Bouncing around the scholastic sports trail . . .

And then there were none.

In a shocking development, South Jersey - which rarely takes a backseat in the NJSIAA baseball tournament - has zero teams in Saturday's six state finals.


That makes it officially the worst year for South Jersey teams. Ever.

Since the statewide tourney started in 1971, South Jersey had always had at least one team in a state final.

There have been three other seasons (1976, 1977, and 1987) in which South Jersey did not win a state crown, but the area had at least one team reach a final in those years.

The bright side: Next year almost certainly has to be better.

While South Jersey struggled in baseball, four area softball teams - Pennsville in Group 1, Sterling in Group 2, Kingsway in Group 3, and Williamstown in Group 4 - have advanced into Saturday's state finals.

The best performance in a state semifinal belonged to Williamstown senior Rachael Matreale, who, amazingly enough, didn't realize she finished with a no-hitter until a reporter mentioned it to her after the Braves' 1-0 win over Old Bridge.

Matreale has four straight playoff shutouts.

Rich Racobaldo, a Camden Catholic graduate, recently helped Mount Olive (N.C.) College win the Division II World Series.

The junior third baseman/outfielder was named the MVP of the South Atlantic Regional - he hit .538 (14 for 26) - and was named to the all-World Series team. For the season, he batted .369 with seven homers and 57 RBIs,

Mount Olive finished with an astounding 58-6 record.

Mainland righthander Charlie Law (5-0, 0.66 ERA) and Shawnee righthander Quinton Miller (6-3, 2.13 ERA) are hoping to be selected in today's first-year players' draft.

Law has committed to Rutgers, while Miller has committed to North Carolina.

Will they bypass their scholarships and turn pro?

It depends on the money they are offered. The Braves recently gave Law a monetary figure and asked if he would sign for that amount. Law was noncommittal.

Law raised his stock in a recent tryout for the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, striking out three of the six prospects he faced and hitting 92 m.p.h. on the radar gun, according to Mainland coach Gary Hegh.

Basketball commitments: Winslow Townships Aaron Sallie is headed to Harford (Md.) Community College; Pemberton's Chris Walker is going to Rutgers-Camden, and his teammate, Tyquan Curtis, will play at Burlington County College.

The 11th annual New York-New Jersey Football Classic will be played Sunday at Rutgers University in Piscataway at 3 p.m. The game will be shown live on MY-9; it will also be televised by the Football Network throughout the summer.

Nine South Jersey players are in the game: running back William Washington, Holy Spirit; ends Bryan Burnham, Moorestown, Brandon Jones, Winslow Township, and Lynell Payne, Cherokee; offensive linemen Charles Gushue, Shawnee, and Will Martin, Holy Spirit; defensive lineman Jack Crawford, St. Augustine; and defensive backs Reuben Johnson, Winslow Township, and Mark Singer, Holy Cross.

Washington (offense) and Burnham (defense) were named The Inquirer's South Jersey players of the year in December.