Baseball: Top 10

Here's the The Inquirer's preseason Top 10, with last season’s record in parentheses.

Just a handful of teams played Saturday, and so there isn't a new Top 10 for Monday's paper. An updated Top 10 will be out next Sunday.

1. Gloucester Catholic (31-2): The Rams have a potent lineup with five Division I recruits in infielders Robbie Alessandrine (Monmouth), Joe Brooks (East Carolina), John Brue (St. Joseph) and Brett Tenuto (Stony Brook) and outfielder Pat Kane (Old Dominion) along with catcher Elliott McCummings, all of whom better than .400 last season. Their speed and fundamentally sound approach should play well in new-bat era. The key will be developing pitching depth behind junior ace Mike Shawaryn (7-0, 1.56 ERA).

2.  Eastern (22-8): The Vikings are built to win in the new era with a great double-play combination and lots of pitching depth. Shortstop Tylor Love and second baseman Nick Tierno (.438, 23 steals) lead the defense, and the pitching staff features College of New Jersey recruit Steve Volpe, La Salle recruit Mike Marchitto, James Santore and Steve Priolo.

3. Millville (22-6): The defending South Jersey Group 4 champions recruit seven starters, led by top pitcher/infielder Andrew Biggs (.389, 7 HRs, 8-3 on the mound), a Delaware State recruit. Senior Aaron Cox also is a top pitcher and hitter (.300, 29 RBIs, 7-1 with a 1.17 ERA).

4. Audubon (22-5): The defending Group 1 state champions got a big boost with the return of senior left-hander Andrew Schorr, an East Carolina recruit who missed most of the last two seasons with injuries. He joins left-hander Kevin Kraemer (5-2) at the top of the rotation. Senior first baseman Keith Michalski (.474, eight homers, 41 RBIs) and senior catcher Derek Wickersham (.554, 41 RBIs) lead the offense.

5. Cherokee (13-11): Like Eastern, Cherokee has pitching depth and a top defense. Monmouth recruit Colin Perro (5-5, 366 ERA) leads the pitching staff, which also features junior Sean Kelly. Senior centerfielder Jordan Glover (.365) and senior shortstop Shane Garrett (.383) are top two-way players.

6. St. Augustine (27-4): The defending Non-Public A state champions have pitching depth in veterans Christian Carmolino (3-0, 1.14 ERA) and Kevin Baxter (3-2, 4.72) as well as hard-throwing newcomer Chris Oakley, who has committed to North Carolina. Junior catcher Barry Buchowski (.429, eight doubles) is a team leader and junior shortstop Christian Adorno (.400) is a top glove man.

7. Moorestown (17-11): The Quakers return most of the squad that lost to Seneca in a shootout in the South Jersey Group 3 finals. Senior catcher Joey Frey (.423), a Delaware recruit, leads the way along with senior shortstop Andrew Lisa (.423, six homers) and senior outfielder Nick Savino (.397, 10 doubles). The Quakers don’t have an stud pitcher but have lots of good arms.

8. Paul VI (20-8): The Eagles will hit, even in the new era. Junior outfielder Nick Gallo (.521) led South Jersey in doubles with 21 and seniors Ned Kerr and Paschal Petrongolo, a Jacksonville (Ala.) State recruit, are big threats at the plate. The key for the Eagles will be the development of the pitching staff.

9. Buena (22-8): The Chiefs return 13 lettermen from a team that upset No. 1 Gloucester Catholic in the semifinals and captured the title in the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic. Senior catcher Manny Colon (.375, 7 HRs, 37 RBIs), a Maryland-Baltimore County recruit, and senior shortstop Anthony Lopez (.360, six triples, 38 RBIS), a Southern Illinois recruit, lead the way.

10. Cherry Hill West (14-11): The Lions have seven seniors who are three-year starters, led by outfielder/pitcher Brenden DelMonte (.400, 27 Ks in 20 innings), a Navy recruit, and catcher Zach Renna (.424), a New Jersey Institute of Technology recruit. Third baseman Alex Injaian batted .449 with 38 RBIs.

Almost:

Shawnee: The Renegades will get a boost when ace righthander Kevin Boswick returns from an ankle injury.

Bishop Eustace: The Crusaders have a stud at the top of the rotation in Keith Wallace.

Delsea: Crusaders could win balanced Royal Division with a lot of pitching depth.

Sacred Heart: The Lions opened the season Saturday with a 2-1 win over rival St. Joe.

-- Phil Anastasia

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