As the NJSIAA baseball tournament gets under way tomorrow, there are questions, questions, questions.

Will Maple Shade, which is the top seed in the South Jersey Group 1 field, win its first sectional title since 1982, or will six-time defending champion Pennsville continue its tournament magic?

Can Gloucester Catholic overcome a so-so regular season - at least compared to its lofty standards - and capture its 20th sectional crown?

Is Haddon Township, the top seed in Group 2, headed to its first sectional championship since 1979?

Will there be a poorly seeded team that duplicates Washington Township's remarkable feat of last year, when the Minutemen won the state Group 4 title despite being seeded 14th in the 15-team South Jersey field?

The answers will be provided over the next few weeks, and here is one man's opinion on how the tournament - which culminates with the state finals June 7 - may shape up:

South Jersey Group 1

Defending champion:

Pennsville.

Contenders

(with seedings in parentheses): Maple Shade (1), Pitman (2), Pennsville (3), Penns Grove (4)

Dark horses:

Gloucester (5), Wildwood (6).

Outlook:

Maple Shade, which has solid pitching, figures to meet Penns Grove in the semifinals, and the Red Devils' Jon Coppage will be a difficult pitcher to beat. In the other side of the bracket, Pennsville's offense should carry it into the final. Pennsville's pitching isn't as strong as in recent years, so. . . .

Pick:

Maple Shade over Pennsville.

South Jersey Group 2

Defending champion:

Sterling.

Contenders:

Haddon Township (1), Delran (2), Collingswood (3), Overbrook (4), Audubon (5), Buena (6).

Dark horses:

Haddonfield (7), Woodstown (8), Haddon Heights (9), Gateway (10).

Outlook:

This is one of the area's most wide-open sections. Top-seeded Haddon Township has regular-season losses to Audubon and Haddon Heights, demonstrating the parity in this group. It wouldn't be surprising if the Overbrook-Audubon survivor knocked off Haddon Township and reached the final. In the other bracket, Delran, Buena and Collingswood look like the best of the group. Gateway deserves close watching after winning 10 of its last 11 heading into yesterday. For what it's worth, Buena has played the group's toughest schedule and has prestigious wins against Sacred Heart and Holy Spirit.

Pick:

Overbrook over Buena.

South Jersey Group 3

Defending champion:

Seneca.

Contenders:

Shawnee (1), Timber Creek (2), West Deptford (3).

Dark horses:

Moorestown (4), Pemberton (5), Delsea (8), Clearview (9), Kingsway (11), Highland (12).

Outlook:

Shawnee, led by Quinton Miller, arguably the area's premier pitcher, is the overwhelming favorite. The Renegades have dominating pitching and timely hitting and should be a threat to win a state title. Timber Creek, which has an underrated pitching staff, and hard-hitting West Deptford are the best bets to reach the final from the other side of the bracket.

Pick:

Shawnee over West Deptford.

South Jersey Group 4

Defending champion:

Washington Township.

Contenders:

Toms River North (1), Lenape (2), Washington Township (3), Winslow Township (4), Millville (5), Toms River South (6), Mainland (10).

Dark horses:

Vineland (7), Cherry Hill West (8), Williamstown (9), Cherokee (12), Cherry Hill East (13).

Outlook:

When Charlie Law is on the mound, Mainland can beat any team. The Mustangs, provided they beat seventh-seeded Vineland, would meet Lenape in an intriguing quarterfinal. Look for Lenape, Washington Township, Mainland or Toms River South to reach the final, with Toms River North, Winslow or Millville getting to the final from the other bracket. Cherokee, which is trying to give retiring coach Bill Haessler a going-away present, is peaking and has the potential to upset Millville in the first round and go deep into the tourney.

Pick:

Lenape over Toms River North.

South Jersey Non-Public A

Defending champion:

St. Joseph Metuchen

Contenders:

Bishop Ahr (1), Notre Dame (2), Holy Spirit (3), Christian Brothers Academy (4), St. Augustine (5), Gloucester Catholic (7).

Dark horse:

St. Joseph Metuchen (6).

Outlook:

Gloucester Catholic, which competed in Non-Public B last year, is on a certified roll, but it will have to win road games (vs. talented Notre Dame and perhaps Holy Spirit) if it is going to reach the final. In the other bracket, St. Augustine could benefit from a grueling schedule and get to the final. A St. Augustine-Gloucester Catholic final would be a rematch from an April 26 game, won by Gloucester Catholic, 7-5.

Pick:

Gloucester Catholic over St. Augustine.

South Jersey Non-Public B

Defending champion:

Gloucester Catholic.

Contenders:

St. Rose (1), Sacred Heart (2), Bishop Eustace (3).

Dark horse:

Holy Cross (4).

Outlook:

Sacred Heart, which has played one of region's toughest schedules and is ranked No. 1 in South Jersey by The Inquirer, figures to meet Bishop Eustace in a delicious semifinal. St. Rose, regarded as a state powerhouse, and Holy Cross should meet in the other semifinal. If Sacred Heart has any weakness, I haven't detected it.

Pick:

Sacred Heart over St. Rose.

Central Jersey

A handful of area teams have qualified in Central Jersey sections, and Northern Burlington and Florence have the best chance to make some noise. Northern has terrific pitching and is seeded third in Group 3. Florence, a perennial contender, is seeded third in Central Jersey Group 1 and is a dangerous team whenever senior Steve Giambrone is pitching.

Post a question or a comment for Sam Carchidi

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or scarchidi@phillynews.com.