Baseball – VOTE: Toyota World Week 5 Player and Pitcher of the Week
Welcome back for Week 5 of the Toyota World of Lakewood Shore Sports Network Player of the Week Feature, which recognizes the top players and pitchers from each of the six Shore Conference division and turns over the voting to the SSN Readers in order to choose the best performers. Read about the top players from between April 29 and May 5 and vote for the player and pitcher who stood out above the rest.
Vote in the polls at the bottom of the post and come back every hour to cast another set of votes until the polls close at 10 p.m. on Thursday. The top overall vote-winner (player or pitcher) will receive a $20 gift card to Beacon 70 in Brick.
Class A North Player of the Week
Robby Zega, Middletown South
Last week was a huge one for Middletown South, which caught Manalapan in the Class A North divisional race by winning two games against Howell, one vs. Freehold Boro and one against Manalapan to pull even with the Braves in the loss column. Of all the players that stepped up for Middletown South last week – and there were many – Zega had his biggest game in his team’s biggest win. The senior second baseman went 3-for-3 with a mammoth solo home run that broke a 3-3 tie – one of his two RBI in the game. For the week, Zega went 6-for-12 with two doubles, the home run, five runs scored and three RBI.
Class A North Pitcher of the Week
Declan Hoverter, CBA
CBA has developed quite the pitching staff this season, with Joe Escandon, Pat Reilly, Braedin Hunt, Evan Mahns and Anthony Cirillo also turning in strong performances to date. No performance, however, was as strong – or, shall we say, perfect – as Horverter’s to start CBA’s week. The junior right-hander pitched the only perfect game at the Shore this season, setting down 21 straight Long Branch batters on 65 pitches while striking out six – all while making his first career start.
Class A North Honorable Mention: Tom Guidice, Manalapan; Pat Reilly, CBA; Jason Arnott, CBA; Liam Simon, Freehold Twp.; Brandon Smith, Freehold Twp.; Danny Minze, Middletown South; Joe Iacobello, Marlboro; Josh Schleifman, Marlboro; Justin Kapuschinski, Marlboro; Joe Escandon, CBA; Jake Pellecchia, Manalapan; Ryan Kurczeski, Freehold Twp.; Zach Gorman, Freehold Twp.; Mason Wolf, CBA
Class A Central Player of the Week
James Harmstead, Manasquan
Harmstead returns to the Player of the Week ballot after smashing the ball yet again this week. After a quiet 1-for-5 start to the week in a two-game set vs. Raritan, Harmstead erupted for two homers, a triple and six RBI in a win over Holmdel, then launched his seventh home run of the season in a loss to CBA. The seven homers leads the Shore Conference this year and his 14 career home runs is a new all-time record at Manasquan.
Class A Central Pitcher of the Week
Vincent Bianchi, Red Bank Catholic
RBC clinched the outright Class A Central championship with its win at Monmouth Regional last week and Bianchi did it all in his team’s title-clinching victory. Bianchi pithed a three-hitter with just one unearned run allowed in a 5-1 win over the Falcons and went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and three RBI to cement the win.
Class A Central Honorable Mention: Jason Lyons, Holmdel; Thomas Elgrim, Rumson-Fair Haven; Joey Blaes, St. Rose; Shane McLaughlin, Shore
Class A South Player of the Week
Graham Harrigan, Brick Memorial
The Mustangs rallied back to the .500 mark last week with two big wins – one over a current top-10 team and another over their crosstown rivals. Harrigan was big in both wins, pitching a two-hitter and allowing one unearned run over seven innings to beat Toms River South, then going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI in an 8-2 win over Brick in the first round of the Ocean County Tournament.
Class A South Pitcher of the Week
Mike Schiatarella, Southern
Over the last few years, something about tournament time brings out the best in Southern. The Rams reached the OCT final vs. Toms River North two years ago and on Saturday, they beat the third-seeded Mariners in the first round to reach the quarterfinals as a No. 14 seed. The man of the hour on Saturday was Schiatarella, who spun a complete-game three-hitter to quiet the Toms River North bats. The senior right-hander allowed on unearned run, struck out five and walked two on his day-to-remember.
