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May 9, 2017 Volume-IX Issue-9


The first thing fans, players, coaches & parents want to know after the big game is always,

“Is this going to be on

?�

Shore Sports Network has established itself as a leader in scholastic sports coverage in Monmouth and Ocean counties, providing more video highlight clips, in-depth reporting, feature stories and regular updates than ANY OTHER OUTLET in the area.

Shore Sports Network Website Features

n Get Video Highlights of all the important games that Shore Conference fans will be talking about. n Catch up on the action you might have missed n Watch video clips of everything from the action early in the event to the big finish as well as video interviews with various athletes. n www.shoresportsnetwork.com is the most visited sports site in the Shore Conference during the scholastic year n Follow us on Twitter (over 16,000 followers) & Facebook, we keep fans posted on the latest scores and news n Established leading portal for local high school coverage.

KevinWILLIAMS S h o r e S p o r t s N e t w o r k Director k e v i n . wi l l i a m s @ t o wn s q u a r e m e d i a . c o m

SteveMEYER Shore Sports Network Director High School Division st eve.meyer@t ownsquaremedia.c om 7 3 2 - 2 3 3 - 4 4 6 0

Senior C ontent Providers BobBadders // bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com MattManley // Mmanley21@gmail.com

S h o r e S p o r ts N e t w o rk J o u rn a l is published by: Townsquare Media 8 Robbins Street Toms River, NJ 08753

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WIN A 6-PACK OF TICKETS TO AN UPCOMING BLUECLAWS GAME By Kevin Williams - Shore Sports Network Director

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he Shore Sports Network is giving a way 6-packs of BlueCla ws tickets all season long and it’s easy to win. Simply answer the BlueCla ws trivia question below at:

shoresportsnetwork.com/tickets and your entered into a random drawing for six tickets to an upcoming game and we’ll even let you pick the game (subject to availability). Deadline for this drawing is May 19, 2017.

HERE IS THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: What former BlueClaws radio announcer is the play-by-play brodcaster for a local NHL team?

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Rumson Community Remembers Matt Sinopoli By Matt Manley - Senior Staff Writer

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ccording to those who knew him, Matt Sinopoli had already spent much of his 24 years offering whatever help he could to others and enjoying himself while doing it. The former Rumson-Fair Haven baseball player and 2011 graduate planned to do a lot more of that during the rest of his life, and learning of a tumor in his brain didn’t change that outlook. Although his resolved remained strong, his body did not and, tragically, Sinopoli lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday at the all-too-young age of 24. Sinopoli was diagnosed with a brain tumor a little more than a year ago, according to Rumson head baseball coach Kevin James. He went into remission after his first round of treatment, but the cancer eventually returned and spread over the past few months. As the Rumson community mourns for a young man affectionately known as “Snotty” to many of those close to him, below are some thoughts on Sinopoli from those who knew him on the field and away from it. Kevin Ryan is the father of Liam Ryan, who played with Sinopoli at Rumson and was a close friend. Ryan’s thoughts were posted on his Facebook page and

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our practices and go to the practice of any team that needed help. He loved baseball. He was the coach of our RFH fall teams.”

included the following quote from a personal statement that Sinopoli crafted while he, with Ryan’s help, applied to law school.

“The experience of fighting cancer over the last year has “He made everyone smile transformed me. It has provided and challenged everyone to be me with increased focus, selfa better teammate and friend. Matt Sinopoli (far right). (Photo provided by Kevin James) confidence and mental He made you a better person. endurance…But most of all, I have This is truly tragic.” learned to question what we think we know about ourselves and others…I see Jon Reynolds is the former head varsity soccer coach at Rumson know that my cancer, my enemy, can also be my teacher, nothing in life is as and coached Sinopoli as a freshman in the baseball program. simple as I thought it was a year ago. I can see both sides now, and that, in the “He was a left-hander and he had the dirtiest pickoff move. I end, has given me the heart of an advocate.”

Kevin Ryan on Sinopoli: “He was passionate, funny, eager for life, devoted to his family, and blessed with an exceptional talent for friendship that drew people to him. He jammed a lifetime of learning into this last year. I wish so very much he’d been given length of years to share with the planet all he’d learned.”

