The Shore Daily, 4/8/15
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Some early-season wins to liven up the baseball division races and a pair of lacrosse upsets as well as a Top 10 showdown headlined Tuesday's action as the games got played in between the raindrops.
Also, make sure to check out the new spring sports preview issue of the Shore Sports Network Journal, our free newspaper that can be found at Wawa, Jersey Mike's, Surf Taco and Shore Conference high schools.
Let's get right to the Top 10 Performers from all the Tuesday action.
1. Brett Hyers, Sr., P, Toms River North
Finishing any seven-inning game on only 59 pitches qualifies as a dominating effort, and Hyers did that against a Top 10 team in shutting down No. 7 Toms River South in an impressive 9-2 win for the No. 3 Mariners. The UNC-Asheville recruit only allowed one earned run on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts on Greg Maddux-level efficiency. He pitched to contact, trusted his defense, and it resulted in a great win for Toms River North, which was led at the plate by junior Brandon Fischer, who went 4-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Toms River North now has wins over South and Jackson Memorial, and any time you can make it through those two unscathed the first time around in Class A South is a good thing.
2. Andrew Lombardi, So., A, Toms River North
Another Mariners athlete also had a memorable day as Lombardi scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Mariners stunned No. 4 St. John Vianney 7-6 in a nondivisional game for a great early-season lacrosse victory.
3. Erik Rant, Jr., Midfielder, Ocean
Rant had some last-second heroics of his own as he scored with only one second left in regulation to send Ocean to a thrilling 11-10 nondivisional win over Barnegat. Rant finished with a game-high five goals in the victory.
4. Seamus Brazill, Sr., P, Barnegat
The Bengals' 6-foot-9 standout helped them jump right back into the Class B South race after an early loss by handing Manchester its first loss. The Hofstra recruit tossed a complete-game, two-hit shutout in a 2-0 win to outduel Manchester sophomore Joe Felipe, who pitched a complete-game six-hitter in the loss. Brazill walked two and struck out six for Barnegat.
5. John Van Schoick, Jr., P, Point Beach
Van Schoick had an outstanding all-around game to help the Garnet Gulls get an early leg up in the Class B Central race. He threw a four-hit shutout and also went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI as Point Beach routed defending division champion St. Rose 11-0 in five innings to improve to 3-0. Van Schoick struck out five and walked three in the win.
6. Cole Robbins, Jr., 1B, Toms River East
Robbins belted a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to help the Raiders beat Lacey 5-4 in Class A South. He finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored to improve Toms River East to 2-1.
7. Zack Ornstein, Sr., Midfielder, Howell
Ornstein won 10 of 13 face-offs and also added a goal as the No. 5 Rebels beat No. 7 Colts Neck 7-4 for their first win over the Cougars since 2011. The victory also moved Howell to 4-0 for the season.
8. Kyle Johnson, Jr., 3B, Jackson Memorial
The Jaguars' three-sport standout had a big day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI to complement a strong pitching performance by Ryan Takacs in a 6-0 win over Southern.
9. Shane Chandler, So., OF, Keyport
Chandler stuffed the box score as he went 3-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored, an RBI, and a career-high five stolen bases in a 9-3 win over Henry Hudson for the Red Raiders' first victory of the season.
10. Ian Terry, Jr., SS, Keansburg
Terry finished with three hits, including two doubles, as well as three stolen bases while also striking out five in relief to get the win in a 6-5 victory over Ranney in Class B Central to improve the Titans to 2-1.
Notes: Senior Anthony Arneth, who has the unenviable task of trying to fill the shoes of 2014 SSN Player of the Year Andrew DiPiazza as Central's ace, only allowed one earned run in 6 1/3 innings while also scoring the go-ahead run in a win over Point Boro on Tuesday...St. Rose is still trying to find its way under new coach Chris LeMore as the Purple Roses are off to an uncharacteristic 0-3 start after the loss to Point Beach...Senior infielder John Carello has become a strong contributor for Jackson Memorial in his first year as a starter. He added three more hits yesterday in the win over Southern...Junior Jake Talarico threw a five-inning no-hitter for Ocean against Cape May Tech down in Myrtle Beach in his first varsity start.
Bob Badders has the latest Shore Sports Network Top 10 rankings out, although Tuesday's results immediately monkey-wrenched some of them as the group after the top three of Southern, Rumson and CBA tries to sort itself out.
Also, a Southern star headlines the latest Lacrosse Players of the Week.
Middletown South junior offensive lineman Thomas Lopez, part of the group of top prospects from the Shore Class of 2016, is taking a visit to Rutgers today.
Also, one of the top eighth-grade prospects in years from the Shore, running back Josh McKenzie, will not be playing locally. He is headed up north to Bergen Catholic, which also has the state's top-ranked wrestling program. McKenzie, who is also a star wrestler, is the younger brother of Wall junior wrestling standout Matt McKenzie, who reached the Region VI final this winter before losing to eventual state champion Tyree Sutton of Keansburg.
The younger McKenzie is the second mega-prospect from the Shore in two years to get snapped up by a North Jersey non-public. Asbury Park basketball star Naz Reid, a 6-foot-8 freshman, played for Roselle Catholic's NJSIAA Tournament of Champions-winning team this winter. It used to be that Shore coaches had to be worried about players choosing the local parochial schools over their programs. Now both the local publics and non-publics have to be worried about schools that are 60 or 70 miles away attracting local talent.
Also, the whole announcement thing for an eighth-grader seems like a little much. I don't blame McKenzie. I know he is a top talent, and I'm sure he was getting asked every five minutes where he was going to high school and wanted to put it to rest, but let him be a kid for five minutes before he gets swallowed up by the jaws of the recruiting machine the minute he steps into high school.
But the bottom line is that if these "announcements" by eighth-graders of their high school choice get popular, they will continue. It's all about the almighty page view for media organizations now, so if these "commitments" get views, media will continue to pretend that they're big news. It's not about quality, it's about numbers. It's about "vote a million times in our dumb poll so we can get a lot of page views," "3 reasons you should click on this meaningless post," or "click through our annoying slide show so we can get extra views rather than just giving you the information directly."
Maybe this is just the way everything is headed. Soon we'll have eighth-graders sitting at a table with three or four hats of high schools on it before picking one up to announce their commitment like seniors do with their college commitments. At that point, I will promptly be quitting and moving on to write about something other than scholastic athletics.
It's already gotten crazy enough that eighth-graders are announcing their college commitments, let alone where they are going to high school. How in God's name you know where you want to go to college and what you want to do with your life when you're 13 years old is beyond me, not to mention that a lot can happen between 13 and 18.
More on Wednesday:
- A Pompton Lakes football player has overcome numerous obstacles, including a brain tumor.
- Phillies prospects to watch on the Lakewood BlueClaws this year.
- The Reds' Devin Mesoraco had bats made from his own trees on the property of his house.
- A guy has become a star on Vine at 40 years old.
- You've heard of two-timing. This Chinese guy was 17-timing.
- How Buffalo Wild Wings built a billion-dollar empire.
On tap for today:
I will end with Oakland University installing an awesome blacktop court, and a GoPro camera remaining in one piece after falling almost 10,000 feet to the ground.