Baseball – Week 7 Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week: Point Beach
As a Group I school playing in the Shore Conference's small-school division, the Point Pleasant Beach baseball team only has so many chances to make a statement to the rest of the Shore and this year's collection of Garnet Gulls is showing lately that they have a lot to say.
Point Beach drew the No. 24 seed out of 28 in the Shore Conference Tournament, but that did not stop the Gulls from going on the road and shocking Class A Central champion and No. 9 seed Raritan on Sunday, 3-1, in the opening round of the tournament - the highlight during a stretch that earn them the Week 7 Jersey Mike's Team of the Week award.
The expectations at Point Beach coming into the year were high based on the return of a pair of experienced senior starting pitchers in John Nista and Chris Russo and those were the two who shut down a dangerous Raritan lineup on Sunday, Russo pitched six strong innings with just one run allowed and while Nista worked himself into a bases-loaded situation in the seventh, he struck out three batters in the inning to earn the save.
Nista also sparked the offense with a double, single and the first run scored of the game in the top of the second inning - giving the Gulls a lead Russo and later Nista would not relinquish.
While the win over Raritan might be the biggest win of the season to date for Point Beach, it is not the only big win and it won't necessarily wind up the biggest either. The Garnet Gulls took down Class B Central champion and Monmouth County Tournament runner-up St. Rose during the regular season and just this past Thursday, they beat New Egypt, 7-3, to earn a trip to the Central Jersey Group I semifinals.
That win over New Egypt sets up, arguably, Point Beach's biggest game of the season, which will be Tuesday at top-seeded Middlesex with a spot in the sectional final next Friday on the line. The Garnet Gulls also take on Shore powerhouse Toms River North in the SCT round of 16 on Friday.
2018 Team of the Week Winners
Week 1: Central
Week 2: Marlboro
Week 3: Matawan
Week 4: Raritan
Week 5: Red Bank Catholic
Week 6: Toms River North