outing against CBA (five runs in three innings) might have cost Levine the Pitcher of the Year nob in A North, but that was his only below average outing. Outside of that start, Levine pitched to a 0.62 ERA.
Matt Pickus, Sr., Jackson Liberty
For the second straight year, Pickus was one of the Shore’s best control pitchers. The right-hander was one of only three pitchers, along with Collins from Point Boro and Toms River East sophomore Matt Santos, to pitch more than 40 innings and walk fewer than 10 batters all year.
A.J. Smith, Sr., Central
Smith was one of the Shore’s most dependable workhorses even before his last two games of the season, which secured his second straight appearance on the All-Shore teams. Smith turned in one of the season’s best outings – a nine-inning four-hit shutout in Central’s 1-0 win over a Wall club that was ranked No. 1 in the SSN Top 10 at the time. Smith ended up tied for the Shore lead with eight wins and his 69 1/3 innings trailed only Zack Johnston of Raritan.
Blaise Panzini, Sr., Red Bank Catholic
Panzini spent last year the early part of this year trying to find his consistency and after a couple so-so starts early, he settled in to become Red Bank Catholic’s best pitcher. Panzini won his last four starts, including two Monmouth County Tournament wins, a state tournament win over St. Joseph Metuchen and a regular-season, five-inning no-hitter against Barnegat. In those four starts, Panzini pitched 23 innings with a 0.91 ERA, 30 strikeouts and three walks.