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Baseball: New Top 20

By Phil Anastasia

Here's the new Top 20 in South Jersey baseball for Sunday, May 4 (previous ranking in parentheses):

1. Bishop Eustace (1) 16-1

The Crusaders have 56 extra-base hits, including 27 home runs. Through the end of April, BE's No. 9 hitter, senior catcher John Panchella, was batting .500. The Crusaders showed some mettle in rallying from a 6-3 deficit in the 7th inning to tie Paul VI on Satuday, then winning the game 10-6 on Nick Browne's ninth-inning grand slam. They have EHT in the first round of the Diamond Classic.

2. Pennsville (2) 14-0

The Eagles have outscored opponents by an astounding 169-12. They have seven shutouts. Senior Josh Shimp has 13 doubles and five home runs. Mitch Walker and John Straub each have five pitching wins. Pennsville faces Cinnaminson in a first-round game in the Diamond.

3. Gloucester Catholic (3) 12-4

Since losing to Pennsville April 3, the Rams are 7-0 against South Jersey foes by a combined score of 80-11. GC faces old rival Audubon in the first round of the DC.

4. Northern Burlington (5)

Junior catcher Adam Rapp has five doubles and three home runs for the Greyhounds. NBC meets Haddonfield in a clash of Top 10 teams in the first round of the DC.

5. Washington Twp. (6) 13-3

The Minutemen have seven different players with home runs. The defending champion will meet No. 8 Moorestown in an interesting first-round game of the DC.

6. St. Augustine (4) 11-4

Senior Matt McCourt has four doubles, two triples and the Hermits' only home run. SA will face Clearview twice this week, the second time in the first round of the DC.

7. Hammonton (NR) 9-3

The Blue Devils allowed one hit in beating Triton and Overbrook by a combined score of 18-0 to win their own tournament on Saturday. They face Maple Shade in the first round of the DC.

8. Moorestown (7) 11-4

Senior pitcher Scott Zimmer, a Delaware recruit, has 1-0 wins over Rancocas Valley and Burlington Township and a 2-0 win over Delran.

9. Haddonfield (9) 12-3

Junior right-hander Matt Jones is emerging as another top arm for the Bulldogs. Junior Jake Thorndike has three HRs.

10. Cedar Creek (17) 11-2

Junior Alex Boney is batting .444 with six doubles and also has four pitching wins for the Pirates.

11. Egg Harbor Twp. (NR) 11-6

The Eagles get another shot at No. 1 BE in the first round of the DC. They lost to BE by a 13-0 score in the first round of the Tom Heinkel tournament on April 12 as the Crusaders' Mike Krusinski hit three HRs, including a walk-off grand slam.

12. Williamstown (16) 8-6

The Braves earned a DC at-large berth on the basis of a challenging out-of-division schedule and a pair of quality wins over No. 4 NBC and No. 5 WT. Also, they are the Tri-County Royal leader based on winning percentage, ahead of Clearview. But Williamstown's loss to Gloucester Catholic counted for DC's purposes in the race for the Royal automatic berth because Gloucester Catholic is moved up to the Royal from the Diamond.

13. Clearview (19) 11-2

The Pioneers have quietly put together a strong season with only a pair of one-run losses separating them from a perfect record. They get a chance to raise their profile with a game against St. Augustine in the first round of the DC.

14. Audubon (11) 11-6

Junior Wayne Test has four pitching wins for the Green Wave.

15. Cinnaminson (13) 11-4

The Pirates have won four in a row and senior Marty McDonald has three of those victories. He leads SJ with six wins.

16. Cherokee (NR) 9-7

The Chiefs have won five in a row. They remain in the thick of the Olympic American race and will be a team to watch in SJ 4.

17. Absegami (10) 8-5

Junior Matt Ardente has four pitching wins, six doubles and three home runs for the Braves.

18. Rancocas Valley (18) 8-6

The Red Devils' last two games have been 1-0 affairs -- a win over Burlington Twp. on Friday and a loss to Moorestown on Saturday.

19. Camden Catholic (NR) 8-5

The Irish have won three in a row, scoring a total of 29 runs. Senior Dom Messina is among SJ's leaders with 9 doubles.

20. Buena (12) 10-4

Junior Denny Brady has five pitching wins and five doubles.

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Cherry Hill East (10-7), Cherry Hill West (7-6), Collingswood (7-4), Delsea (8-5), Holy Cross (8-4), Holy Spirit (11-4), Overbrook (10-5), Paul VI (6-5), Vineland (9-4), West Deptford (7-6).

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