JACKSON TWP. - A fourth straight win to open the season by beating an ace with a 90-plus mile-per-hour fastball might have been enough to prove that the Jackson Memorial baseball team is back among the Shore Conference's best in 2018, but in case there might have been any doubt, the Jaguars added the exclamation mark to a perfect first week.

Two-run doubles by junior right fielder Alex Iadisernia and sophomore Carmine Petosa highlighted a six-run sixth inning that sealed Saturday's 10-3 Jackson Memorial win over St. Rose and marked another in a run of four impressive wins to open the year for the Jaguars.

After finishing 9-14 and 10-13 in each of the past two seasons, Jackson Memorial appears poised to ascend back to the ranks of the Shore's Top 10 and beyond thanks to a veteran pitching staff and a lineup loaded with underclass talent that was on full display Saturday.

"We knew coming into this year we had a lot of young talent," Iadisernia said. "Our preseason, we were hitting the ball all over the place, so we knew the offense was coming eventually.

Jackson Memorial junior Alex Iadisernia. (Photo by Matt Manley)
Jackson Memorial junior Alex Iadisernia. (Photo by Matt Manley)

"Our last couple of years, (pitching) has been our problem, but we worked on it so much in the offseason - throwing strikings, having command, attacking hitters. We have some seniors in that group - (Matt) D'Amore, (Nick) Sefick - who have been here since sophomore year and they have taken leadership of the whole staff and it's really working out so far."

Iadisernia - a Shore Sports Network All-Shore outfielder as a sophomore in 2017 and an Elon University commit - went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and the two driven in on the sixth inning double to lead Jackson Memorial's balanced offensive attack. The Jaguars battled Purple Roses senior ace Riley Maypother out of the game after three innings and 58 pitchers and hung seven runs - four earned - on senior reliever John Crowley during innings four through six.

"We thought we had chances to break open our first few games and we couldn't break the game open like we did today," Jackson Memorial coach Frank Malta said. "Not to take anything from the three teams we played, but we felt like we built some innings to give ourselves an opportunity with runners in scoring position and weren't cashing in with any hits. Today, we were able to do it."

Last season Maypother pitched in limited duty, but did not allow an earned run in 15 2/3 innings of work during his junior season, including a scoreless relief outing against Gloucester Catholic in the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public B championship game.

"He's good," Malta said of Maypother. "He was kind of effectively wild in that it looked like he was missing up in the zone and then he would get that low strike. It's tough for a hitter to lock in on that, especially with the ability to he has, but we did a good job of working some counts, taking some tough pitches and drawing some walks that made him throw some extra pitches."

"Personally, I think we can hit anybody," said Iadisernia, who singled and flew out against Maypother. "We just have to stick to our gameplan, stay in the middle of the field and we'll be fine."

St. Rose took the lead on two separate occasions and in both instances, Jackson responded by tying the score in the bottom of the inning. Senior first baseman Sammy Sestito singled home Maypother in the top of the first, only to watch the Jaguars pull even on a sacrifice fly to left by junior left fielder Troy Bathmann in the bottom of the inning.

Senior catcher Brody Maypother led off the St. Rose third with a solo home run to left field to break the 1-1 tie and Sestito singled and scored on a wild pitch to give the Purple Roses a 3-1 lead. Sestito's single right after Maypother's home run knocked Jackson Memorial senior left-hander Shawn Kelich from the game after two-plus innings.

Senior left-hander Ryder Tallent followed Kelich and worked around one more walk to escape the inning. Tallent went on to throw four scoreless innings while allowing only one hit and three walks to go with three strikeouts - including one of Brody Maypother to end the fourth and another of Riley Maypother to end the sixth.

Jackson answered St. Rose's two third-inning runs with two of their own, both of which scored on defensive miscues by the Roses. Sophomore center fielder Ryan Lasko opened the inning with a single and scored on the back-end of a double-steal with senior Tom Pellone. Brody Maypother's throw down toward second ended up with second baseman Frank Bellezza, whose return throw back home sailed over Maypother's head, allowing Pellone to move up to third. Pellone then scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

Another defensive mistake, this time a dropped fly ball in the outfield with two out, allowed sophomore second baseman Christian Pellone to cross the plate in the bottom of the fourth and make the score, 4-3, in favor of Jackson Memorial.

Christian Pellone showed off his footwork during the six-run sixth as well. He beat out a bunt single to load the bases with none out and on Iadisernia's double, he twice eluded a tag by Maypother, juking past the St. Rose catcher to touch the plate.

Petosa followed with his two-run double two batters later to make the score 9-3 and the Jaguars added a run on a fielder's choice ground out by senior shortstop Mike Dimino. The first run of the inning scored on a sacrifice fly by Lasko.

Both Maypothers and Sestito took healthy swings against Kelich over the first three innings, with the trio combining to go 4-for-5 with a walk. Brody Maypother was 2-for-2 with a home run, Sestito 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored, and Riley Maypother walked, flew out to center and crushed three long foul balls while out in front of Kelich's offspeed stuff.

Once Tallent entered, the heart of St. Rose's lineup quieted considerably. The three seniors combined to go 0-for-5 with a walk by Riley Maypother and a strikeout by each Maypother.

"We were trying to get them with offspeed stuff and it just looked like they were sitting on Shawn's curveball a little bit," Malta said. "He threw some good ones, but I thought Ryder came in and his curveball was just a little bit sharper today. He was keeping those guys off balance with that, locating it and I think that was the biggest difference with him coming in the game."

Dimino and Tom Pellone were the only seniors in Jackson Memorial 's starting batting order Saturday. Malta wrote in sophomore starters at catcher (Andrew Sefick), first base (Petosa), second base (Christian Pellone), third base (Jake Wendell) and center field (Lasko) and juniors Iadisernia and Bathmann at the corner outfield spots.

All signs are pointing up with the talented young lineup and the veteran pitching staff, but if the Jaguars need a reminder that things can go south quickly, they need look no further back than 2016. That year, Jackson Memorial started 6-0, only to spiral to a 9-14 finish.

"It feels like it used to around here," said Iadisernia, is a three-year starter as a junior. "I had an older brother here, so I know how it was with them always competing for championships. It seems like it's getting back to that, but we still have work to do."


Box Score

Jackson Memorial 10, St. Rose 3

St. Rose (1-1)1020000364
Jackson Mem (4-0)102106X10120


Riley Maypother34333458
John Crowley (L, 0-1)38740055
Jackson MemorialIPHRERBBSOPC
Shawn Kelich25332255
Ryder Tallent (W, 1-0)41003363
Joe Princiotta10000011

Top Hitters

St. RoseStats
Brody Maypother2-4, HR, R, RBI
Sammy Sestito2-4, R, RBI
Jackson MemorialStats
Alex Iadisernia2-3, 2B, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI
Carmine Petosa1-2, 2B, 2 BB, R, 2 RBI
Christian Pellone2-3, 2 R, SB
Andrew Sefick2-3
Troy Bathman1-2, HBP, RBI
Tom Pellone1-4, 2 R, SB


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