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Pitching rules the focus in South Jersey championships

The South Jersey public school championships are today, and the use of pitchers will be the key theme in the games.

The South Jersey public school championships are today, and the use of pitchers will be the key theme in the games.

According to NJSIAA pitching rules, a pitcher can throw 10 innings in a four-day period, but if he throws five innings he must have two full days of rest. If he pitches more than five, he must have three full days of rest.

Because of postponements, some teams played games on Tuesday and some played on Wednesday. The ones who saved their pitchers appear to be in the best shape. The winners will advance to Tuesday's state semifinals.

Here is a look at today's four sectional finals.

Group 4

No. 8 seed Cherokee (18-5) at No. 3 Toms River North (21-5), 2 p.m.

Cherokee ace Dan Smith threw three innings in Tuesday's 14-5 semifinal win over Cherry Hill East, so he is eligible to pitch as many as seven innings today. A Monmouth recruit, Smith is 7-0 with a 2.16 ERA. Coach Marc Petragnani said Smith is the likely starter but added that sophomore righthander Nick Catullo (3-1, 4.40 ERA) could be in the mix. Catullo got the win on Tuesday against East.

The Chiefs are averaging 9.5 runs per game, led by senior shortstop Nick Allen (.447, 44 runs) who is headed to George Mason.

Toms River North is the defending sectional champion and the Mariners are set up well pitching-wise. Senior ace Mark Leiter (7-2) has not pitched since last Friday. He is the son of former major-leaguer Mark Leiter and is headed to New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Coach Ted Schelmay said Leiter is the likely starter.

The Mariners' offense is led by two Rutgers recruits, shortstop Steve Nyisztor and first baseman Bill Hoermann.

Group 3

No. 7 Shawnee (16-6) at No. 5 Clearview (12-5), 3:30 p.m.

This is a rematch of last year's quarterfinal, when Shawnee was the top seed but was upset by ninth-seeded Clearview, 3-2.

Shawnee will start ace righthander Anthony Montefusco (6-2), who pitched just one inning in Wednesday's 5-0 semifinal win over Highland. First baseman Eric Sellitto has a team-high 11 home runs for the Renegades.

Clearview cannot use ace Shane Taylor, who pitched 52/3 innings in Wednesday's 11-2 semifinal win over Winslow Township.

Coach Rocco Cornacchia of Clearview said he would go with either senior lefthander Matt Spillman (3-2) or sophomore righthander George Eisenhart.

Group 2

No. 4 Cinnaminson (20-5) at No. 3 Haddon Township (21-4), 3:45 p.m.

Cinnaminson will be starting junior righthander Trevor Sotell, who is eligible to pitch as many as 10 innings. Sotell is 6-1 with a 1.76 ERA. Junior catcher Matt Cann (.440, 20 RBIs) leads an offense that averages 8.4 runs per game.

Haddon Township coach Dave Dale said he would go with senior lefthander Tyler Smith, a Rider recruit who is 6-0 with a 1.79 ERA. The Hawks have scored 27 runs in playoff wins over Woodstown and Haddon Heights.

Group 1

No. 2 Gateway (16-4) vs. No. 1 Pitman (16-6), 4 p.m., at Pitman Alcyon Park.

Gateway will be pitching ace rightander Dom DePasquale (7-1). DePasquale pitched just one inning in Tuesday's 6-4 semifinal win over Glassboro. He is eligible to pitch nine innings.

Pitman coach Gene Reid said he would go with senior righthander Rob Cressman (7-3) or junior lefthander Steve Schuler (0-0).

An Elizabethtown recruit, Cressman is eligible to pitch six innings after throwing 32/3 innings in Wednesday's 7-6 win over Pennsville. He started the game, was replaced, and came back in to finish it. The Panthers are in the sectional final for the second straight season, having lost to Maple Shade, 5-4 in last year's final.

Pitman handed DePasquale his only loss in a 3-2 defeat on April 25.