James coached Sinopoli at Rumson. “He was an incredible young man. Team captain – a true inspirational leader.” “He volunteered for all of the Little League teams. He would leave

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remember one game when he was a freshman, he picked off like five kids at first base until they just stopped taking leads. Guys were literally just standing on the base because he was making them look stupid.” “When you are involved in team sports over a period of time, there are players and coaches who you might forget or not remember as much about. Matt was the opposite. It wasn’t hard to remember him because he was the kind of kid and the kind of person that made a positive impact on the people that knew him.” “I work in the building and I didn’t know what he was going through until recently. I don’t think it was very public. Outside of the people


closest to him, I think it caught a lot of people by surprise.” Tim Kelly coaches the 9ers Baseball Club and coaches a fall team based out of Howell that Sinopoli and several of his Rumson teammates played for. “He was always impeccably dressed. He always had the shirt tucked in, white pants, hat on straight: it was like he was out of a modeling agency. That was a team full of dirtbags – guys coming to practice with their uniform dirty, a lot of scruffy-looking dudes – but Snotty was always impeccable.” “We was a great competitor and a great, great teammate. We had kids from Wall and Manasquan and Kevin (James) asked me if I’d take some of the Rumson kids and I said, ‘of course.’ Matty was a guy that immediately got along with all of the guys and you had kids forge

lasting friendships who might not have ever met each other. That’s the great thing about baseball: a bunch of guys from very different backgrounds who end up playing together for one common cause and they become great friends.” “It’s very sad that he’s gone so young, but there’s a life lesson for everyone who is feeling hurt right now: Don’t get cheated, work hard, smile and always enjoy yourself. That’s exactly how Matt lived.” Anna Higgins was the class advisor for Sinopoli’s class at Rumson-Fair Haven and still works at Rumson as a special education in-class support instructor. She is also a cancer survivor.

“Matty was always enthusiastic about everything. He loved being a Bulldog. I can remember seeing him at football games and pitching and he always enjoyed being there and he really enjoyed being a senior. Every memory I have of him, he was always happy and always smiling.” “I saw him at a get-together in November. It was a five-year reunion for his class and there were a lot of kids there from that graduating class and most of them had just graduated college. I talked to him for a couple of minutes to see how he was doing. I knew about his fight, but he said he was happy. We didn’t really broach the subject (of his illness). I got the sense it was something he didn’t really want to talk about.” Gary Costello was an assistant with James and was briefly the head coach at Rumson. He now lives in Florida.

(back row, first from the left) with Rumson’s summer team (Photo provided by Kevin James)

“I found out he was sick through my son only about a month ago. When the cancer came back, we heard the doctor told him he would probably only

Matt Sinopoli (Photo provided by Kevin James)

make it to the end of the summer, so we were under the impression he had few more months, and then ‘bang.’ It was pretty shocking.” Being all the way down here (in Florida) it’s tough to stay in touch sometimes. I feel bad I was unable to reach out to him. From our perspective, we were thinking he’d have more time to go see him. We’re heading up in the summer time and that was when we were hoping to check in on him. It’s tough. He’s a few years younger than my son, so hearing this kind of news really hits home.”

“He was a great kid. He had an infectious smile. He accepted all challenges and he always wanted the ball. He was a quiet leader, but he was always ready to crack a joke. He was just a really good kid.”

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Back in the Game: RBC's Caizza Healthy & Hitting for the Caseys By Matt Manley - Senior Staff Writer

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ut in left field at Count Basie Park’s main baseball field in Red Bank, there is a rip in the green lining that dons the fence, just to the right of the left field foul pole. That hole in the lining marks the spot where Red Bank Catholic senior Connor Caizza crashed into a wall to pull back a ball that that was headed over the fence. One might think the game must have been pretty important for a player to nearly kick a hole through a fence to catch the ball. In this case, though, it wasn’t even a game at all.

