Baseball – VOTE: Week 1 Players and Pitchers of the Week
The first week of high school baseball action is in the books, which means it’s time to pick the top player and pitcher in the Shore Conference during that stretch. Below are the Players and Pitcher of the Week in each of the six Shore Conference divisions. Read about the weeks they turned in, then vote for the best performers at the bottom of the post. Vote as many times as you’d like between now and the time the voting closes at 10 p.m. on Wednesday.
Class A North Player of the Week
Giovanni Ciaccio, Manalapan
The Shore’s only 5-0 team has raced out of the gate thanks to some quality pitching, but Ciacco has been the standout player, going 7-for-13 with two doubles, two triples, five runs scored and seven RBI. He also came up clutch with a game-tying double in the seventh inning of an opening-day, extra-inning win over Colts Neck.
Class A North Pitcher of the Week
Ryan Ford, Freehold Township
Ford took a perfect game into the sixth inning against Neptune and finished off a three-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and no walks. He also threw a scoreless inning earlier in the week to give him eight shutout innings to start his senior campaign. Ford has also been hot at the plate, going 6-for-13 with two doubles.
Honorable Mention A North Player of the Week: Nick Hohenstein, CBA; Anthony Galason, Colts Neck; Hunter Boag, Colts Neck; Reece Horneck, Colts Neck; Gurkaran Singh, Marlboro; Matt Bonderant, Neptune; Ian Li, Marlboro; Phil Marcantonio, Freehold Boro; John Dudek, CBA; E.J. Melendez, Manalapan
Class A Central Player of the Week
Tommy Dunleavy, Shore
The Blue Devils are off to a 2-0 start and have put up 25 runs in two games thanks to a surging offense led by Dunleavy. The senior third baseman cracked a home run on opening day against Keansburg and went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI in a 13-5 win over Matawan on Thursday.
Class A Central Pitcher of the Week
Alex Burnett, Rumson-Fair Haven
After giving up 18 runs to Raritan in its opener, Rumson needed a well-pitched game in the worst way and Burnett gave his team just that. The senior right-hander allowed two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts to earn the complete-game, 4-2, victory over St. John Vianney on Friday.
Honorable Mention A Central Player of the Week: Zack Johnston, Raritan; Sean Mikolajczek, Rumson; Jack Povey, Red Bank; Sal Monticciolo, Holmdel; Mike DiPede, St. John Vianney; Jay Kalieta, Matawan; Steve Salot, Matawan; Mike Deusch, Shore; Jason Lyons, Holmdel; Dan Hirujo, Matawan
Class A South Player of the Week
Colin Stacy, Central
Stacy’s 5-for-11 start at the plate is no surprise, but his work on the mound has been a major factor in Central’s fast start. The regular starting shortstop pitched a scoreless seventh inning to save an opening-day win over Pinelands, then came back with 5 2/3 innings of one-run relief against preseason No. 1 Toms River North three days later in a big 8-4 win for the Golden Eagles.
Class A South Pitcher of the Week
Brendan Mullins, Toms River North
There are some good candidates for the A South Pitcher of the Week, but only one of them threw seven no-hit innings against a tough Group IV program from South Jersey. Mullins would have spun an opening-day no-hitter had his team been able to score one run, but the senior right-hander and Penn State commit instead settled for a no-decision and one-hit allowed in seven-plus innings of work. Mullins struck out seven and walked one during his 77-pitch outing.
Honorable Mention A South Player of the Week: Christian Pellone, Jackson Memorial; Nick Sefick, Jackson Memorial; Matt D’Amore, Jackson Memorial; Jon Giordano, Toms River North; Craig Larsen, Toms River North; T.J. Scuderi, Toms River South; Aidan Meola, Toms River East; Brad Brush, Toms River East; Austin Pharo, Southern; Mike Brunner, Brick; Mike Sullivan, Brick Memorial; Nick Stephan, Brick Memorial
Class B North Player of the Week
Grant Shulman, Wall
What hasn’t Shulman done during a red-hot start for him and his Crimson Knights? The junior right-hander has pitched 12 scoreless innings, including a three-hit gem with eight strikeouts and no walks against a potent Middletown South lineup on Saturday. On top of his pitching, Shulman is 6-for-13 with four RBI at the plate, including a home run on opening day vs. Holmdel and the lone RBI in his 1-0 win over Middletown South.
Class B North Pitcher of the Week
Matt Mincieli, Long Branch
It’s hard to be better on the mound than Shulman has been to start the season, but Mincieli is awfully close. The Green Wave senior has opened the season with 10 2/3 scoreless innings and that innings count might have been higher if he was not making his second start with a pitch-count limit on three-days rest. Mincieli threw six scoreless last Monday in a win over Barnegat and was scoreless over 4 2/3 in a win over Manasquan on Friday before reaching his pitch limit. He has allowed five hits and three walks while punching out 11.
Honorable Mention B North Player of the Week: Trey Dombroski, Wall; Chris O’Connor, Middletown South; Dylon Walling, Middletown South; Tyler Ras, Middletown North; Ricky Voss, Monmouth; Dante Ciaramella, Monmouth; Tim McEneny, Manasquan; Nick Merlo, Red Bank Catholic; Max Winters; Scuba Hagerman, Ocean
Class B Central Player of the Week
Kiran Shah, Ranney
Although Ranney could not quite keep up with Monmouth Regional on opening day, the Panthers showed some feistiness early in the loss and carried that over to two B Central wins over Mater Dei and Keyport later in the week. Shah is the lone senior starter on the team and helped lead the hot start by going 2-for-3 with an RBI against Monmouth and 2-for-4 with a run scored vs. Mater Dei. Shah also walked and scored two runs in the win over Keyport.
Class B Central Pitcher of the Week
Chris Russo, Point Beach
The senior left-hander gave up a pair of earned runs in a relief outing on opening day vs. Manasquan but bounced back with a three-hit shutout over six innings against Keyport in which he struck out 12 Red Raiders.
Honorable Mention B Central Player of the Week: Josh Yates, Point Beach; Brody Maypother, St. Rose; Ben Kraushaar, Ranney; Ethan Gavin, Ranney; Liam Meyer, Keansburg; Gabe Torres, Keansburg; Ryan Turner, Mater Dei
Class B South Player of the Week
Scott Wierciszewski, Jackson Liberty
Wieciszewski had an opening day to remember, pounding out four hits in four at-bats, including a home run and eight RBI in a 17-4 Jackson Liberty win over Manchester. The junior outfielder followed up his monster opener on Thursday with a 2-for-4 game on Friday vs. Barnegat in which he drove in three more runs, giving him a Shore-Conference-best 11 in only two games.
Class B South Pitcher of the Week
Peter Hammond, Pinelands
Pinelands ace Joey Ventresca didn’t have it on opening day, but Hammond backed up the Wildcats’ start pitcher by hurling four no-hit innings of relief in a 5-4 loss to Central. Hammond also took a no-decision later in the week when he gave up three runs to a Manchester lineup that has hammered the ball in the early part of the season (9.7 runs per game).
Honorable Mention B South Player of the Week: Connor Keenan, Jackson Liberty; Peter Hammond, Pinelands; Sean O’Rourke, Pinelands; Jimmy Johns, Manchester; Jack Felipe, Manchester; Ryan Miller, Donovan Catholic; Jorden Jurkiewicz, Lacey; Anthony Tobia, Lacey; Miles Feaster, Lacey; Nick Guzzi, Point Boro; Christian Aurin, Point Boro