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NJSIAA Tournament

Sectional Finals

Central Jersey Group IV

(3) Middletown South 2, (9) Marlboro 0

Senior Matt Pontari pitched a six-hit shutout with nine strikeouts and one walk and the Eagles (20-8) blanked the Mustangs (15-9) to capture their first sectional championship since 2011, when they won Central Jersey Group III.

Middletown South will host South Jersey champion Clearview Monday in the Group IV semifinal.

Pontari gave up leadoff singles in each of the first three innings, but worked out of trouble each time, including a one-two-three inning in the third thanks to a pickoff at first base.

Heading into the top of the seventh, Pontari - who walked 11 batters in his last two starts against Red Bank Catholic and Freehold Township - had not walked a batter and finally issued his first free pass to Julian Buchman with one out in the inning.

Pontari bounced back with a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch to Antonio Vitale to move within an out of the championship. Marlboro No. 9 hitter Josh Mack hit a solid shot out toward left-center field on a 3-2 pitch from Pontari, but Tom DeMarco camped under it for the final out.

DeMarco drove in the first Middletown South run of the game when he smacked an RBI single to right field to score sophomore Ben Schild, who singled to lead off the top of the second.

Middletown South added a second run in the bottom of the third when shortstop Will Doyle and senior left fielder Pat Eagone ran a double steal with Pontari at the plate. Pontari struck out on the pitch from Mustangs ace Mark Capell, but Marlboro catcher Andrew Bellone's throw to third carried into left field, allowing Doyle to score and Eagone to reach third.

Capell took the hard-luck loss in going the distance in his final start as a Mustang. The Yale commit allowed one earned run on three hits with two walks and nine strikeouts. After the second inning, Capell did not allow a hit and after walking Doyle and Eagone to lead off the third, he retired 11 of the next 12. The lone batter to reach against Capell in inning's four through seven was a ball that Eagone hit softly back to Capell that he failed to field for an error.

Senior Frank Talarico went 2-for-3 to highlight the Marlboro offense.


Central Jersey Group III

(1) Colts Neck 3, (7) Northern Burlington 2

Junior Dave Cohen blasted a game-winning RBI single over the right-field fence in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Cougars (22-6) their first ever sectional championship. Cohen's big swing would have been a walk-off grand slam had his team not mobbed him coming around second base before he could make the trip around the bases.

Cameron Knipp led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to center and Christian Rice dropped a double down the right-field line to set the Cougars up with runners on second and third and none out.

After an intentional walk to Brad Salamone, Cohen stepped to the plate and hammered a pitch that carried over the right-field fence. The celebration near third base prevented Cohen from making it home for a game-ending grand slam, but Knipp crossed the plate with the winning run to make it official.

Cohen finished 2-for-4 and junior catcher Joe Cilea was 1-for-1 with a run scored for Colts Neck which will face the winner of Saturday's South Jersey Group III final between No. 2 Ocean City and No. 1 Mainland.

If Mainland advances, the Cougars would likely face Mustangs ace Chase Petty, who has been clocked up to 101 miles-per-hour with his fastball and is considered a potential first-round pick in the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft.


Central Jersey Group II

(4) Voorhees 9, (11) Raritan 2

Junior left-hander Truman Richter fired 6 1/3 strong innings with two unearned runs allowed on five hits and the Vikings (23-4) blew the game open with a five-run sixth inning to end the run for the Rockets (14-10) while winning their first sectional championship since 1998.

John Bachmann and Alex Dekis each drove in a run for Raritan, while junior starter Ben Hutchins allowed five runs in five-plus innings in taking the loss.


Central Jersey Group I

(1) Middlesex 2, (6) Point Beach 1

Senior Mark Geist led off the bottom of the seventh with a double and scored the winning run on a throwing error at the plate with nobody out as the Blue Jays (20-4) edged the Garnet Gulls (15-9) for their fourth consecutive Central Group I sectional championship.

Point Beach jumped on top thanks to three straight two-out singles in the top of the first inning. Starting pitcher Andrew Banick started the rally, followed by an infield single by senior Alec Glen. Junior Colin Matuschat then came through with a two-out, RBI single to center to make an an early 1-0 advantage for the Gulls.

Middlesex starter Raiden Yost, however, responded with six consecutive shutout innings to finish off a complete-game five-hitter with five strikeouts.

