Baseball – Week 6 Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week: Freehold Township
The Freehold Township baseball team had three players enter the 2022 season with starting experience at the varsity level, but that has not stopped the Patriots from winning some big games and delivering in several high-pressure situations.
Last week, Freehold Township played two games against big names from Ocean County and walked off with extra-inning wins in both -- a feat worthy of the sixth Jersey Mike's Team of the Week Award in 2022.
Freehold Township had a quiet start to the week, with no games between completing a Shore Conference Class A North division sweep over Marlboro on May 5 and a non-division showdown with Jackson Memorial on May 12.
The Patriots got back on the field against the Jaguars -- a Class A South division champion and the only team in the Shore Conference that still has a chance to win every championship (division, county, conference, state sectional and overall group) in 2022 -- and pulled out what very well might have been their best win of the season to date.
The two teams went scoreless for the first five innings until Jackson Memorial junior Mike Arent hit his second solo home run in as many days, giving the Jaguars a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth. Freehold Township answered right back in the bottom of the inning, with junior Ryan Kopf tying the game with an RBI single.
Jackson Memorial took its second lead in the top of the eighth on an RBI double by catcher Aidan O'Donnell. Not only did Freehold Township respond, but the Patriots won it on a wild play. With the bases loaded and one out, a pitch got to the backstop on a swinging strike three and Mike Avino scored the tying run. The throw from O'Donnell to try and stop the runner from scoring got away and pinch-runner Mike Borromeo followed with the winning run, scoring all the way from second.
After that thrilling regular-season win, Freehold Township needed the extra-inning magic to carry over into the postseason. Facing Toms River South in the Shore Conference Tournament opening round on May 14, the Patriots gave up a 6-3 lead when Toms River South scored three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
Sophomore Ryan Costello, who emerged as a starter at the end of his freshman season in 2021, pitched two scoreless innings to stabilize the game for Freehold Township, then he ended it. Costello crushed a 1-0 pitch with one out in the bottom of the ninth and it sailed over the rightfield fence for a game-winning solo home run, giving Freehold Township a 7-6 lead.
Even after losses to Wall and Christian Brothers Academy this past week, Freehold Township heads into the final full week of May with a 12-10 record and a chance to finish the season with a winning record despite heavy losses to graduation from the 2021 Class A North championship team.
Past 2022 Team of the Week Winners
Week 1: Shore
Week 2: Point Pleasant Beach
Week 3: Christian Brothers Academy
Week 4: Wall
Week 5: Southern