Monday, January 26, 2015

Baseball: New Top 10

Baseball: New Top 10

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By Phil Anastasia

One thing about this week's Top 10 was easy: Washington Twp. is a slam dunk No. 1.

The rest was hard.

WT has won 12 in a row and capped a great weekend by scoring 28 runs in two games to capture the Diamond Classic title.

SAP moves up to No. 2 after a 3-0 week that included a nice win over then-No. 3 GC. But the Hermits were bounced out of the Diamond in the first round by Eastern and also have lost to BE -- two teams that are below them in this week's rankings.

BE took the No. 3 spot despite an up-and-down week that included losses to AC and CC but also their second win over Eastern this season.

That meant Eastern had to drop to No. 4 because BE had to be ahead of the Vikings based on those two victories, including a 6-1 game in the Diamond quarters on Saturday.

GC dropped to No. 5 with the loss to SAP on Friday.

The Nos. 6-10 spots are a jumble too. This will all play out based on the state tournaments, which start this week but it's a bit of a mess right now.

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

1. Washington Township (2) 21-5
In their 12-game winning streak, the Minutemen have outscored opponents 106-36. They were sensational in the Diamond, starting with that big win over GC in the opener and culminating with a final weekend in which they scored 35 runs. The team to beat in SJ 4, which starts Monday for the Minutemen with a home game against dangerous No. 14 seed TR South.

2. St. Augustine Prep (5) 16-6
Junior Zach Warren is 5-1 with a 1.20 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings. Senior Chris Oakley made a statement with a big win over GC on Friday. These guys are the No. 2 seed in South A, so they would get No. 3 BE at home in the semifinals if forms holds.

3. Bishop Eustace (4) 19-7
Junior first baseman Dan Marano had a pair of RBIs in a 4-3 loss to Camden Catholic in the Diamond Classic semifinals on Sunday. Junior lefty Devin Smeltzer pitched another gem in that 6-1 win over Eastern on Saturday. The Crusaders had senior righty Zac Gallen ready to go in the Diamond final against WT but couldn't get there.

4. Eastern (1) 22-3
The Vikings are the top seed in the South Jersey Group 4 tournament, which starts Monday. This team has great pitching depth for the playoffs as seniors Steve Priolo, Alex Bussison and Mat Costa all have five wins.

5. Gloucester Catholic (3) 22-5
In pursuit of their fourth straight state title, the Rams open the South A tournament Friday as the No. 1 seed. Sophomore Anthony Harrold leads the team with four HRs and six doubles.

6. Vineland (8) 20-5
Senior Don Money leads South Jersey with eight pitching victories for the Fighting Clan. Vineland is the No. 2 seed in SJ 4. The Clan would get No. 3 seed WT at home in the semifinals if form held through the first two rounds. They would be a rematch of the Diamond semis won Sunday by WT by 14-2.

7. Audubon (6)
Junior centerfielder Eric Schorr has three triples and three home runs for the Green Wave. Audubon is No. 2 seed in SJ 1, which should be a strong tournament with No. 1 Pennsville and No. 3 Pitman in the mix as well. Audubon has knocked Pennsville out of the tournament the last two years.

8. Camden Catholic (NR) 17-9
Junior catcher Dom Messina has 10 doubles for the Irish. The Irish are the No. 11 seed in South A. If they can beat No. 6 CBA, they could play BE (the No. 3 seed) for the fifth and final time this season. The rivals have split four games. They each won one in Olympic National play. BE won in the Ralph Shaw tourney at Audubon and CC won in the Diamond semis Sunday at Eastern. Can't remember the last time teams played five times in a season.

9. Cherry Hill West (7) 14-7
Senior shortstop Brad Machinski is batting .468 with 29 hits for the Lions. These guys are a legit threat in SJ 4 with experienced senior pitching in Machinski, Brandon Perna and Will Allen and one of SJ's best sophomores in infielder A.J. Wright.

10. Northern Burlington (NR) 18-3
Sophomore Ryan Shinn has nine doubles and six home runs for the Greyhounds. The top seed in CJ 3 has 10-run wins over RV, Moorestown, New Egypt and Millville -- all in this month.

Under consideration (listed alphabetically):

Delsea (17-6): The top seed in SJ 3. Got a lift in 1-0 loss to Kingsway as junior righty Bryan Dobzanski, who has battled a shoulder ailment, struck out 12. With senior Nick Friejomil and soph Joe Brewin, that makes for a tough staff in the tourney.

Pennsville (17-3): The No. 1 seed in SJ hasn't lost since April 16.

Rancocas Valley (15-3): Senior catcher Nick Cieri, out for three weeks with a separated left shoulder, is expected back as a hitter for the CJ 4 tournament.

 

In the mix:

Pitman (15-5): Trevor Datz and Chris Seibert lead the Panthers, a legit threat in SJ 1.

Sterling (15-6): Junior Donovan Casey has pitched four shutouts.

Delran (14-7): A team to watch in CJ 2.

Bordentown (17-5): The Scotties won the Burlco Patriot title behind pitcher Pat Donohue, who has a 1.29 ERA 

Shawnee (13-9): A dangerous No. 6 seed in SJ 4 with a great offense led by Nick Montefusco, Brian Lawler and Jarret DeHart.

Williamstown (14-8): Senior Kyle Grim is 7-0 on the mound and has walked one batter in 40 IP. Senior Jordan Rizzo leads SJ with 11 doubles.

-- 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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