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Lerner: Opening week baseball notebook

by Gregg Lerner on
Mon, Apr 2, 2012 9:18 AM

Updated Mon, Apr 2, 2012 6:13 PM
Lerner: Opening week baseball notebook


Weekend Wrap-up

Not much to wrap up thanks to Mother Nature’s disinterest in the wellbeing of Opening Day. The rain washed out most of the schedule on Saturday with only a handful of games played.

Probably the biggest development came on Sunday with No. 1 Don Bosco Prep (1-1), which pinned Georgetown Prep with an 8-1 loss on Saturday, falling to Calvert Hall of Maryland, 9-8. There’s really no shame in this setback when you consider Calvert Hall is ranked No. 1 by the Baltimore Sun for its area.

Furthermore, there’s no time for licking wounds. The Ironmen returned to Jersey to face Clifton today before St. Joseph’s of Montvale on Wednesday in a matchup that could feature Tommy Burns of Bosco opposite Rob Kaminsky of St. Joe’s.

Other notable events fom the weekend…

Elizabeth scored a big victory on Saturday with its 4-2 triumph over North Bergen. Strong pitching by Joe Torres coupled with the timely hitting of freshman shortstop Kevin Campbell keyed the victory.

Steve Cuccio and Karl Pappacena each unloaded a home run in support of winning pitcher Jeff Oster as Jefferson embarked on its campaign with an 8-0 shutout over Wallkill Valley.

Jimmy Chanda punctuated a 3-for-3 showing at the plate with a two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the seventh that lifted West Morris past Iselin Kennedy, 3-2. Solid showing on the mound by Michael Fuela, who tossed a four-hitter with no walks and seven strikeouts to notch the decision.

Michael Doran set the bar pretty high for himself this spring. The senior righty kicked off the season by firing a five-inning perfect game to send St. Peter’s Prep past Oratory, 11-0. Doran fanned 10.

Games to Watch for Monday, April 2

Millburn at Seton Hall Prep, 4
Not a bad matchup to start the Super Essex Conference season with. A case can be made that these are the two frontrunners for the American Division title so a win will give the victor a huge leg up in what forecasts to be a highly-competitive chase for the crown.

Chances are No. 3 Seton Hall will put the ball in the hand of senior right-hander Mike Sheppard III, a St. John’s recruit eager to pick up where he left off last season, when he crafted a 7-0 record and 1.55 ERA. Millburn, ranked sixth, will most likely counter with David Talpalar, a poised sophomore who won’t buckle under the glare of this marquee opener. Talpalar was 3-1 with a 1.84 ERA as a frosh.

Jackson Liberty at Wall, 3:45
Yet another contest highlighted by the anticipated pitching duel between two aces. Jackson Liberty could tab senior John Holland while Wall may answer with Harry Paytas. Holland, a senior right-hander who committed to Felician, was 6-1 with three complete games while the Monmouth-bound Paytas went 8-1 with a 1.78 ERA.

These are two of the more experienced lineups in the Shore Conference with both sides returning a wealth of veterans, including two excellent backstops in Liberty junior Brendan Benecke (.313, 6 HRs) and Wall senior Connor White (school-record .513 as a junior, 41 hits, 27 RBI).

Gregg Lerner covers baseball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner


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