As the month of May rolls on, so does the 2017 season for scholastic sports in the region. Local tournaments are in full bloom, as the state tournaments are just kicking off.
Here is a look at local student-athletes who have starred in this past week.
On the baseball diamond …
The Shore Conference Tournament — always one of the most competitive each spring in New Jersey — was launched this past week.
Two pitching aces delivered for their teams during the preliminary round that was held May 17.
Garrett French fired a three-hitter when he guided Middletown High School North past Central Regional High School, 3-0. Matt Pikus allowed just four hits when he pitched Jackson Liberty High School to a 5-1 victory over Raritan High School.
Hitters contributed during Shore Conference Tournament action as well.
Andrew Beam connected on two singles that each brought in two runs when Freehold Township High School eliminated Middletown High School South, 5-2.
Nick Hohenstein slugged a three-run home run to lead the offensive attack in Christian Brother Academy’s 13-0 victory over Matawan Regional High School.
Giovanni Ciaccio produced a two-run home run when he powered Manalapan High School to a 7-3 victory over Marlboro High School.
Phil Marcantonio hit a triple that scored three runs when he pushed Freehold High School past Mater Dei Prep, 10-0.
Two regular-season matchups were decided when hitters delivered clutch hits to break ties and end thrilling games. On May 15, Aidan Supp singled with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning when Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School trimmed Colts Neck High School, 5-4. Austin Nuppi threw a six-hitter in going the distance in earning the victory while his RBC teammate, Aaron Ahn, singled during the game, which was the 100th hit of his career.
On that same afternoon in a similar scene, Chris Ammirati came through with two outs and with the bases loaded in the last of the eighth inning when Holmdel High School edged Keyport High School in a slugfest, 15-14. Ammirati’s winning single capped a day when he ended with three hits and four runs batted in.
Over to the scene in softball …
Another Monmouth County Tournament was played and another Monmouth County Tournament title flag is being raised at Saint John Vianney High School in Holmdel.
On May 16, Saint John Vianney captured its eighth consecutive Monmouth County Tournament championship when the Lancers pulled out an exciting 2-1 victory over Middletown North. The title game took up nine innings.
The game was tied at 1-1 when Saint John Vianney took the slim lead in the top of the ninth. Charley Baker, who had pinch ran for Ally Jones, who singled earlier, crossed the plate during a fielders choice.
The Lancers sealed the title when reliever Julie Park put down Middletown North in the last of the ninth. She pitched the final 1.2 innings in relief of starter Demi Rivera.
State tournament action kicked off last week.
Middletown North rebounded from its loss in the county tournament finals by beating Rahway High School, 11-1, in the opening round of North Jersey, Section II, Group III. Adrianna Cerbo paced Middletown North’s offense with two hits, three RBIs and three runs scored.
Morgan O’Donnell recorded three hits, including a home run, and five RBIs when she led Raritan past Holmdel, 8-2, in the first round of Central Jersey, Group II.
Alexandra DiGrande delivered three hits, including a homer, and three RBIs when Marlboro opened Central Jersey, Group IV with a 7-0 verdict over Princeton High School.
In the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, Sayreville War Memorial High School advanced to the semifinals when the Bombers eliminated Old Bridge High school, 5-2. Ryane Brush socked a two-run homer and winner Kelly Duffy pitched a two-hitter to steer Sayreville to the semifinals.
Lacrosse championships were decided …
The Greater Middlesex Conference crowned boys’ and girls’ lacrosse tournament champions May 15.
In the boys’ title game, Old Bridge edged Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen, 8-7, in a game that was decided in the second overtime. The game came to an end when Old Bridge’s Patrick Rosiak delivered the winning goal.
Monroe Township High School gained championship honors in the girls’ tournament when it posted a 15-8 victory over Old Bridge. Liz Skobelev and Ashley Patten each recorded five goals and one assist to help Monroe secure the school’s first girls’ lacrosse tournament title in the Greater Middlesex Conference.
The state tournament in girls’ lacrosse began last week.
Christina James clicked for five goals and four assists and Jamie Gerringer registered five goals and two assists when they steered Marlboro to a 16-7 victory over Toms River High School North in the opening round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Central Jersey, Group IV playoffs.
Chelsea Covino connected on five goals when Holmdel began play in the Central Jersey, Group II state tournament with a 15-2 victory over Monmouth Regional High School.
Edison High School’s Lauren Cassellla achieved a rare feat when she collected her 200th career goal. She reached that milestone when she clicked on six goals during Edison’s 17-12 victory over South Plainfield High School in a regular-season game May 18.
Cassella now has 202 goals for her career and 77 this spring.
Onto the tennis courts …
The singles players came through with a victory apiece, which sparked Marlboro’s 3-2 victory over Christian Brothers Academy in the championship match of the Shore Conference Tournament May 17.
Sweeping the singles for Marlboro en route to the Mustangs’ title were Ethan Khromchenko, Jordan Paul and Nikhil Chakraborty.
Driving over to the fairways …
The John P. Stevens High School girls’ golf team captured the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament championship that was played May 17 at the Concordia Golf Club in Monroe.
That championship effort for J.P. Stevens was steered by Grace Wu and Vritti Vazarini. Each girl shot a tournament-low score of 42 to share the individual medal with Sydney Kuo of the Wardaw-Hartridge School, who also posted a score of 42.
Their play helped the North Edison school finish in first with a score of 177 — three strokes better than runner-up South Brunswick High School, which was the tournament’s defending champion.