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Spartans using summer league to develop players

By Warren Rappleyea

Ocean Township High School’s entry in the Greater Middlesex Coaches Summer League is being used more for developmental purposes this summer than in prior years.

Ocean Township coach Cip Apicelli is carrying 29 players on the roster because many of his varsity players have conflicts with travel league games — and since there is no junior division this season, the Spartans’ mentor is trying to make the most of the 15-game summer schedule.

“Obviously we split it up; not everyone is there every night,” Apicelli said. “We’ve been used to having most of our varsity guys play over the summer, but now with all the travel teams and the tournaments that they do, it’s really tough for them to get here regularly.”

The Spartans are hovering around the .500 mark for the summer with about six games left to play. Despite the revolving roster, Ocean Township has generally held its own.

“We had a couple of games where we brought mostly our young guys, and they ended up playing what was more or less a varsity opponent, and that’s tough,” Apicelli said. “It’s a challenge for them to go against strong pitchers, but it’s also an opportunity to show the coaches what they can do.”

Ocean Township’s roster includes a handful of seniors, including pitchers Phil DeMarco, Alec Keezer and Travis Lillie, who are primarily playing in the field. Juniors include infielders Jack Adams, Marc Butler, Jack Mostow, Josh Pickelny, Matt Redbord and David Yatchilla; catcher Evan Arbeeny; and outfielders Jack D’Auria, Shane Kelly and Matt Samilow. Butler and Kelly also pitch.

The Spartans’ sophomore contingent includes infielders Michael Cascaes, Brent Gaber, Scuba Hagerman, Matt Munoz, Ryan Toomey and Max Winters; outfielders Sam DeMarco, Joe Didario, Nick Dinapoli, Huzaifa Ijaz, Garrett Martinez, Matt Nguyen, Tyler Talbot; and catcher Dylan Thomas. Hagerman, Nguyen and Toomey are pitchers as well.

Incoming freshman Kevin D’Auria, an outfielder, and Brian Yatchilla, an infielder, round out the team.

“Normally in the summer, you have a key group of returnees and you try and figure out how you’re going to move guys around to fill the holes,” the coach said. “Still, it gives me the chance to get to know our younger players better and that’s important, too. They’re the future of our program, and I enjoy working with them.”

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