Southern Regional Golfers Wreck the Competition at Wildcat Invitational
This year’s Wildcat Invitational golf tournament drew 21 high school teams from throughout southern and western New Jersey on April 7, and 20 of them were no match for Southern Regional. The Rams captured their second straight Wildcat title with a team score of 318, a solid 18 strokes ahead of second-place Moorestown and 22 strokes ahead of Shore Conference Class A South rival Toms River North, which placed third. Host Pinelands managed to take seventh with a five-golfer total of 368.
Senior Matt Rizzo, the defending Ocean County champion, scored a 75 and finished tied with Jackson Memorial’s Zan Ahmad at the top of the leaderboard, but Rizzo ended up second following a match of cards. Meanwhile, Southern teammates Nick Campanelli and Caleb Rossi, both juniors, came into the clubhouse with even scores of 79, and a match of cards placed Campanelli in third and Rossi in fourth.
Heading toward Spring Break this week, the Wildcat crown culminated a fantastic opening week for the Rams, who routed Brick Memorial, 167-192, to start the season April 3, and Jackson Liberty, 164-195, the next day.
Against the Mustangs, Rizzo kicked off the season with a 39, while Campanelli and Rossi carded scores of 41 and 42, respectively, and junior Chris D’Alessandro finished up with a 45 as the Rams swiped the top four spots in the match. Against the Lions, Campanelli and Rossi each recorded scores of 39, followed by Rizzo with a 41 and sophomore Peter Fabian with a 45.
Meanwhile, Pinelands started off 2-0 during its opening week as well, crushing Manchester, 176-235, on April 4 and knocking off Jackson Liberty, 181-195, the next day.
Against the Hawks, Connor Carney registered a 39, while Austin Carney birdied the 325-yard, par-4 second hole en route to a 43, and Chris McGrotty birdied the sixth hole (375 yards, par 4) on the way to a 46. Kayla Gutierrez carded a 48 to round out the scoring. Against the Lions, Connor Carney, Gutierrez and Austin Carney ended with scores of 43, 44 and 45, respectively, while Ben DeFiglio recorded a 49 to give coach James Becker the 100th victory of his career.
Pinelands Baseball Team
Goes 3-1 to Start
On the baseball diamond, Pinelands Regional received a stiff test during this year’s Strike Out Autism Challenge, but so far during the first week of Shore Conference Class B South competition the Wildcats are undefeated and atop the division.
With a 5-2 victory over Lacey on April 10, the Wildcats improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in B South. On April 5, Pinelands opened up the spring campaign with a 2-1 win over Lakewood, followed by a 5-1 win over Barnegat on April 7. In the April 8 Strike Out Autism event, Pinelands took on a very good Wall squad and was upended, 12-1.
Against the Lions, the Wildcats scored four runs in the top of the first and never looked back, adding another run in the second. Sophomore starter Noah Dean went five innings, allowed two hits while striking out 10, and Peter Hammond pitched the last two innings, allowing no hits, for the save.
Against the Bengals, Pinelands scored twice in the bottom of the third to break a 1-1 tie, then added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to seal the victory. Sophomore starter Joey Ventresca went the distance on the hill, giving up two hits and fanning six. Anthony Diaz had the Wildcats’ only two hits, driving in a run with a fifth-inning single and another with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
During the Wildcats’ opening win over Lakewood, Dean started the season with the complete-game victory, firing a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts. Pinelands tallied nine hits, which included a pair of 2-for-3 efforts by Thomas Allen and Riley Stephenson.
Bengals Bounce Back
After Opening Loss
Following an opening-day loss to non-divisional foe Holmdel on March 29, the Barnegat girls lacrosse team bounced back during its last two contests, scoring an 11-2 win over Shore Conference Class B South rival Pinelands on April 7 and a solid 7-5 victory over Brick on April 10.
During the win over the Green Dragons, the Bengals scored all their goals in the first half, taking a 7-3 lead and holding on from there. Lexi Quinn scored five goals and Kara Ferrigno added a pair of goals to help lead the Bengals, while goaltender Darianna Gutierrez made 10 saves.
Against Pinelands, the Bengals received a hat trick from Quinn, while Chloe McGee, Kyla Rauch and Maddie Scheicher each scored twice. Jacqueline Hause and Ferrigno added the other two goals. Gutierrez made eight saves while allowing two goals to Wildcats midfielder Ellie Sorrentino.
— David Biggy