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When the Central Regional baseball team's players walked off the field at Jackson Memorial High School having just lost to the Jaguars, 3-1, it felt like an opportunity might have just slipped away from the Golden Eagles.

Instead, it was a primer for one of the biggest wins of the Shore Conference season.

Two days after falling victim to 15 strikeouts by left-handed fireballer Zach Crotchfelt in the road loss to the Jaguars, Central handed the ball to its own hard-throwing ace in Cam Leiter, who dealt a one-hitter in a 3-1 win over Jackson Memorial on May 21.

Photo by Steve Meyer

The loss was the first for Jackson Memorial against a team from the Shore Conference and, for the moment, gave Central a fighting chance to win a share of the Shore Conference Class A South championship. It also earned the Golden Eagles the distinction as the Week Five Jersey Mike's Team of the Week.

Leiter not only starred on the mound, but also drove in the first Central run with an RBI single that tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth - the first of three runs in the inning. Junior Billy Sottilare and freshman Dom Masino later added RBI singles to complete the three-run frame.

Leiter worked around trouble early in the game and gave up a run in the top of the third inning. Over the last four, however, he retired 12 out of the 13 he faced, with one Jackson Memorial batter reaching on a hit-by-pitch.

Central went 2-1 for the week in all, with a 12-1 rout of Toms River East to open it up after losing to the Raiders the week before. The Golden Eagles entered the current week with a chance to win a share of the Class A South title with some help from Brick and Brick Memorial playing against Jackson Memorial and got it when Brick beat the Jaguars, 10-4, in Jackson.

Central, however, could not hold up its end, getting shutout by Cole Manfro and Brick Memorial and then losing again to the Mustangs at home, 9-7. Despite the loss in the second game of the series, Central nearly erased a 9-0 deficit and will head into the South Jersey Group III Tournament next week as the No. 3 seed in the field.