Rain and clouds outshined the sun during a week when the weather dominated play. But there were some performers who delivered bright results on the local scholastic athletic fields.
On the baseball fields …
Pitching was the name of the game on the diamond.
Paul Birzin delivered a perfect game in a five-inning affair April 24 when he guided Monmouth Regional High School past Holmdel High School, 13-0. He struck out eight in the pitching the gem.
In another sparkling pitching effort April 24, Colin Fernandez and Justin Young combined to pitch a no-hitter in a five-inning, 1-0 victory by Keyport High School over the Ranney School. Young recorded three RBIs later in the week when he led Keyport to a 10-1 victory over Point Pleasant Beach High School.
Middletown High School North relied on a five-hitter thrown by Chris Price to post a 2-1 victory over Ocean Township High School. Three days later, Garrett French fired a four-hitter as he guided Middletown North to a 3-1 verdict over Wall High School.
Mike Wynne pitched a one-hitter over fine innings for Howell High School in its 11-1 triumph over Manasquan High School. Howell also received a robust hitting performance in the victory from Nick Ruszczyk, who ripped a three-run homer and ended with two hits and five runs batted in.
Freehold Township High School also received a fine dose of hitting and pitching to knock off Marlboro High School, 8-5. Andrew Beam connected on a two-run home run and Zach Pericone singled in two runs, while wining pitcher Mike Pirotta allowed just one hit over five innings.
South Brunswick High School used the pitching of Troy Sweeney to edge Monroe Township High School, 1-0. Sweeney struck out nine en route to the victory.
Raritan High School rode the arm of Matt Birdsall to pin a 3-0 defeat on Red Bank Regional High School. Birdsall pitched a two-hitter, struck out nine and did not issue a walk.
Manalapan High School erupted to score a 10-0 victory over Howell. The offensive leaders for the Braves were Steve Bullen, who homered and ended with three hits and five RBIs, and Anthony Naylor, who collected two hits and four RBIs.
Old Bridge High School also displayed an offensive attack in the Knights’ 10-4 victory over East Brunswick High School. Connor Freel and Pasquale Fuda each knocked in three runs, and Rob Dacunto finished with three hits.
Paul Marcantonio drove in all four of his team’s runs with a homer and a total of three hits in Freehold High School’s 4-2 decision over Marlboro.
Spotswood High School gained a 7-5 triumph over Robbinsville High School behind J.T. Ventu, who came through with two hits and three RBIs.
Matt Fahey’s grand slam highlighted Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s 10-8 victory over Saint John Vianney High School.
Aaron Ahn knocked home three runs when he paced Red Bank Catholic High School’s 7-3 victory over Monmouth Regional.
The softball diamond produced its share of stars …
Kayla Connors reached a milestone April 24 for the Jackson Liberty High School softball program. It was on that day when her single left her with 100 hits for her career. She helped Jackson Liberty defeat Barnegat High School, 5-0, on the afternoon.
Freehold Township relied on its sluggers to roll past Raritan, 11-1. The Patriots were sparked by Heather Lally, who delivered a grand slam, and Lauren Pscolka, who hit a homer and scored three times.
A strong combination of hitting and pitching carried Saint John Vianney to a 9-1 triumph over Matawan Regional High School. Demi Rivera and Julia Parker combined to pitch a no-hitter, while Rivera recorded three hits, including a three-run homer, and Parker collected three hits.
Howell exploded for a 14-0 victory over Manalapan behind the hitting of Mackenzie Vogler, who hit a homer and drove in four runs, and Stephanie Maxson, who also smacked a homer and ended with three RBIs.
Macie Ditillo recorded three hits and four RBIs when they sparked Marlboro’s 10-0 victory over Freehold.
Sam Herceg registered three hits, including a home run, and four RBIs when they powered Jackson Memorial High School’s 11-0 victory over Central Regional High School.
Maggie Rue came through with two hits, including a homer, and four RBIs when she led Raritan past Red Bank Regional, 8-1.
Tyrah Graves registered two hits and two RBIs when she guided Mater Dei Prep to a 5-1 victory over Keansburg High School.
Over to the fairways …
Holmdel once again proved to be the queen of golf in the region.
Holmdel claimed its second major tournament championship in a week when the Hornets won the Shore Conference Tournament April 24 at the Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune. Holmdel had captured the Monmouth County title a week earlier at Suneagles Golf Club in Eatontown.
The golfer who sparked Homdel’s title chase in the Shore Conference event was Sophia Taverna, who won the individual championship with an 80. She trimmed Kayla Guttierrez of Pinelands Regional High School by one stroke. Taverna scored a birdie on her final hole to ice the championship.
On the lacrosse fields …
Ryan Damelio pumped in four goals and Nico Lorenzo contributed with three goals and three assists when they steered Howell past Brick Township High School, 9-6, in boys’ lacrosse.
Howell also benefited from an offensive explosion in girls’ lacrosse when Olivia Manghisi poured in seven goals to led the Rebels to an 18-6 victory over Neptune High School.
Courtney Frycz poured in five goals when she steered Monroe past South Brunswick, 9-8, in girls’ lacrosse action.