Banick worked the first three innings, giving up one run on two hits and one walk while notching one strikeout. James Larsen took the loss, pitching three-plus innings with one unearned run allowed on five hits and no walks or strikeouts. Phil Trebour took the mound after the Geist double and gave up a fielder's choice in which Geist was safe at third and an intentional walk to load the bases.


South Jersey Group II

(12) Manchester 7, (2) Delran 5

Junior Sean McAllister drilled a go-ahead three-run home run with two out in the top of the seventh inning and the Hawks (13-10) rallied to beat the Bears (18-6) and complete an improbable run to the South Jersey Group II championship - the program's first sectional championship since 2003.

Kris Giangreco hit a big two-run double to stretch Delran's lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth and it was at that point Manchester began to claw back. Junior Mike Damato had the first big swing of the comeback when he ripped an RBI double down the right-field line to trim the deficit to 5-3 in the top of the fifth.

McAllister then came through in the fifth with his first big at-bat, which came in the form of a sacrifice fly to cut Delran's lead to 5-4.

Both sides held firm on the mound, with Manchester senior Rich Coufal coming on in place of sophomore starter Joe Sclama to keep the deficit at one after the Hawks came up empty in the top of the sixth with the bottom half of the order hitting. Delran loaded the bases with no one out and Coufal induced a one-two-three double-play, followed by an intentional walk and a strikeout to end the sixth-inning threat.

That set the stage for McAllister, who needed the two hitters ahead of him to reach in order to get a chance. With two out in the inning, Damato ripped a single that ate up the shortstop, followed by a hard-hit ball from junior Blake Warren to extend the game for McAllister. The junior second baseman crushed a 2-2 pitch to left field that cleared the fence that set off a celebration that rivaled most walk-off celebrations.

The Hawks still had to record the final three outs and after a walk to start the inning, sophomore Frank Kern came on to end the threat and clinch the championship.

Manchester moves on to play at Central Jersey Group II champion Voorhees Monday in the Group II semifinal.


Monmouth County Tournament

Round of 16

(4) Rumson-Fair Haven 10, (13) Ranney 0 (5 Innings)

Charlie Jones pitched a two-hit shutout to pick up his fifth win and Charlie Tallman hit a solo home run to lead the Bulldogs past the Panthers and into a quarterfinal matchup with Freehold Township on Saturday.

Ranney (16-6)00000xx023
RFH (19-6-1)20053xx1082


Marcello Mastroianni (L)3.14662449
Jack Renaud1.14421341
Charlie Jones (W, 5-0)52001477

Top Hitters

RanneyGame Stats
Ricky Nagy1-2
Diego Tavarez1-2
Rumson-Fair HavenGame Stats
Thomas Elgrim1-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Charlie Tallman1-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB
Owen Kenney3-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI
Andrew Schmid1-2, 2 RBI
Liam Murphy1-2, RBI, 2 R
John Bruno1-3, 2 R



Ocean County Tournament


(11) Toms River North 10, (3) Donovan Catholic 3

(2) Central 1, (7) Brick 0

Junior Cam Leiter pitched a two-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts and no walks and senior Trevor Coltenback singled home to game's lone run to propel the Golden Eagles past the Green Dragons and into the OCT semifinals Saturday against Toms River North.

Senior Evan Agrapides picked up a pair of hits to break Central's single-season hits record. Agrapides is up to 43 for the season, breaking a 34-year-old record previously held by Keith Reardon.


Regular Season


Howell 10, Brick Memorial 0

Senior Chris Ellison broke the single-season school record with his 11th home run of 2021 and the Rebels (16-11) wrapped up their season by beating the Mustangs (14-11).


Southern 17, Pinelands 6

Southern (6-15)026702X17123
Pinelands (1-18)101040X632


Nick Desiderio536449101
Taylor Munt10000311
Michael Schaffer37842164
Brendan Sweeney0.12551115
Alex Ulrich0.21220013
Jack Lawrie22221143

Top Hitters

SouthernGame Stats
Jack Plesniarksi2-2, 2 HR, BB, 3 R, 5 RBI
Mike Mucci1-3, HR, 4 RBI
Xavier Hendricks1-3, HR, BB, 2 R, RBI
PinelandsGame Stats
Rian O’Rourke1-4, 2 R
Stephen DeMilio1-2, BB, R, RBI
Casey Baglivo1-2, 2B, BB, R, RBI



Toms River South 4, Bayonne 0


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