The spring 2017 season has sprung on the high school athletic fields throughout the region.
But, of course, April showers have slowed down the action during the first week of the season.
Here are some local athletes who excelled in between the wet weather.
The baseball slate managed to stay dry for a few days.
Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School, regarded as one of the premier teams this spring, certainly played the part of a heavyweight to deal with.
Anthony DeRosa collected three runs batted in and two runs scored to guide Red Bank Catholic past Long Branch High School, 12-3, April 3. Two days later, RBC chalked up a 10-1 victory over Ocean Township High School behind Blaise Panzini, who pitched a five-inning no-hitter. Mike Veit led the offense for the Caseys by going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Monmouth Regional High School also recorded two victories during the week.
On April 3, Monmouth Regional defeated Wall High School, 3-1, behind the hitting of Josh Jackson, who doubled twice and knocked in two runs. Monmouth Regional came through two days later when the Falcons trimmed Long Branch, 1-0. Charles Kelly earned the shutout victory with a one-hitter, while he struck out six and issued one walk.
Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) was also a two-time winner, registering a victory by a slim 1-0 margin April 3 against Freehold High School, and then the Colts exploded on offense to score a 9-1 triumph over Manalapan High School April 5.
Nick Hohenstein pitched a one-hitter and also delivered the lone run for CBA when he smacked an RBI double against Freehold. Then the Colts opened up their attack against Manalapan when Andre Dalatri collected three hits, including a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored, while John Dudek and Tommy DiTullio each blasted homers.
In one of the most thrilling games of the week, South Brunswick High School rallied to defeated Old Bridge High School, 6-5, April 3.
Old Bridge had held a 4-0 lead, but South Brunswick stormed back to score five runs in the sixth inning, aided by a three-run homer supplied by Ryan Moran. Old Bridge tied the game in the seventh at 5-5, but the Vikings closed out their victory when Kevin Reyes connected on a run-scoring single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
One name who will be often mentioned this spring is Harry Rutkowski, the ace pitcher for Woodbridge High School. Rutkowski, who is headed to Rutgers University, posted his 19th career victory and his 13th career shutout when he fired a two-hitter in the Barrons’ 1-0 decision over Piscataway Township High School.
East Brunswick High School and Saint Joseph High School in Metuchen will have to wait later in the season to play their rubber match. On April 1, Saint Joseph, fueled by Jake Guensch’s RBI single during a four-run uprising in the eighth inning, defeated East Brunswick, 9-5.
On April 3, East Brunswick gained its revenge when the Bears rolled to a 19-7 victory over Saint Joseph. Ryan Flynn was the offensive leader as he registered three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Softball stars were also bright in a week when clouds and rain out-shined the sun.
Raritan High School rode the potent arm of Nicole Kirse to post two victories. On April 3, Kirse threw a complete game and struck out nine in Raritan’s 6-2 victory over Mater Dei Prep. Nicole Buckley provided the offense for the Rockets with three hits, including a homer, and four RBIs.
Kirse was at it again April 5 when she pitched a one-hit shutout in Raritan’s 15-0 triumph over Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School. She also came through with a two-run homer, while Rockets teammate Morgan O’Donnell drove in five runs and also connected on a home run.
It took two days, but Jackson Memorial High School finally knocked off Toms River High School South, 2-0. The two Ocean County schools played April 4, but the scoreless game was halted in the third inning due to rain. On the following day, Jackson Memorial pushed across two runs in the seventh inning to pull out a 2-0 victory. Jamie Sheeran was the hero, singling in two runs in that seventh for Jackson Memorial, which received a three-hitter from Tori Aguilar. She pitched all seven innings over the two days.
Alexa DiGrande delivered a clutch three-run homer in the sixth inning when Marlboro High School rallied past Howell High School, 4-3. Howell had its own slugger in Kristina Pelano, who hit a two-run homer and doubled in a run.
Saint John Vianney High School scored a 10-0 decision over town-rival Holmdel High School behind the one-two punch of Shelli Rivard and Ally Jones. Rivard delivered four hits in four at-bats and scored three runs, and Jones came through with three hits and two runs scored.
The golf courses were soft and soggy but playable enough for CBA and its golfer, Jack Wall, to shine April 5.
On that day, Wall shot a 74 to place second and help CBA post a 306 — two strokes off what the winning team, state-power Bergen Catholic High School, shot at the Garden State Cup that was played at Blue Heron Pines in Galloway Township.