Tournament Roundup

Pinelands Regional High School Begins Softball Section-Title Defense With First-Round Win

May 23, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Senior pitcher Jessie Rising and the Pinelands Regional softball team advanced to the NJSIAA South Jersey Group III quarterfinals with a 7-3 win over Mainland in the first round on May 21.

After four straight days of rainouts, the Pinelands Regional softball team finally got onto the field under sunny skies on May 21, as the Wildcats began their quest for a second consecutive NJSIAA South Jersey Group III title.

Playing as the 12th seed and likely to be on the road for each round of the sectional tourney, the Wildcats (13-8) got off to a fantastic start, scoring a 7-3 win over fifth-seeded Mainland Regional in the first round. Pinelands grabbed the lead in the top of the third inning with a pair of runs, then added two more in the fifth and three in the sixth to seal the victory. Mainland (19-5) scored its runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Senior pitcher Jessie Rising went 3-for-3, including a two-run double, and scattered six hits while striking out 10 Mustangs to lead the way. Senior Madison Hawkins went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and junior Ally Vezos went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

The win sent the Wildcats, the defending sectional champs, to the quarterfinals, where they will face familiar Shore Conference Class B South foe Lacey, the fourth seed, on Wednesday, May 23. The winner will meet either top-seeded Delsea or eighth-seeded Seneca in the semifinals, slated for Friday, May 25.

The rain from last week didn’t alter just the state tourney schedule. It also messed up the Shore Conference Tournament. More rain on Tuesday postponed 13th-seeded Pinelands’ first-round contest against 20th-seeded Toms River South to Thursday, May 24.

Unfortunately, Monday’s first round of the state tournament wasn’t a positive one for the Barnegat or Southern softball teams in their sections. The 14th-seeded Bengals fell, 11-1, to Shore Conference Class B South rival and third-seeded Manchester, while the 11th-seeded Rams were shut out, 7-0, by sixth-seeded Cherokee.

In the South Jersey Group II tourney, the Bengals took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Adrianna Romano delivered an RBI single to score Molly McEneaney, but Manchester erased the deficit and took a commanding lead with eight runs in the bottom of the second. The Hawks added three more in the bottom of the fifth to end the contest. McEneaney, Destiny Fratianni, Julianna Padilla and Ashley Sojak each had hits.

Meanwhile, in the South Jersey Group IV tourney, the Rams (12-10) fell behind, 2-0, in the bottom of the first and never managed to climb back into the contest, as Cherokee added a run in the third, another in the fifth and two more in the sixth. Southern’s Keeley Himmelreich got the only hit against pitcher Karly Messina.

Southern turned its attention to the SCT on Tuesday, when the 14th-seeded Rams took on 19th-seeded Raritan and dropped a 2-0 contest. Southern will end its season on May 30 when the Rams have their annual clash with Pinelands at the Doc Cramer Sports Complex.

Barnegat Baseball Squad
Scores Upset

Pitchers Tyler Suydam and Ryan Bush came through in a big way for Barnegat on Monday, May 21, and the 13th-seeded Bengals scored twice in the top of the sixth inning to grab the lead and go on to knock off fourth-seeded Sterling in the first round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II baseball tournament.

Suydam earned the victory on the hill after throwing the first five innings, scattering six hits and striking out six along the way. Bush took over in relief and worked the last two innings, giving up just one hit while fanning five for the save. Suydam also delivered the game-winning hit, swatting a two-run single to push the Bengals ahead, 3-2, in the top of the sixth.

David MacGillivray and Brian Finucan each went 2-for-3, while Ethan Fox added an RBI single, and Nick Danbrowney brought in the Bengals’ other run. Lukas Torres and Joe Coleman also had hits for Barnegat (7-15), which advanced to Thursday’s quarterfinals to meet Shore Conference Class B South rival and fifth-seeded Point Pleasant Borough, a 7-4 winner over 12th-seeded Oakcrest.

In another first-round contest on Monday, 16th-seeded Pinelands dropped a 5-0 decision against top-seeded Central Regional in South Jersey Group III. The Wildcats (9-10), as the 19th-seeded squad in the Shore Conference Tournament, are slated to visit 14th-seeded Toms River East on Thursday, May 24.

Lacrosse Squads
Go Down in Quarters

While the softball schedule got mangled because of last week’s rain, the Southern boys and Barnegat girls lacrosse squads played through the soggy weather. Unfortunately, both had their state tournament runs ended in their sectional quarterfinals.

After getting by Howell, 4-2, in the first round, fifth-seeded Southern couldn’t get past fourth-seeded Monroe, dropping a 7-2 contest in South Jersey Group IV on May 19. The Rams (14-4) scored once each in the first and second quarters, but Monroe took a 5-1 lead into the half and shut down Southern from there. Ryan McWhorter and Nick Stankus scored Southern’s only goals, while Aniello Russo gave out an assist. Goaltender Luke Maul managed 11 saves.

In their two-goal win over Howell on May 16, Anthony Firmani, Cade Johnson, Ben LoParo and Russo each scored once, while Maul fended off 16 shots to keep the Rams in front. Ryan Comfort, LoParo and Russo also had assists.

Following their big first-round win over Oakcrest early in the week, fifth-seeded Barnegat (13-6) went on the road to West Deptford and fell, 16-2, against the fourth-seeded Eagles on May 17. West Deptford led at halftime, 10-1. Barnegat’s only goals were scored by Alexis Jackson and Madeline Schleicher, while Kyla Rauch gave out an assist.

Bulger, Guglielmo and Kulinski
Win Big for Southern

Rainy track and field events aren’t easy to navigate, but Southern Regional’s Joe Guglielmo and Jenna Kulinski somehow avoided a slippery disaster to capture javelin titles, while teammate Karagan Bulger raced to first place in the 400-meter hurdles during the Shore Conference Championships on May 16.

Guglielmo, who won the Ocean County title the previous week, was one of the bright spots for the Rams’ boys, as he fired the javelin 172 feet, 9 inches to claim the top spot in the conference. Kulinski, who was fourth in the county meet, topped out at 109 feet, 11 inches for the girls’ conference title. Meanwhile, Bulger, who won the county title in the 400 hurdles, zipped to a time of 1:03.67.

Bulger also helped the 4x400-meter relay, alongside teammates Katelynn Brischler, Caitlin Hambor and Brookelle Kline, take third with a time of 4:06.93, as Southern’s girls came up with solid efforts to finish second as a team with 44 points, just two behind Middletown North. In the 100-meter hurdles, Maria Mezzo – who didn’t get to compete in the pole vault because of the slippery conditions – finished second in 16.01 seconds, while Lauren Bakker placed third in the discus with a top throw of 107 feet, 9 inches, and Hambor took fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.95 seconds.

As for other top performers among the girls, Pinelands’ Carly Jannsch swiped third in the javelin with a top throw of 107 feet, 4 inches, while teammates Elizabeth Makar snagged fourth with a throw of 35 feet, 7½ inches in the shot put and Jackie Peschko finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:23.47.

Southern’s Joe Miele had some success in the throwing events as well, grabbing second in the discus with a throw of 149 feet, 10 inches and fifth in the shot put at 48 feet, 6 inches. The only local boys to place among the top six in any other event were Tristan Pharo, Caden Sundermann, Darcy Domenico and Luke Mathis, who scored sixth-place points for Pinelands with a time of 3:37.68 in the 4x400 relay.

— David Biggy

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