By Phil Anastasia
Here's the first Top 10 of the regular season, with pre-season ranking in parentheses:
1. Gloucester Catholic (1) 5-1
Freshman Tyler Mondile went six strong, allowing one hit with nine strikeouts, to earn his first career victory in Saturday's semifinals of the Mingo Bay Classic in Myrtle Beach. The Rams went 4-1 in South Carolina, losing to St. James by a 3-2 score in the title game. Senior Mike Shawaryn was hitting 90 mph on the radar gun with a bunch of scouts in the stands in his one outing of the trip.
2. Washington Twp. (2) 3-0
The Minutemen might have the most position-player depth in South Jersey. They can hit 1 through 9 and bring bats off the bench. It was a good sign that first baseman Shaine Hughes, who battled an illess through preseason, delivered a double in Saturday's 6-5 win over Absegami in the semifinals of the Grand Slam Classic.
3. St. Augustine (3) 2-0
The Hermits are getting good work from junior Joe Gatto, a North Carolina recruit who has a pitching win and two doubles. Senior Chris Oakley, another North Carolina recruit, pitched well in an 11-1 win over AC in the season opener. Big game Wednesday against visiting Hammonton.
4. Lenape (6) 3-0
Senior lefty Kevin Milley set the tone for the Indians with a 12-strikeout performance in the season opener. The Indians' pitching was strong during a Southern swing that has this team thinking big. Lenape gets first crack at WT on Thursday on Minutemen's field.
5. Bishop Eustace (4) 3-1
Junior lefty Devin Smeltzer struck out 12 in five innings in a 4-2 win over Camden Catholic on Saturday. BE coach Sam Tropiano wasn't too upset after 10-5 loss to Audubon in Sunday's Ralph Shaw Classic final. BE committed five errors in the loss. This team has pitching quality and quantity with the likes of Smeltzer, Zac Gallen, Justin Hagenman -- who deserved a better fate Sunday -- as well as Dan Morano and promising sophomore right-hander Tyler Phillips. "We're not a finished product," Tropiano said.
6. Cherokee (5) 3-1
Brian Marconi went six solid innings in 2-0 win over Clearview in semifinals of Grand Slam Classic on Saturday. Still another team with pitching depth. Still another Olympic American team with its sights set on division title as well as Diamond and SJ 4 success. Big week for the Chiefs includes games Wednesday vs. heavy-hitting Camden Catholic, Friday vs. rival Shawnee and Saturday vs. WT in finals of Grand Slam. Counting that game, plus two in the division, plus Diamond and SJ 4, and Cherokee conceivably could see WT five times this season.
7. Eastern (NR) 4-0
Alex Bussison's no-hitter with 14 strikeouts was capstone of a Southern swing that featured four shutout victories. The Vikings must have played some strong defense, too. Four shutouts are a credit to the whole team, not just the pitching staff. Eastern has right- hander Steve Priolo, a Marist recruit, rested and ready to face WT in an Olympic American game on Monday on the Vikings' field.
8. Williamstown (7) 2-1
Senior John Brady was hard-luck loser in 3-2 setback to Delsea in season opener. The Braves bounced back from that tough loss -- they were two outs away from a 2-1 win -- by beating GCIT and EHT. This team will hit. This team can run. Pitching will be the key.
9. Audubon (NR) 4-0
The Green Wave scored 10 runs in each game in capturing the title of the 18th annual Ralph Shaw Classic. Junior Eric Schorr went deep for a two-run shot and finished with 3 runs and 3 RBIs in 10-5 win over BE in title game Sunday afternoon. Seniors Bob Panico (2 RBIs) and Zach Welsher (2 RBIs) are delivering key hits.
10. Moorestown (9) 3-1
Junior right-hander Scott Zimmer opened the season with a five-inning no-hitter in a 12-0 win over Delran. Moorestown has allowed two runs all season. The bats went silent in 2-0 loss to Buena on Saturday, thanks to the Chiefs' Denny Brady.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically):
Buena (2-0): Brady has both of Buena's wins.
Rancocas Valley (3-0): Nick Cieri and Alec Fanelli each had three extra-base hits as RV went 3-0 in Florida. Big game Tuesday at home against Burlington Twp.
Shawnee (3-1): Pitt recruit Nick Montefusco earned a pitching win and rapped four extra-base hits in 3-1 Southern swing for the Renegades.
In the mix:
Delsea (2-0): Jon Cosenza has both pitching wins for the Crusaders, who hope to get junior right-hander Bryan Dobzanski (shoulder soreness) back by the end of the month.
Hammonton (3-0): Junior Alex Padovani hit a pair of HRs as Blue Devils finished Southern swing with second straight 10-0 win.
Haddon Twp. (3-1): The Hawks have bounced back from heartbreaking loss to Audubon in opener. Senior Tyler Easterday was MVP of Rohrer Classic on Saturday.
Sterling (2-0): The Silver Knights host Haddon Twp. in a key inter-division clash on Monday.
Burlington Twp. (1-2): The Falcons broke out in 14-6 win over Maple Shade as Aaron Crichlow cracked two doubles and Ronnie Grant hit a HR.
Cinnaminson (4-1): The Pirates lead SJ -- and maybe the state -- with 76 runs. That's an average of 15.2 per game. John Bednarek has two wins.
Clearview (2-2): Binghamton recruit Matt Pennell pitched well in 2-0 loss to Cherokee in Saturday's Grand Slam Classic semifinals.
Paul VI (2-1): Matt McKeown was the winning pitcher and cracked an HR in 6-4 win over West Deptford on Saturday.
Cherry Hill East (1-2) Junior Nick DiEva, who has committed to Stony Brook, shut down Cherokee in 3-2 victory on Thursday.
Camden Catholic (2-2): The Irish can hit. Junior Joey Craig has a pair of doubles and an HR.
Holy Cross (2-1): Lancers visit Delran for cross-town clash on Tuesday.
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.