Stafford Leader

Matias, Markley are Southern Regional Baseball Stalwarts

Spring Sports Preview
Apr 13, 2018

After going 12-15 last year, the Southern Regional varsity boys baseball team will be relying on a core group of juniors and seniors for success this season.

“I expect us to be competitive, which we have been,” said head coach Keith Cocuzza. “I expect us to score runs, which we have done. And I expect us to find our way with the pitching staff. We knew it would be a bit of a hit-and-miss kind of thing to start, and I expect it to work itself out as the season goes along.”

Cocuzza said the biggest strength is the offense.

“We’re hitting the ball well,” he said. “We have a really good freshman class as well. But we’re just trying to build on our ability to hit the ball, being aggressive on the bases and trying to make the opposing defenses make plays.”

Cocuzza added, “The seniors are going to lead and do their thing, but we’re going to need some of the younger players to rise up and lead on occasion. Last year, we were in a lot of close games and every day a different guy led the way. This year isn’t really much different. We have a lot of guys who need experience, and the only way to get it is by playing the games and taking a few lumps here and there.”

Two juniors Cocuzza is relying on are catcher Marcos Matias and shortstop Cole Markley. He said Matias broke the school record for doubles last season and Markley “came up last year mid-season as a soph and had a big impact.”

Other returnees are senior pitcher Andrew Luongo and six juniors: third baseman Mike Liantonio, shortstop/second baseman Austin Pharo, outfielder Joe Colonna, pitcher Colin Flood, infielder Nick Downey and first baseman Brady Clark.

Four seniors and four juniors make up a crop of newcomers. The seniors are third baseman Joe Capone, outfielder Tyler Colon and pitchers Matt Marinelli and Jordan Rosser. The juniors are first baseman AJ Mandell, pitcher/third baseman Frankie Pellegrino, pitcher/shortstop Mike Schiatarella and pitcher John Tilton.

Cocuzzo said teams to beat in A-South are Toms River North and Toms River South.

“We look to be at the top of A-South,” he said.  

— Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net 

 

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