NJSIAA Baseball Championships Preview
Audubon (22-5) vs. Waldwick (23-6) at Toms River East, 11 a.m. Audubon seeks its seventh state title. The Green Wave lost the Group 2 title game last year, 2-1. The offense is led by senior IF Brian Flacco (.421, 6 triples), senior OF Bret Phillips (.449, 16 doubles), senior IF Keith Michalski (.471, 8 HRs), and junior C Boomer Wickersham (.542, 14 doubles). Senior RHP Chris Fehr (6-0), senior RHP Mike Brandon (4-2), and junior LHP Kevin Kraemer (5-2, 70 strikeouts) could share mound duties. Waldwick is led by Kevin Nitsche (.489, 9-2 pitching with 61 Ks), Eric Greenwald (.449, 9 HRs), Jim Dertouzos (.442, 8 HRs), and Dylan Rotondale (.407, 7 HRs).
Seneca (15-7) vs. Paramus (25-4) at Toms River East, 2 p.m. Seneca is seeking its second state title. The Golden Eagles' offense has come alive in the tournament, led by senior IF Ryan Williams (.442, 7 HRs), senior DH Gabe Santone (.459, 6 HRs), and senior C Mark Steen (.377). Senior RHP Kevin Comer (5-0, 56 Ks in 331/3 innings), the 57th pick in Monday's major-league baseball draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, is likely to see limited action on the mound. Senior RHP Ty Lyons and senior RHP Chris DelleMonache also could see mound action. Paramus features Nick Henriquez (.591, 46 RBIs) and Chris Covello (,467, 12 doubles) at the plate, and Frank Colasante (9-1, 73 Ks) and Joe Szorentini (8-1, 53 Ks) on the mound.
Gloucester Catholic (30-2) vs. Newark Academy (16-12) at Toms River North, 2 p.m. Gloucester Catholic is seeking its second straight and 15th overall state title, by far the most in New Jersey. The Rams' offense is led by junior IF Joe Brooks (.446, 8 triples), junior IF John Brue (.549, 8 HRs), and senior OF Steve Wilgus (.461, 19 SB). Senior LHP Cody Brown (11-0) and sophomore RHP Mike Shawaryn (7-0) are the top pitchers. Newark Academy is led by David Webster (.625) and Matt Ratner (.500, 3-0 on mound).
St. Augustine Prep (27-4) vs. Pope John (24-4) at Toms River South, 11 a.m. The Hermits are seeking their first state title. Senior OF Ed Charlton (.469, 9 HR) sparks the attack along with senior IF Carlo Randazzo (.455, 5 HRs), senior IF Anthony Cocuzza (.388), and sophomore C Barry Buchowski (.417, 8 doubles). Senior RHP Matt Rakus (9-0, 71 Ks) is the ace. Pope John is led by two Rutgers recruits - senior OF Matt Ackerman (.489, 42 SB) and senior RHP Brendan Mayers (9-0, 71 Ks) - as well as a UConn recruit, senior C Alex DeBellis (.451, 34 RBIs).
- Phil Anastasia