Saturday, March 28, 2015

Baseball: New Top 10

Baseball: New Top 10

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By Phil Anastasia

It was a tough week for some teams in the Top 10, as Bishop Eustace, Washington Township and Lenape all lost two games.

Eastern looks like the hottest team this side of Gloucester Catholic as the Vikings have won 10 in a row. They've rocketed all the way from No. 13 in the preseason Top 20 (bad call there) to No. 2 in the latest rankings.

Vineland makes an appearance this week as the Fighting Clan improved to 10-2 and won the Roseboro Tournament at Collingswood, 10-running Camden Catholic in  the process. That was three days after Camden Catholic beat Bishop Eustace.

Here's the new Top 10, with last week's ranking in parentheses:

1. Gloucester Catholic (1) 14-1

Junior lead-off man Mike Garafolo leads the Rams with 18 hits and 17 runs. GC was off all week as its seniors were in Florida for the class trip. The Rams have a big week ahead of them, with four games capped by that showdown with St. Joseph of Montvale on Saturday night at Provident Bank Park in Pomona, N.Y. That looks more and more like it will be a matchup of GC right-hander Mike Shawaryn and SJ lefty Rob Kaminsky in a classic clash of potential high draft picks.

 2. Eastern (3) 15-1

The Vikings have allowed just 21 runs during a 10-game winning streak. The pitching has been strong behind seniors Steve Priolo, Alex Bussison and Mat Costa. Senior 2B Nick Tierno and junior 3B Tom Flacco have been throwing the leather around, too. These guys are threatening to run away with the Olympic American race -- not an easy thing to do in a division with so many strong squads.

 

3. Bishop Eustace (2) 12-3

Senior Zac Gallen is 3-0 on the mound for the Crusaders. BE sustained a tough loss to Lenape and fell to Olympic National rival Camden Catholic in a 1-2 week. They bounced back and beat Cinnaminson 11-6 on Saturday. This team has seven different guys with home runs. But only Mike Krusinski has two. Everybody else has one.

 4. St. Augustine (7) 10-4

Through Saturday, senior shortstop Christian Adorno was batting .429 and was 17-for-17 in stolen-base attempts. Senior Chris Oakley is 5-0 on the mound. The Hermits got a big lift with a 6-3 win over then-No. 4 Washington Twp. in a Coaches vs. Cancer showcase Saturday at Millville. They dropped a 6-2 decision to Bergen Catholic on Sunday at Toms River South.

 5. Washington Township (4) 9-5

The return of senior Billy Grubb, who missed the first three weeks with an arm injury, should strengthen the Minutemen's pitching staff. This team has been a little up and down. This season has been much more of a struggle than last season, when WT won a few games early in walk-off fashion and carried that momentum all the way to June. WT has a big game Wednesday as No. 2 Eastern visits town in a matchup with major SJ 4 power points and Joe Hartmand Diamond Classic implications.

 6. Shawnee (5) 9-4

Seniors Jarret DeHart, Nick Montefusco, Brian Lawler and Eric Spires have combined for 33 extra-base hits. That's quite the engine room for the Renegades offense, maybe the most potent group of 2-3-4-5 hitters in SJ. Frosh Jake Miller has three wins on the mound.

 7. Audubon (9) 10-1

In a 3-0 week, the Green Wave allowed just three runs behind sophomore pitchers Austin Tassi and Wayne Test. Audubon has all but clinched the Colonial Patriot berth in the Diamond Classic. Senior Justin Jannetti, who underwent brain surgery in February, collected his first extra-base hit of the season with a double the other day. Big game Thursday as Colonial Liberty power Sterling comes to Hank Greenberg Field.

 8. Rancocas Valley (8) 9-1

The Red Devils hope senior catcher Nick Cieri (pictured), who dislocated his left (non-throwing) shoulder on Saturday, will return for the stretch run. Cieri jammed his shoulder diving into first base trying to beat out a ground ball. Coach Dave Hower said Saturday, "It doesn't look good," but stressed that Cieri will be re-evaluated on Monday. Cieri, a Maryland recruit, was being scouted by major-league teams in advance of the draft in early June. One scout with a National League team said he projected Cieri as a potential pick between the 10th and 15th rounds.

 9. Williamstown (10) 9-3

Senior right-hander Kyle Grimm is 5-0 on the mound for the Braves. Williamstown has a huge game Wednesday at Delsea. The Crusaders rallied in the bottom of the seventh to beat the Braves 3-2 in  the April 3 season opener. Major TriCo Royal implications in the rematch. A Diamond Classic berth could be on the line, too.

10. Vineland (NR) 10-2

Senior Don Money, grandson of the former Phillies player of the same name, was 5-for-8 in two games as the Fighting Clan beat Camden Catholic (11-1) and host Collingswood (9-5) to win the Roseboro Tournament on Saturday. That was an impressive performance against a CC team that has some good wins this season. Vineland is in the mix for a Diamond Classic berth and will be a team to watch in a loaded SJ 4 field.

 Under consideration (listed alphabetically):

Cherry Hill West (8-3): The Lions have won 7 in a row behind seniors Brad Machinski, Will Allen and Brandon Perna. Huge Olympic National game home Monday vs. Bishop Eustace.

Lenape (8-4): The Indians have lost three of four but the one win was a rousing comeback victory over Bishop Eustace.

 In the mix (in no particular order):

 Delsea (10-3): The Crusaders can seize command of the TriCo Royal with another win over rival Williamstown on Wednesday. The return of junior Bryan Dobzanski has strengthened a pitching staff that has a pair of solid arms in senior Nick Freijomil and sophomore Joe Brewin.

West Deptford (8-4): The Eagles are making a run at Sterling for the top spot in the Colonial Liberty.

Buena (9-2): The Chiefs have a chance this week to lock down the Cape National berth in the Diamond Classic.

NBC (9-1): Soph Ryan Shinn has two pitching wins, two homers and five doubles for the Greyhounds.

Holy Cross (7-3): Senior Jim Hoff leads the Lancers with six doubles and frosh SS Joe Paolini is playing well for his dad, coach Steve Paolini.

Sterling (9-4): Senior Connor Walsh has four pitching wins for the Silver Knights. Big game Thursday at Audubon.

Pennsville (9-3): Senior Eric Lankeau cracked a home run as the Eagles beat Buena 5-4 on Saturday.

Moorestown (7-5): Senior Tyler Kaiser has four doubles for the Quakers. Big game Tuesday at Cinnaminson.

Pitman (9-3): Senior Trevor Datz collected his 100th career hit on Thursday. He leads the Panthers with eight extra-base hits, including three HRs.

Haddon Twp. (10-3): Junior Nick DeRitis has three pitching wins for the Hawks.

Cinnaminson (8-5): Cole Pewor has six doubles and three triples for the Pirates.

-- Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.

 

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About this blog
Born and raised in South Jersey, Phil Anastasia prefers standing on the sidelines at high school football games on Friday nights to sitting in the press box at Eagles games on Sunday afternoons. He’s a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in English. Reach Phil at panastasia@phillynews.com.

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