Baseball – VOTE: Toyota World Week 8 Player of the Week
Welcome to the eighth and final installment of the Toyota World of Lakewood Shore Sports Network Player of the Week Feature, which recognizes the top players and pitchers from the Shore Conference over the last week and turns over the voting to the SSN Readers in order to choose the best performers.
This week's format is a little different than the one used over the first seven weeks. Instead of six players and six pitchers, there are 12 nominees in one pool based on their performances during the NJSIAA Tournament and Shore Conference Tournament between May 20 and May 25. Read all about the 12 standouts and vote in the poll at the bottom of the post. Come back every hour to cast another vote until the final poll of the 2019 season closes at 10 p.m. on Thursday.
The winner (player or pitcher) will receive a $20 gift card to Beacon 70 in Brick.
Spencer Bauer, Manasquan
The only thing that could stop Bauer last week was the weather. The Warriors senior was on fire at the plate, with an extra-base hit in each of his team’s three tournament games. Bauer homered in wins over Holmdel and Middletown South, including the tie-breaking solo shot in the top of the eighth inning in the SCT quarterfinal win over Middletown South. He also hit a double to set up the go-ahead RBI single by John Foreman Friday vs. Robbinsville, but the Ravens scored four in the top of the seventh to end Manasquan’s stay in Central Jersey Group II. Bauer also struck out seven of the 10 men he faced on Thursday when that game began, but lighting and rain suspended the game until Friday and Bauer did not return to the mound.
Trevor Brey, Middletown South
Brey has been a steady presence behind the plate for Middletown South for the past three season and he remained so in his final week of high school baseball. The senior backstop went 5-for-10 with a double and five RBI during Middletown South’s hard-fought, 1-2 week. He sparked an 8-1 win over West Windsor-Plainsboro South with a two-run double, led a furious comeback vs. Manasquan then came up short in extra innings by going 2-for-4 with three RBI, and was 2-for-4 vs. a tough Old Bridge pitching duo in a 2-1, season-ending loss to the Knights.
Sam Collins, Point Boro
Collins began his big week on the mound, matching Monmouth ace Dante Ciaramella pitch-for-pitch and going 8 2/3 innings in Point Boro’s opening-round game in the Central Group II Tournament. He turned the ball over before he could earn the win, but he did pick up the game-winning RBI on a walk-off single in the Panthers’ 2-1 win. Collins capped his week with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate in a 17-3 win over A.L. Johnson that included a double, home run, four runs scored and four RBI.
Noah Dean, Pinelands
After a spirited first-round win over Toms River South, Pinelands battled top-seeded Triton to the bottom of the ninth inning, at which point the Mustangs scratched the winning run across with two out to break the hearts of the upset-minded Wildcats. Dean was brilliant in pitching Pinelands into extra innings and his final high school start was the best of his career. The left-hander allowed one hit, one walk and one hit batter over eight shutout innings and struck out 12 before reaching the single-game pitch limit. Dean also went 3-for-7 with a double at the plate in the two state tournament games last week.
Luciano Fabrizzi, St. John Vianney
St. John Vianney came to play last week and nearly pulled off what might have been the upset of the tournament on Friday. First, the Lancers steamrolled Donovan Catholic, 14-0, in an emotional win, headlined by a shutout performance by sophomore Ryan Sekman and a big day at the plate led by Fabrizzi. In that win, Fabrizzi, went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBI – one of three home runs hit by SJV. On Friday, the Lancers loaded the bases in the top of the seventh but came up a run short against three-time defending South Jersey Non-Public A champion St. Augustine. In that loss, Fabrizzi was 4-for-4 with a run scored, making him a scalding-hot 8-for-9 for the week.
Ben Levine, Manalapan
Every time Manalapan needed a big at-bat or a big pitch last week, it seemed like Levine was involved. The senior threw the Braves on his back in three tournament wins – two in the Central Jersey Group IV bracket and another in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals over CBA. On Monday against North Brunswick in the opening round of the state tournament, Levine came through with the walk-off RBI single to give Manalapan a 3-2, extra-inning win over the Raiders. On Wednesday, he went 2-for-3 against CBA, including the single that started the winning rally in the bottom of the seventh. Levine capped the week with a six-hitter, nine strikeouts and a two-run double in a 7-2 win over South Brunswick Thursday in the sectional quarterfinals.
David Melfi, Jackson Liberty
Where to begin with David Melfi? The Jackson Liberty catcher is beginning to pull away from the field in the Player of the Year race and the week he had last week might be the final kick that wins it. In three tournament games, Melfi went 7-for-11 with a double, three home runs and five RBI. The three home runs came in two games, with the first coming off Wall’s Ryan Napolitano in a 10-5 loss to the red-hot Crimson Knights. Melfi ended his week with what may turn out to be the signature game of his great career. He hit a two-run home run on Thursday vs. Allentown before play was suspended and on when play resumed on Friday, he ended the game with a game-winning, opposite-field home run in the bottom of the seventh to send Jackson Liberty to the sectional Central Group III semifinals.
