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Baseball: An inside look at the South Jersey sectional finals

06/01/2017, 5:00pm EDT
By Kevin Minnick, SJSD

Group 4

Matchup: No. 11 Southern (17-8) at No. 8 Lenape (21-6), 4 p.m.

Defending champion: Clearview

Coaches: Keith Cocuzza, Southern; Phil Fiore, Lenape

Road to final: Southern – No. 6 Vineland 5-3, No. 14 Jackson Memorial 4-2, No. 2 Egg Harbor Twp. 3-2; Lenape – No. 9 Toms River North 8-2, No. 1 Eastern 2-1, No. 4 Rancocas Valley 8-1

Three to watch: Southern – Pat Barrett, Sr., P/1B; Nolan Watson, Sr., C; Joey Robertson, Sr., 2B; Lenape – Tommy Gardiner, Sr., SS; Jake Topolski, Jr., 2B; Mike Doulong, Sr., CF

The pick: Lenape has won 19 of its last 22 games, arguably one of the best runs in South Jersey this season. The Indians are battle-tested and have played a schedule that translates into playoff-type games on nearly every occasion. Playing at home will allow them to come in a bit more relaxed, with the top of the order proving to make a significant impact. Lenape 5-1


Group 3

Matchup: No. 4 Deptford (17-6) at No. 2 Highland (18-6), 4 p.m.

Defending champion: Ocean City

Coaches: Anthony Leone, Deptford; D.J. Gore, Highland

Road to final: Deptford – No. 13 Absegami 6-5, No. 5 Delsea 7-6, No. 9 Central Regional 6-5; Highland – No. 15 Cumberland 3-0, No. 7 Cherry Hill West 4-3, No. 3 Lacey 5-2

Three to watch: Deptford – Jake Field, Jr., 2B; Nick Hussey, Sr., 1B; Shane Kelly, Sr., CF; Highland – Anthony Masselli, Sr., P/3B; Jon Markulics, Sr., CF; Brian Gallante, Sr., C

The pick: A clash of Tri-County Conference teams, Deptford won their May 4 interdivision meeting 6-5. The victory was one of six one-run games the Spartans have played this season, including all three of their playoff wins. Highland is making its second-straight appearance in the sectional final and will rely on that experience. The Tartans have won six of their last seven and will have all the comforts of home. Look for another close one. Highland 4-3


Group 2

Matchup: No. 4 Manasquan (13-10) at No. 3 West Deptford (15-11), 4 p.m.

Defending champion: West Deptford

Coaches: Bob Waldeyer, Manasquan; John Oehler, West Deptford

Road to final: Manasquan – No. 13 Sterling 6-0, No. 5 Bordentown 3-2, No. 8 Cedar Creek 3-1; West Deptford – No. 14 Middle Twp. 6-2, No. 11 Barnegat 6-5, No. 7 Cinnaminson 11-5

Three to watch: Manasquan – Tommy Sheehan, Sr., P/LF; Adam Schreck, Sr., C; James Harmstead, Soph., 3B; West Deptford – Kyle Garrison, Sr., SS; Ryan Baglivo, Sr., C; Jack Murphy, Soph., P

The pick: West Deptford has somewhat quietly returned to the sectional final, reaching the title game without Maryland commit Drew Wilden on the hill due to injury. They have experienced players leading the charge in Garrison and Baglivo, with a solid supporting cast that won’t allow the moment to become too big. A couple early runs will loom large. West Deptford 4-2


Group 1

Matchup: No. 2 Pennsville (17-8) at No. 1 Audubon (24-4), 4 p.m.

Defending champion: Pennsville

Coaches: Matt Karr, Pennsville; Rich Horan, Audubon

Road to final: Pennsville – No. 15 Overbrook 4-0, No. 10 Maple Shade 10-0, No. 6 Gateway 3-2; Audubon – No. 16 Wildwood 12-0, No. 9 Woodstown 7-0, No. 12 Glassboro 6-1

Three to watch: Pennsville – Max Dineen, Jr., SS; Ryan Gray, Jr., C; Jeremy McCoy, Sr., INF; Audubon – Andrew Fehr, Sr., P; R.J. Concepcion, Sr., C; Ryan Coyle, Soph., 2B

The pick: The seeds have held up in this sectional, giving fans a rematch of an April 29 showdown that Audubon won 3-2 in nine innings. The host Green Wave is led by senior pitcher Andrew Fehr, who has swung a hot bat all season. The Eagles will look to defend their title behind junior Max Dineen, who’s hitting .571 with 10 doubles, eight triples, seven homers and 50 RBIs. Audubon 7-5

South Jersey Sectional FInals

Group 4: Southern at Lenape, 4 p.m.

Group 3: Deptford at Highland, 4 p.m.

Group 2: Manasquan at West Deptford, 4 p.m.

Group 1: Pennsville at Audubon, 4 p.m.

Tag(s): Home  Schools  Tri-County Conference  Olympic Conference  Colonial Conference  West Deptford  Lenape  Audubon  Pennsville  Deptford  Highland