Pitching could carry Howell baseball team this spring

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Howell High School's Ryan Bearse pitches during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Howell High School's Ryan Bearse pitches during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  3 / 21 
Howell High School's Ryan Bearse pitches during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Howell High School's Dylan Beyer dives back to first base during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Howell High School's Edwin Morales makes a throw to first base after collecting a ground ball during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Howell High School's Nick Ruszczyk makes contact when up to bat during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Howell High School's Mike Wynne readies himself at the plate before starting his at bat against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Howell High School's Mike Wynne takes a pitch in the dirt against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Howell High School's Mike Wynne swings to make contact against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Ryan Bradley sets up behind the plate to catch a pitch thrown against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Danny Chiofalo throws the ball to first base after collecting a ground ball against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Sonny Fauci collects a throw from a pick off move against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Sonny Fauci swings and fouls a ball off against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Connor Freel collects a line drive ball in left field against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Elliot Hayward swings a tips the ball down into the dirt against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Matt Laconti swipes a tag against a Howell baserunner during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Vincent Valenti throws to first base after fielding a ball hit back to the pitchers mound against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Vincent Valenti pitches against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Vincent Valenti pitches against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Vincent Valenti pitches against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Vincent Valenti pitches against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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  1 / 21 
Howell High School's Ryan Bearse pitches during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  2 / 21 
Howell High School's Ryan Bearse pitches during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  3 / 21 
Howell High School's Ryan Bearse pitches during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  4 / 21 
Howell High School's Dylan Beyer dives back to first base during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  5 / 21 
Howell High School's Edwin Morales makes a throw to first base after collecting a ground ball during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  6 / 21 
Howell High School's Nick Ruszczyk makes contact when up to bat during a scrimage against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  7 / 21 
Howell High School's Mike Wynne readies himself at the plate before starting his at bat against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  8 / 21 
Howell High School's Mike Wynne takes a pitch in the dirt against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  9 / 21 
Howell High School's Mike Wynne swings to make contact against Old Bridge High School on March 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  10 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Ryan Bradley sets up behind the plate to catch a pitch thrown against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  11 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Danny Chiofalo throws the ball to first base after collecting a ground ball against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  12 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Sonny Fauci collects a throw from a pick off move against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  13 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Sonny Fauci swings and fouls a ball off against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  14 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Connor Freel collects a line drive ball in left field against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  15 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Elliot Hayward swings a tips the ball down into the dirt against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  16 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Matt Laconti swipes a tag against a Howell baserunner during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  17 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Vincent Valenti throws to first base after fielding a ball hit back to the pitchers mound against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  18 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Vincent Valenti pitches against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  19 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Vincent Valenti pitches against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
  20 / 21 
Old Bridge High School's Vincent Valenti pitches against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS
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Old Bridge High School's Vincent Valenti pitches against Howell during a scrimage on Mar 29.SCOTT JACOBS

Brett Carroll
Staff Writer

Pitching  will be the difference this spring for the Howell High School baseball team.

“We scored a lot of runs last year, but our pitching came up a little short,” Howell coach Eric Johnson said. “[Senior pitcher] Mike [Wynne] was the one guy that was very stable in the rotation. We had seven wins last year, and five of them were to his credit.”

The success of the Howell pitching staff could result in the Rebels improving on their 7-15 finish in 2017.

“We want see these guys throw more strike than we did last year,” Johnson said. “We want to see them really pound the strike zone. We’ve seen some guys do that in the pre-season, which is exciting. I’ve got some younger guys that have shown that they can do it too. So, if we can do that, our bats will be there to score the runs to win the game. That only happens if we can command the zone. If not, we’ll be in the same place we were last year. But we expect things to be different this year.”

Wynne touched on the importance of the pitching staff that he is the leader of .

“I think we definitely need to focus on pitching,” Wynne said. “We scored a lot of runs last year, but we just couldn’t pitch well enough to win. I think we gave up the most runs in the conference last year, but we scored the third most. So, we know the bats are there, we just have to pound the zone and get those outs.”

Johnson will call upon some veteran pitchers and hitters to deliver this spring.

“Nick Ruszczyk is a three-year starter for us,” Johnson said. “He had some big hits for us last year, and we’re expecting the same for him this year. He’s a guy we’re going to look for to drive in a lot of runs for us this year. Ryan Bearse played well for us today. We think with him and Wynne at the top of our rotation, they’re going to do some really good things. The other senior left-handed pitcher is John Limaldi. He’s at a really good spring and I think he can do big things for us this year.”

Another notable Rebel will be senior shortstop Eddie Morales, a three-sport standout.

Morales was the starting quarterback on the football team and the starting point guard during the basketball season.

The Rebels were scheduled to start their season on March 31 at Donovan Catholic High School in Toms River.

Howell clashes with rival Manalapan High School on April 6. The game time for the start in Manalapan is at 3:45 p.m.