Class A South Honorable Mention: Alex Iadisernia, Jackson Memorial; Ryan Lasko, Jackson Memorial; Matt Potok, Jackson Memorial; Sam Conover, Toms River South; Sam Angelo, Toms River North; Nick Beetel, Jackson Memorial; Tyler Skurat, Brick; John Wade, Brick; A.J. Mandell, Southern; Matt Santos, Toms River East; Matt Hartshorn, Toms River South; Nick Guiro, Brick; Nick Gillen, Brick Memorial
Class B North Player of the Week
Max Winters, Ocean
Not many players do as much for their team as Winters does for Ocean and the four-year starter showed his range of ability last week for Ocean. The Spartans catcher went 5-for-13 with a double and two RBI at the plate and in Ocean’s biggest win of the season, Winters took the mound and pitched his team to a 5-2 win over top-seeded Manalapan to reach the Ocean County Tournament final for the first time since 2005. In that complete-game effort, Winters allowed two runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out eight Braves batters.
Class B North Pitcher of the Week
Chris Gendi, Matawan
It’s hard to do much more to help a team win a game than Gendi for Matawan against Colts Neck last week. Facing one of the top offenses at the Shore, Gendi went the distance on the mound, allowing one earned run on six hits and one walk while striking out six – his best pitching performance of the season. On top of that, the senior went 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored in the batter’s box to help his cause.
Class B North Honorable Mention: Jack Povey, Red Bank; Ron Cole, Neptune; Ryan Sekeman, St. John Vianney; Kevin Schoenberger, Ocean; Teddy Sharkey, Wall; Dave Howarth, Wall; Jacob Ramirez, St. John Vianney; Ryan Rozinski, Middletown North
Class B Central Player of the Week
Liam Meyer, Keansburg
After a bit of a slow start to the season by his standards, Meyer has come on strong over the last two weeks and really upped the ante last week. In three Keansburg wins, the senior went 5-for-9 with two doubles, two home runs and six RBI to lead the 3-0 week, including a two-homer, five-RBI game vs. Henry Hudson. Meyer also stepped up on the mound, tossing 6 2/3 strong innings with 10 strikeouts in another 3-2 win over Henry Hudson during the week.
Class B Central Pitcher of the Week
Brandon Sansone, Mater Dei Prep
Sansone has taken the ball in most of Mater Dei’s biggest games this year and none was bigger than Thursday’s clash with Point Beach with the Class B Central title hanging in the balance. The senior right-hander pitched a three-hit shutout with one walk and three strikeouts to spark the Seraphs to a 3-0 win. If Mater Dei can finish off a division-championship season, that performance by Sansone will be among the highlights of that run.
Class B Central Honorable Mention: Liam Riecks, Keansburg; Mike Mohr, Henry Hudson; Lou Spadafora, Ranney; Sean Turner, Mater Dei; Grady Hendrickson, Henry Hudson; Charlie Chropuvka, Ranney; Brett Wehringer, Ranney; Pete Gorman, Mater Dei
Class B South Player of the Week
Pat Apgar, Pinelands
Apgar had his best week of the season both at the plate and on the mound for Pinelands, which also collected its biggest win of the year as a team. Apgar pitched six shutout innings with three hits, three walks and nine strikeouts to earn a 5-0 win over Point Boro last Thursday. He also came through with two RBI in a 2-for-3 game at the plate vs. the Panthers, which followed a 3-for-3 day vs. Lakewood that included two doubles and three RBI.
Class B South Pitcher of the Week
Kevin Ritz, Jackson Liberty
Ritz threw 12 big innings for Jackson Liberty last week and the last seven of those were almost very memorable. After giving up two earned runs in five innings with seven strikeouts in a no-decision vs. Point Boro, Ritz took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Saturday against Central in the Ocean County Tournament before the Golden Eagles came to life and tied the game to send it to extra innings. Ritz also went off at the plate in the second of two wins over Point Boro, going 3-for-3 with a double and a home run to help the Lions clinch the B South title.
Class B South Honorable Mention: Nick Danbrowney, Barnegat; Dan Keenan, Jackson Liberty; Pete Hammond, Pinelands; Jack Felipe, Manchester; Christian Greene, Barnegat; Jorden Jurkiewicz, Lacey; Sam Sramaty, Lacey; Dexter Dambroski, Barnegat; James Johns, Manchester; Sam Collins, Point Boro; Nick Zbikowski, Point Boro; Matt Morro, Donovan Catholic; Mike Farinaccio, Donovan Catholic