As it always does, rain has played a big part in the baseball schedule around South Jersey lately. Some of the best coaching is done off the field as coaches must figure out how to juggle their pitching rotations concerning important regular-season games and tournament contests.

But then again, that's why they get paid the big bucks, right? Keep up the good work, everyone.

Tiring stretch

It will have been a long 3 days for the Shawnee baseball team at about 4 o'clock tomorrow, after the Renegades play the title game of the Diamond Classic against Sacred Heart. The game will be played at Deptford High at 1 p.m.

Last night, Shawnee had an Olympic Conference showdown with Triton, and today it will host Clearview in a Group 3 quarterfinal game. Shawnee's stretch will be completed following the Sacred Heart contest, which pits South Jersey's top two teams.

That title game was scheduled for last Sunday night at Campbell's Field, but was rained out.

Second-seeded Sacred Heart won't start its tournament play in Non-Public B until a week from today when it hosts the winner of Bishop Eustace and Wildwood Catholic.

Colonial rules

How interesting is the South Jersey Group 2 tourney? Six of the 11 teams that qualified for the postseason are from the Colonial Conference.

"It says a lot about our conference that so many teams made it to the tournament," Haddon Township catcher Steve Williams said. "Haddon Heights and Haddonfield are out now [with first-round losses to Woodstown and Gateway, respectively], but it still shows how good this conference is."

Township will meet Woodstown today in a quarterfinal game. Should the Hawks advance, would Williams prefer to play a familiar opponent? "It doesn't matter to me. I'll play anyone."

If Township wins, it would get the winner of Audubon-Overbrook. Colonial Conference foe Audubon beat Township, 5-3, on April 29.

What's up, Group 4?

Was anyone surprised when 13th-seeded Cherry Hill East and No. 10 Mainland posted upsets in the opening round of Group 4 this week?

Think back to last season. Four of the lower seeds in this group advanced in the opening round. And Washington Township, who entered as the 14th of 15 seeds, wound up taking the title with a 15-1 win over top-seeded Toms River North.

No high school sport features such upsets come tournament time. That's what makes this time of year so much fun.

Kudos

During his team's 17-1 loss to Haddon Township on Wednesday, Lindenwold catcher Luis Nieves took a foul ball off his right hand, opening a nasty cut on the tip of his ring finger. With the game well out of hand already, no one would have been surprised if Nieves called it a day. Much to his credit, he returned to his spot after a brief timeout for medical treatment.

Not everyone can win. But everyone does love watching that kind of attitude on the playing field. *