Performers of the Week for May 29


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A soggy week may have washed out some crucial sporting events at our local scholastic fields, but there were some glimmers of bright play when the state tournaments launched.

State baseball playoffs open … 

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Raritan High School received a balanced effort when the Rockets opened the Central Jersey, Group II state tournament with a 6-0 victory over Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark May 23.

Matt Birdsall pitched a three-hitter and struck out 11 while issuing just one walk in earning the victory for Raritan. The offense was provided by Alex Lamattina, who slugged a two-run homer; Dan Vanmeerbeke, who collected three hits and one run batted in; Tim Hayes, who ripped a solo homer; and Ken Friend, who ended with three hits.

The Central Jersey, Group IV opener between Manalapan High School and New Brunswick High School was settled in the last of the 10th inning. It was then when Nick DiMicelli lifted a sacrifice fly with one out to send Manalapan to a 2-1 victory.

Ryan Flynn’s fielder’s choice in the fifth inning snapped a tie and handed East Brunswick High School a 3-2 victory over Marlboro High School in Central Jersey, Group IV state play. Tyler Burnham’s two-run double delivered the other runs for East Brunswick.

Paul Birzin connected on a two-run homer in the first inning and winner Charley Keppy scattered seven hits as Monmouth Regional High School advanced in Central Jersey, Group II action.

Mason O’Mara limited Somerville High School to only two hits when he guided Red Bank Regional High School to a 3-1 victory in North Jersey, Section II, Group III.

Robby Zega and Jeremy Joyce each delivered two RBIs when they steered Middletown High School South past Warren Hills Regional High School in North Jersey, Section II, Group III.

Zack Pericone pitched a four-hitter and Cristian Corcione drove in two runs when they led Freehold Township High School to a 4-0 decision over Old Bridge High School in Central Jersey, Group IV.

Tom Holdorf’s three-hitter enabled Freehold High School to knock off Hightstown High School, 8-1, in Central Jersey, Group IV.

Chris Perdoni, who was the winning pitcher, came through with three hits when he helped Monroe Township High School eliminate Sayreville War Memorial High School, 5-3, in Central Jersey, Group IV.

Dillon Pellecchia gave up seven hits to pick up the victory when Colts Neck High School knocked out South Brunswick High School, 2-1, in Central Jersey, Group IV.

In local tournament play, Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School, which won the Monmouth County Tournament title this month, has zeroed in on winning the Shore Conference Tournament championship as well. The Caseys qualified for the semifinals in the Shore Conference Tournament when they edged Lacey Township High School, 2-1. Brian Sheehy’s two-run homer supplied the offense for RBC, which received the victory from Austin Nappi, who allowed seven hits over six innings. Vin Bianchi closed with the save in the seventh inning.

On the softball diamond … 

What a difference two days can make. That was the case of the Sayreville softball team.

On May 21, Sayreville was defeated by South Brunswick, 2-1, in the semifinals of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament. Jess Stadler’s RBI single in the sixth inning provided the winning run for the Vikings. Then May 23, Sayreville rebounded and gained revenge when the Bombers knocked off South Brunswick, 6-3, in the Central Jersey, Group IV quarterfinals.

Emma Herrick led Sayreville’s avenge mission when she socked a homer and ended with two hits and three RBIs.

Middletown High School North took a step to winning the North Jersey, Section II, Group III state title when the Lions rolled past James J. Ferris High School, 10-0, in the quarterfinals. The offense was powered by the one-two punch of Alyssa Vetrano and Milena Wilton. Vetrano registered three hits and four RBIs, and Wilton ended with two hits and three RBIs. Gabby Cerbo contributed to the victory for the Lions with her three hits.

Old Bridge advanced in Central Jersey, Group VI behind the overall play of Meaghan Dowdell, who threw a three-hitter and struck out 10 while she drove in both runs in the Knights’ 2-1 victory over Freehold Township.

Golf course was wet but shined on CBA …

May 22 was a day that resembled most of the week — wet. The fairways were soggy and the greens soft at the Hopewell Valley Golf Club in Hopewell on that day.

But the conditions did not prevent the Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) golf team from capturing the ultimate prize: the Tournament of Champions state title.

CBA posted a score of 297, which was five strokes better than the runner-up, perennial power Bergen Catholic High School, which entered the state final as the favorite to win the championship.

The title drive was steered by CBA’s Jack Wall and Chris Gotterup, who each came in with a 71, to share second place with two other golfers. Brendan Hansen followed with a 72 to contribute to the championship effort.

The state title was the eighth that CBA’s golf program has captured over the years.

On the tennis courts …

Hats off to the Holmdel High School boys’ tennis team, which once again has been crowned the Group II state champion.

Holmdel claimed its third straight Group II state tournament title when the Hornets scored a 4-1 victory over Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest in the group championship match May 24 at Mercer County Park in West Windsor.

Earlier that day, Holmdel advanced to the state finals with a 5-0 verdict over Fort Lee High School in the semifinals.

Holmdel’s championship players are Jose Alejandro Angel, Brian Chu, Aditya Dharap, Harrison Lin, Allen Lu, Arjun Menon, Karan Menon, Alexander Tsai, Justin Wain, Clark Wang, Jason Yan and Kevin Yan.

Over to the lacrosse fields …

The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams were explosive in advancing in the state tournament.

Colin Pavluk recorded three goals and one assist as he led Rumson-Fair Haven past Somerville, 14-1, in South Jersey, Group II.

Elizabeth Scarrone and Brittany Bruno each connected on four goals and two assists and Kyra Weiner hit on three goals and passed for four assists as the Rumson-Fair Haven girls stormed past Manasquan High School, 21-7, in Central Jersey, Group II.

In another sterling effort in the girls’ lacrosse state tournament, Cai Martin poured in six goals while teammate Michelle Pascrell finished with four goals and three assists in Freehold Township’s 14-9 victory over Marlboro in Central Jersey, Group IV.

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