By Warren Rappleyea
South Brunswick High School High School’s 17U Gold team is off to a 3-0 start in the Greater Middlesex Coaches Summer Baseball League.
Pitching has been a strength thus far for the Vikings, who watched Troy Sweeney go five innings and Alex Chen finish up in a 2-1 win against East Brunswick High School June 13. Two days later, left-hander Jordan Trimpert went the distance in a 15-0 success against South River High School. And on June 16, Alex Pollock combined with Marcus James to stymie South Plainfield High School in a 5-1 win.
“We’re really working on developing our pitchers so they can step in for the varsity next spring,” said Gold coach Danny Strickland, a former South Brunswick pitcher who graduated in 2012. “So far, our guys have been smart, throwing strikes and most important, limiting the walks.”
South Brunswick’s varsity team is coming off a 20-10 season that saw the Vikings reach the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV finals before falling to Hunterdon Central Regional High School. Both Anthony Sjolund and Brandon Siroki, who combined for 14 of those wins, have graduated.
Sweeney, Trimpert and Pollock all saw varsity innings this spring and more will be expected next year when they are seniors. All three also played in the field. Pollock, a first baseman, batted .286; Trimpert, the Vikings’ left fielder, hit 273 with eight RBIs; and Sweeney, a second baseman, batted .240. Strickland reported that the trio has provided key hits already this summer.
Other members of the team include speedy center fielder Marco DiIusto, who hit .246 on the varsity team; second baseman/shortstop Victor Huetz, who delivered a big double in the East Brunswick win; infielder Ryan Stadler; outfielder Anthony De Paz; and catchers Chris Camacho and Adam Britton, both of whom saw some varsity time.
“We graduated a lot of players from the varsity, so there will be competition for jobs,” said Strickland, who is now in his second-year at the helm of the summer team. “This is a good opportunity for our guys to work on things or try a new position and just impress the coaches. Our head coach, [C. J. Hendricks], wants to see what they can do.”
South Brunswick’s roster also includes three players who will be juniors next season: Chen, James and outfielder Jason Seliger-Braun. Former Vikings standout T.J. Perkowski, who now plays at Rutgers University, is assisting Strickland.
“The competition is good, and we want our players to be comfortable with each other and the level of play,” Strickland said. “So far, so good. Obviously, we want our younger players to look up to and learn from the guys who played for the varsity.”