VOTE: Ocean County Sports Medicine Baseball Player of the Week: MCT Edition
The Player of the Week makes its triumphant return just as the Shore Conference Tournament is concluding. There will be a Player of the Week to recognize the top performers of the SCT, but first, we must shout out the top players and pitchers from both of the county tournaments.
In this post, we will run down the top eight standouts from the Monmouth County Tournament, with an advantage built in for the two teams that made it to the championship game. There are two nominees from both Ranney and Red Bank Catholic and in order to ensure that those teams and players have an earned advantage, the two players from those teams will have their final voting totals combined, with the team leader getting credit for all of it. So if one of the non-finalists is going to win the MCT Player of Week/Tournament award, it will take a massive voter turnout.
The honorable mention players below are pulled both from the tournaments, as well as last week's performances from both the regular season and the Shore Conference Tournament.
Vote once per hour from now until the poll closes at 7 p.m. on Sunday night, when the Shore Conference Tournament championship game begins. The winner will be announced on Monday and will receive a Player of the Week shirt courtesy of Ocean County Sports Medicine.
Shane Andrus, Red Bank Catholic
Andrus had big hits all over the place during the Monmouth County Tournament, finishing the four-game run 6-for-13 with two doubles, a home run and six RBI. He drove in two of the three runs in a win over CBA in the MCT semifinals and hit the game-tying RBI double in the top of the seventh inning in the epic MCT championship game vs. Ranney.
Ryan Costello, Ranney
When the Monmouth County Tournament started, Costello was not yet eligible to play while still waiting for the required time to pass before he could play following his transfer from Freehold Township. By the end of the tournament, he had two of the biggest swings in the entire tournament. Costello went 5-for-10 with a triple and four RBI, including 2-for-4 with a two-run triple and the game-winning, walk-off single in the championship win over Red Bank Catholic.
Brandon Falco, Matawan
Matawan has the best surprise postseason run of the season at the Shore so far this spring and Falco was the key figure in the Huskies’ run to the MCT quarterfinals as a No. 22 seed. The junior right-hander and NJIT commit pitched a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts to give the Huskies a win over Howell in the round of 16, then gave up three earned runs with seven strikeouts and no walks while going head-to-head with CBA ace Chris Levonas.
A.J. Gracia, Ranney
Not only did Gracia go 6-for-11 with three doubles and a homer during Ranney’s championship run in the MCT, but the Duke commit also pitched in all four Ranney MCT games and picked up the win in three of them while Ranney won in the late innings in the round of 16 vs. Monmouth, semifinals vs. Rumson-Fair Haven and championship game vs. Red Bank Catholic.
Jake Howlett, Wall
Wall’s junior catcher has had a huge season at the plate with seven home runs, the most notable of which came in the MCT round of 16. Howlett went 2-for-5 with a double and a walk-off, solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Crimson Knights a 3-2 win over Freehold Township. Wall was no match for Red Bank Catholic in the following round, but Howlett still went 2-for-4 in that loss.
Chris Levonas, CBA
Levonas has made a serious bid for the Pitcher of the Year in the Shore Conference and his MCT performance is right at the core of his argument. The junior right-hander and Wake Forest commit pitched a two-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in a round-of-16 win over Holmdel, beat Falco head-to-head with 10 strikeouts in five three-hit innings vs. a hot Matawan lineup, and held Red Bank Catholic to three hits while striking out seven, but gave up three runs in a loss to the Caseys in the semifinals.
Dylan Passo, Red Bank Catholic
Red Bank Catholic’s offense was tough on pitchers throughout the MCT and while Andrus kept coming up with big hits, Passo hit just about everything. The sophomore and Notre Dame commit went 6-for-9 with two doubles, two homers, six walks and six RBI during RBC’s push into the MCT championship game.
Jack Riva, Rumson-Fair Haven
Rumson’s junior outfielder had a game to remember in the MCT semifinals at Ranney, where he swatted two home runs during the Bulldogs comeback. His first homer came off starter Nick Coniglio and homer No. 2 was an opposite-field shot off Gracia to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the seventh. For the tournament, Riva was 3-for-7 with two walks.
Alex D’Ambrosio, Marlboro; Brett Patten, Manasquan; Billy Tigar, Raritan; Dylan Briggs, Middletown North; Cullen Condon, Manasquan; Alex Frank, Marlboro; Dan Talarico, Marlboro; Lawrence Elinson, Marlboro; Danny Tsimbinos, CBA; Nick Harnisch, CBA; Gabe Ahlemeyer, Middletown North; R.J. Kernan, Middletown North; Matt Brunner, Red Bank Catholic; Alex Stanyek, Red Bank Catholic; Reece Moroney, Rumson-Fair Haven; Cal Champeau, Rumson-Fair Haven; Evan Booth, Monmouth; E.J. Stefanelli, Shore; Marcello Mastroianni, Ranney; Tommy Kowaliwskyj, Ocean; Jack Lomerson, St. Rose; Frank Soos, St. Rose; Will Christopher, Middletown South; Mason Christopher, Middletown South; Danny Corcoran, Middletown South; James Nitti, CBA; Jack Sassa, Matawan; Joey Bodin, Matawan; Sean Hart, Matawan; Kyle Scott, Keansburg; Erik Schmidt, Keyport; Clinton Campbell, Long Branch; Brennan Moloughney, Neptune; Gabe Cavazzoni, Wall; Zach Szatkowski, Wall; Hank Dal Pra, Red Bank; Matt Iulo, Holmdel; Braden Walsh, Howell; Russell Halvorsen, Howell; Joe Dionisio, Manalapan; Cristian Bernardini, Manalapan; Dylan Shaffer, Manalapan; Tom Diffley, Colts Neck; Tyler Spencer, Colts Neck; Nick Montello, Freehold Boro; Nick Bigotto, Henry Hudson