It's a good problem.
Gloucester Catholic coach Dennis Barth is a numbers guy, a certified public accountant and tax and financial consultant. So maybe he can do the math: How do you divide a limited number of innings among a seemingly limitless number of pitchers?
"We'll figure it out," Barth said after Gloucester Catholic, the No. 1 team in The Inquirer Top 10, opened the season with an 8-3 victory over Penns Grove Saturday in a Tri-County Conference game.
In truth, Gloucester Catholic doesn't have an endless supply of good arms. But sometimes it seems that way.
On Saturday, senior righthander Bill Mendek started and went four strong innings. He allowed a run on two hits, struck out four, and walked four.
Senior lefthander Casey Brown followed on the mound. He went 22/3 innings, allowing a pair of runs on two hits with four strikeouts and four walks.
Both pitchers were returning to the mound after long layoffs. Mendek sat out 2010 with an injury, and Brown sat out 2009 and 2010 with injuries.
"I walked too many, but it felt good to be back out there," Brown said after the game at Gloucester Catholic's refurbished field in Brooklawn.
After years with a "skin" infield, Joe Barth Sr. field now has grass in the infield and along the fence behind home plate.
NJSIAA baseball teams are limited to 25 regular-season and tournament games, plus one additional tournament, before the state tournament. Gloucester Catholic has enough pitching to play 60 games.
Leading the way is senior lefthander Cody Brown, Casey's twin. Cody Brown went 9-1 last season with 75 strikeouts and led the Rams to the Non-Public B state title. The team's top prospect might be sophomore righthander Mike Shawaryn, who went 5-1 as a freshman with 56 strikeouts and just 16 walks.
Senior righthander Jeff Paglione, who finished Saturday's game with one pitch, went 4-4 last season with 37 strikeouts. Add Casey Brown and Mendek to those three veterans, and that's five high-level starters.
Barth also would like to get some innings for junior lefthanders Joe Santone and Dan Higgins, and notes that junior infielders Joe Brooks and John Brue also are accomplished pitchers.
With a powerful lineup, Gloucester Catholic also is likely to win some games by the 10-run rule, which would limit the innings available to its pitchers.
"Baseball is funny," Barth said. "People act like we're the '27 Yankees. We're going to have a lot of tough games. We'll get guys innings, and whoever is pitching the best is the going to get the ball."
Casey Brown said the abundance of good arms makes for a competitive situation among the pitchers.
"It's competition but it's good competition," Brown said. "We all want to do well, but we want everybody to do well."
Pitching riches, part II. St. Augustine Prep is another team with a deep pitching staff.
The Hermits, the No. 4 team in the Top 10, have a veteran group led by seniors Matt Rakus, Rick Elfreth, and Keith Wittstock as well as junior Kevin Baxter.
The Hermits certainly look the part of a powerhouse, with the 6-foot-4 Rakus, 6-2 Wittstock and 6-4 Baxter.
"They look like a college team," said Millville coach Roy Hallenbeck, whose team scrimmaged St. Augustine Prep.
Wild game I. It was a football score in football weather. In fact, a Bishop Eustace assistant coach described the Crusaders' victory over Cherry Hill East on Saturday this way: "We won on a late field goal."
The final score was 19-16. Bishop Eustace hit six homers, including a walk-off grand slam by senior Eric Elmer.
"The only crazier game I ever remember was one time I think we played Gloucester Catholic, and it was 35-18," veteran Bishop Eustace coach Sam Tropiano said. "But this was one of those games."
Tropiano said the wind wasn't blowing out and that most of the game's seven homers - Cherry Hill East's Tyler Caton also hit one in a 5-for-5 performance - weren't products of Bishop Eustace's notorious short right field.
"These were shots," Tropiano said. "Most of them were to center field."
Bishop Eustace junior Vinny Paola hit the game's longest homer, a blast to right field that flew over all six lanes of Route 70.
"That was a Billy Rowell shot," Tropiano said, referring to the former Bishop Eustace star who was a first-round draft pick in the 2006 Major League Baseball draft.
Bishop Eustace fell behind by 8-0 and 10-3. The Crusaders rallied to take a 14-11 lead, but the Cougars scored five times in the top of the seventh to take a 16-14 lead.
"I was proud of the way our kids fought back," Cherry Hill East coach Erik Radbill said.
In the bottom of the seventh, Bishop Eustace loaded the bases, cut the margin to one on an RBI walk, and then ended the game when Elmer drove a 1-2 pitch over the fence in center.
"It was a no-doubter," Tropiano said. "He was down in the count so he wasn't trying to hit a home run. He was just trying to keep the rally going."
Wild game II. Overbrook also won its opener Saturday with a walk-off grand slam, as senior second baseman Paden Dietrich connected to lift the Rams to a 6-5 victory over Woodstown.
Woodstown starter Nick DiPietropolo struck out 12 but was relieved after walking the bases loaded in the seventh.
Overbrook coach Chuck Marciano reminded Dietrich of the situation before he walked to the plate.
"I told him, 'You're the go-ahead run, so why not hit it out of the park?' " Marciano said. "We don't have the biggest park, but he hit it pretty good. It was a great way to start the season."
Fire starter. Senior Steve Sciortino started Haddon Heights' season off with a bang.
By striking out.
The speedy Sciortino struck out swinging to start the season opener at West Deptford on Saturday, but raced to first on a passed ball.
He stole second, stole third, and scored on another passed ball within the next six pitches, setting the tone for Haddon Heights' 7-1 victory at West Deptford's Union Field.
"He's that kind of player," Haddon Heights coach Eric Rosen said of Sciortino. "He ignites our offense."