Matt Santos, Toms River East
After closing out a high-scoring, back-and-forth, first-round win over Highland for his Raiders, Santos and his team switched gears and battled through a pitcher’s duel in the sectional semifinal round. Santos took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and was one out away when he gave up back-to-back walks and a game-tying single that forced extra innings. In the top of the seventh, Santos put himself in position for the win when he clobbered a go-ahead two run home run to left after junior teammate Ryan Goodall broke up Brandon Lashley’s no-hit bid with a double. Santos also walked and scored the winning run in the top of the 10th for the upstart Raiders, who have reached the semifinals of both the Ocean County Tournament and South Jersey Group III Tournament despite finishing seventh place in the Class A South standings.
Josh Schleifman, Marlboro
Two No. 15 seeds pulled off first-round upsets in Group IV and Schleifman had a major hand in one of them. The Mustangs junior went the distance in a 5-2 win over second-seeded Hillsborough, allowing two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks while striking out four. After throwing 103 pitches last Monday and his team’s 10-3 win over Hightstown on Thursday, Schleifman will attempt to pitch Marlboro into the sectional final when he takes the ball Tuesday vs. Old Bridge.
Grant Shulman, Wall
Tournament Week suited Shulman well, with Wall taking aim at both Shore Conference and Group III titles. Shulman opened up the NJSIAA Tournament by going 4-for-4 with a triple and two RBI in a 14-0 win over Lawrence, then went 2-for-4 with hits first home run of the season and two more RBI in a 10-5 win at Jackson Liberty Wednesday in the SCT quarterfinals. With Shulman and his Wall teammates catching fire at the plate, there is a chance they could see Jackson Liberty again in Friday’s Central Group III final.
Brett Wehringer, Ranney
Ranney celebrated a first-round win in the NJSIAA South Non-Public B Tournament over Moorestown Friends last Tuesday and the Panthers have Wehringer to thank. The freshman came on to pitch 5 1/3 innings of one-run relief with seven strikeouts and also delivered two big RBI in the 7-5 Ranney win.
Max Winters Ocean
Ocean’s season ended with a disappointing, 4-3 home loss to No. 11 seed Northern Burlington in the Central Jersey Group III Tournament and it came despite Winters’s best efforts at the plate. The senior catcher went 3-for-4 with a double and a three-run home run to account for all of Ocean’s scoring in the game, which capped a huge three-game week to close out his four-year varsity career. In two state tournament games and a regular-season loss at RBC, Winters went a combined 7-for-11 with three doubles, a home run and seven RBI.
Honorable Mention by Division
Class A North Honorable Mention: Jason Arnott, CBA; Braedin Hunt, CBA; Jake Pellecchia, Manalapan; Justin Kapuscinski, Marlboro; Julian Buchman, Marlboro; Jarrett Urban, Freehold Twp.; Cristian Corcione, Freehold Twp.; Danny Minze, Middletown South; Bryan Bernard, Howell; Jake Kutcher, Howell; Chris Lotito, Middletown South; Ramon Fontanes, Marlboro
Class A Central Honorable Mention: Dante Ciaramella, Monmouth; Chris Anfuso, Monmouth; James Harmstead, Manasquan; Tommy Turnbach, St. Rose; Will Hopkinson, Manasquan; David Glancy, Red Bank Catholic; Vincent Bianchi, Red Bank Catholic; Shane Panzini, Red Bank Catholic; John Foreman, Manasquan; Jake Tennant, Raritan
Class A South Honorable Mention: Christian Malta, Brick; Rob Blair, Brick; Joe Ussery, Toms River East; Jake Wendell, Jackson Memorial; Tyler Toth, Toms River East; Ryan Ciccardo, Toms River East; Aidan Meola, Toms River East
Class B North Honorable Mention: Kevin Schoenberger, Ocean; Ryan Toomey, Ocean; Jackson Hercek, Matawan; Ron Cole, Neptune; Rocco Richard, Neptune; Brooks Condon, Colts Neck; Reece Horneck, Colts Neck; Trey Dombroski, Wall; Teddy Sharkey, Wall; Colin Dowlen, Middletown North; Ryan Sekman, St. John Vianney; Jacob Ramirez, St. John Vianney; John Higgins, St. John Vianney; Dave Howarth, Wall
Class B Central Honorable Mention: Will Baranello, Point Beach; Colin Matuschat, Point Beach; Alec Glen, Point Beach; Anthony Longo, Keyport; Ben Kraushaar, Ranney; Jacob Field, Ranney; Phil Trebour, Point Beach
Class B South Honorable Mention: Connor Keenan, Jackson Liberty; Shane Hickey, Jackson Liberty; Jacob Bowles, Lacey; Joey Ventresca, Pinelands; Lukas Torres, Barnegat; Sean Lucas, Barnegat; Jack Felipe, Manchester; Frankie Dominici, Point Boro