Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Baseball, softball state-final previews

Group 3 Baseball

Mainland (15-12) vs. Mt. Olive (23-6)

At Toms River South, 2 p.m.

Mainland's road to final: Beat Delsea, 4-2; Burlington Township, 3-1; Hammonton, 4-1; Moorestown, 2-0; Hamilton, 2-0.

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Mt. Olive's road to final: Beat Ramapo, 4-2; Old Tappan, 4-2; Sparta, 6-0; Mahwah, 3-2; Cranford, 1-0.

Mainland players to watch: Matt Tepedino (4-2, 146 ERA, 63 Ks); Nick Droboniku (6-4, 1.30 ERA); Matt McLaughlin (.302, 25 runs); Matt Riska (.262, 9 doubles).

Fast facts: Mainland's batting average is .236, and its team ERA is .202.

Group 2 Baseball

Buena (21-5) vs. Bernards (25-5)

At Toms River East, 11 a.m.

Buena's road to final: Beat Woodstown, 7-6; Deptford, 10-0; Haddon Heights, 10-5; Barnegat, 1-0; Robbinsville, 7-2.

Bernards' road to final: Beat Newark Central, 11-1; Hanover Park, 9-5; Rutgerford, 11-7; Caldwell, 6-0; Ramsey, 2-1.

Buena players to watch: Denny Brady (9-0, 0.39 ERA, 95 Ks; .397 batting average with 23 RBIs); Dom Lopez (.322, 8 doubles); Marcos Rios (.317, 23 stolen bases); Dom Pace (.324, 18 RBIs).

Fast fact: Buena has won 12 of its last 13, with the lone loss coming to St. Augustine Prep.

Non-Public B Baseball

St. Joseph (16-13) vs. Hudson Catholic (18-7)

At Toms River North, 2:30 p.m.

St. Joseph's road to final: Beat Doane Academy, 9-0; Holy Spirit, 14-11; St. Rose, 9-8; Rutgers Prep, 3-2.

Hudson Catholic's road to final: Beat Newark Academy, 4-0; Montclair Kimberley, 5-4; St. Mary's of Rutherford, 10-2.

St. Joseph players to watch: Alec Craig (.463, 10 doubles, 38 RBIs); Salaam Horne (.403, 40 stolen bases); C.J. LaFragola (.379, 36 RBIs; 2-3, 2.74 ERA); Brad Rosenbaum (3-3, 3.75 ERA).

Fast fact: St. Joseph is making its first appearance in the state finals since the Non-Public C title game in 1977.

Non-Public B Softball

St. Joseph (14-11) vs. Lodi Immaculate Conception (26-2)

At Toms River North, 2:30 p.m.

St. Joseph's road to final: Beat Doane Academy, 17-0; Wildwood Catholic, 5-2; Mater Dei, 2-1.

Immaculate Conception's road to final: Beat Oak Knoll, 17-0; Montclair Kimberley, 3-0; Eastern Christian, 12-0.

St. Joseph players to watch: Carly Testa (.549, 30 runs); Taylor Sirolli (.473, 25 RBIs); Alivia Kerr (.370, 5 HRs).

Fast fact: St. Joseph coach Candice Dean said the Wildcats will be without ace pitcher Dominique D'Andrea, who missed the sectional final Wednesday while in Florida at a softball recruiting camp.

- Phil Anastasia

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