VOORHEES — With perfect weather on Sunday night, Camden County held its 12th Annual All-Star Baseball Game at Eastern High School on Joe Hartmann Baseball Field. The teams consisted of high school seniors in Camden County who were split into two teams (East and West). For many seniors it was their last high school game.
“It was cool coming out here, it will be the last time playing with my teammate Austin Friedant,” said Tom Flacco of Eastern High School who will be playing football at Western Michigan University in the fall an was also selected in the 32nd round of the MLB First Year Player Draft on Saturday; chose by the Phillies. “I don’t think he knows I caught the last fly out while he was pitching which was pretty cool as well.”
“It was a great experience,” said Andrew Collins of Lindenwold High School. “Games like these are awesome, we came up short to make the playoffs in high school but being able to play here with this group of guys and coaches is just amazing.”
Early on, the game was highlighted by the West's pitching performance by Devin Smeltzer (Bishop Eustace) and Brandon Zachary (Cherry Hill West). In a combined four innings of work, they struck out eight while allowing two runs on two hits.
“My fastball and slider was really working well today. I just attacked them and moved the ball inside and outside of the plate” said Smeltzer, another player selected over the weekend in the draft, taken in the 33rd round by the San Diego Padres.
The West jumped out to a 6-2 lead on key hits by Ian Lynch (Haddon Heights) and Zakary Chiaradia (Audubon).
The aforementioned Collins started a four-run rally by leading off the fourth inning with a triple. Flacco drove in Jack Boran (Winslow Twp.) and Evan Holland (Timber Creek) to cut the deficit to one run. Shane Graham (Overbrook) hit a triple to score Flacco to tie the game at 6-6.
In the eighth, after the West took a 7-6 lead, the East struck again and took the lead back when Tyler Fletcher (Winslow Twp) drove in Thomas Louis (Camden County Tech). Fletcher came around to score on a Kevin Shannon (Triton) hit to make it 8-7.
Andrew Boulden (Gloucester) led off the ninth inning for the West with a single. Joshua Hawkins (Pennsauken) tied the game with an RBI single scoring Boulden. After a John Panchella (Bishop Eustace) walk, he and Hawkins then scored on a miscommunication and error to give the West a 10-8 lead. The West wound up putting together a six-run ninth to finalize a 13-8 game.
‘It was a great experience especially going out there catching Devin,” said Panchella who got to get behind the plate one last time to catch his high school teammate. He and Smeltzer played at Bishop Eustace together. “It was a great way to go out playing on the hometown field since I live in Voorhees.”
Panchella finished the night going 1-for-2 with a single, an RBI, and a run scored for the West. He played three positions throughout the game (catcher, second base, and outfield).
“It was incredible playing with all of my buddies for one last time,” said Joe Craig of Camden Catholic, a shortstop who will be continuing his baseball career at Monmouth University. “The environment was awesome to play in as well.”
GLASSBORO — On Wednesday, June 4, the South Jersey Baseball Coaches Association held its 41st annual banquet at Masso’s Crystal Manor Restaurant in Glassboro. They recognized the 2014 All South Jersey team, College Players of the Year, Umpires Sportsmanship & Scholarship Awards, Paul Owens Family & Athletic Scholarship Award, Tom Haas & Scholarship Award, and South Jersey Coach of the Year. Also recognized were this year’s sectional champions.
The South Jersey Group 4 Championship was defended by Eastern High School, which is coached by Rob Christ. The South Jersey Group 3 title was won by Mainland High School, which is coached by Billy Kern. The South Jersey Group 2 title was won by Buena High School, which is coached by Harry Grose and the South Jersey Group 1 was won by Pennsville coached by Matt O’Brien. Mainland and Buena will play in the Group 3 and 2 championship games, respectively, on Saturday.
Here's a look at the players honored as All-South Jersey as selected by the SJBCA:
2014 All-South Jersey Team
Denny Brady (Buena)
Zachary Gakeler (Northern Burlington)
Joe Gatto (St. Augustine)
John Murphy (Gloucester Catholic)
Devin Smeltzer (Bishop Eustace)
Mitchell Walker (Pennsville)
Adam Rapp (Northern Burlington)
Sean Breen (Gloucester Catholic)
Thomas Flacco (Eastern)
David Geary (Delran)
Jon Hansen (Cherry Hill East)
Joshua Shimp (Pennsville)
A.J. Wright (Cherry Hill West)
Nick Browne (Bishop Eustace)
Eric Lankenau (Pennsville)
Darnell Maisonet (Winslow Twp.)
Eric Schorr (Audubon)
Kyle Stinson (Highland)
Kyle Cox (Millville)
John Schoelkopf (Washington Twp.)
Names to look out for in the 2014 MLB Draft are Joe Gatto, Tom Flacco, Devin Smeltzer, and Kyle Stinson. Another name to look out for is Bryan Dobzanski.
There were five former South Jersey high schoolers named College Players of the Year honored by the SJBCA:
The New Jersey Baseball Umpires Association honored Kyle Bordner of Cherry Hill West High School as its Scholar-Athlete and the Glassboro High School baseball team with the sportsmanship award. The Independent Umpires Association awarded Andrew Valichka of Penns Grove the scholar athlete award and Pennsville High School's baseball team with the sportsmanship award.
The Paul Owens Family & Athletic Scholarship Award was given to Michael McLaughlin of Haddonfield High School. McLaughlin will be attending Tufts University in the fall. The Tom Haas Scholarship Award was giving to Jack Tierney. Tierney will be attending Penn State University.
Coach of the Year was awarded to Pennsville’s coach Matt O’Brien. O’Brien led his team to a record of remarkable record of 28-3. They won the South Jersey Group I crown and were also runner-up in the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic Tournament. Pennsville was led by infielder Joshua Shimp, outfielder Eric Lankenau and pitcher Mitchell Walker.