“We were doing wall drills out in left field and like a madman, he slams spikes-first into the fence,” Red Bank Catholic coach Buddy Hausmann said. “It’s only practice and he’s going 100 miles-anhour. That’s the kind of kid he is. I just wish there wasn’t a big hole in my fence.” For as long as it exists, that tear in the fence will be a signature of sorts for Caizza – a battle scar of the hard work that won him a starting job in one of the Shore’s best lineups. Caizza knows all about scars. Just like he left one on the wall at Count Basie, his high school athletic career has left a physical scar on his body. The 5-foot-10 senior had designs of making an impact in both football and baseball at RBC, but injuries during each of his three varsity football seasons nearly spoiled those plans completely. Instead, the 2017 baseball season has been Caizza’s chance to show that all the work he has but in to get healthy – not just this year, but all three years – was well worth it. “You just have to stay positive the whole time,” Caizza said. “If you start to put your head down, it’s going to linger and you’re going to feel worse. You’ll get really frustrated.” Caizza’s first encounter with the dreaded injury bug was during the fall of his sophomore year, when he suffered a concussion during football season. That injury cut into his time on the gridiron, but had little impact on his baseball season. Junior year is when the injuries began impacting him during both seasons. He again hurt himself during football season, this time suffering a torn left bicep, as well as a torn labrum in his left shoulder – both of which did have an impact on his baseball ability. Before he could even get to baseball season, however, Caizza had to endure six months of rehabilitation to regain full functionality of his left shoulder and arm. Caizza entered the season on the varsity radar because of his speed and energy, but the injury – which afflicted his left bicep and shoulder – hampered his ability to finish his swing. Caizza could handle all the rigors of defense, including throwing, but swinging the bat still caused him discomfort.

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Because of his limited offensive ability due to the injury, Caizza was relegated to running the bases as a situational runner – both as a courtesy runner and pinch runner. He also saw some innings in the corner outfield, but mostly avoided the batter’s box, especially on a Red Bank Catholic team that had plenty of capable hitters in the lineup.

Coming off last year, he started off a little slow in the preseason and got beat out. It wasn’t even that he got beat out, really, it’s just we had four guys for three spots and it was a matter of who was going to seize the opportunity as a starter and who was going to help us in other ways.”

“As soon as football season ends, I usually take a week off and then I go right into my training for baseball,” Caizza said. “I didn’t have any training junior year or any training this year. It was rough.”

Ironically enough, it was an injury that gave Caizza his chance to show what he could do, not only at the plate but as a center fielder. Returning center fielder Dom Caraballo sustained a back injury during the preseason that limited him for several weeks before he was ultimately shut down two weeks into the season.

Senior year was a chance for Caizza to start fresh, both in football and baseball. Again, though, an injury would ruin yet another football season.

“Even before Dom got hurt, he was starting to show what he could do,” Hausmann said. “Then when that spot opened up when Dom went out, Connor did what he was totally capable of. That

Caizza suffered a broken left clavicle early in the year which knocked him out of action for three weeks. As a senior who already had large chunks of two years taken away from him because of injuries, he did everything he could to get back on the field as soon as possible. Unfortunately, he returned too soon and reinjured the same collarbone that broke five weeks earlier. The injury was severe enough that it required a surgery that inserted six screws and a plate in his shoulder and sidelined him from athletic activities for four more months.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I’d play much this year,” Caizza said. “With all the competition in the program and my injuries, I don’t know. Sometimes, times would get rough and I wanted to give up. I thought I wouldn’t have a spot on the team, but I just didn’t give up. I wanted to see it through and see what happened. Whatever it was: DHing, pinchrunning, defense-only – it was fine with me. I just wanted to play.” By the first day of baseball practice, Caizza had only been cleared to play for two weeks and was still experiencing soreness in the surgically-repaired shoulder. Further complicating Caizza’s ability to help the team was the fact that Red Bank Catholic returned a deep pool of outfielders that entered camp healthier than Caizza. Not only did Caizza lose time to improve as a junior and time to prepare for his senior year, but he had to compete for playing time with healthy, capable players. “Football and baseball at RBC are very competitive and that competition made me work even harder,” Caizza said. “It made me come back faster and work harder in the offseason.” Despite those obstacles, Caizza found himself in the mix for playing time, although he again appeared ticketed for a role heavy on defense and baserunning with only a few atbats available. “Connor’s a guy that runs well, so I knew he was going to contribute somehow,” Hausmann said. “Whether it was defensive or running the bases, he was at least going to help.

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was his opportunity and since he’s been in there, he’s helped us tremendously.” With a chance at atbats, Caizza showed he was healthy enough to hold his own at the plate and found himself starting even before Caraballo’s spot in the lineup opened up. By the time Caraballo’s back injury was too much to play through, Caizza was the first in line to take over in center field. “I haven’t even really thought about all the injuries,” Hausmann said. “He hasn’t come up lame. He never takes a drill off in practice. He goes hard all the time. He doesn’t give us much reason to worry about him.” Finally healthy enough to contribute in every facet of the game, Caizza has not let the chance slip by. In 15 games, he is hitting .471 (16-for-34) with three doubles, two triples, 12 runs scored and nine RBI while hitting, primarily, out of the No. 9 spot in the batting order. “After practice, I head right over to the batting cages for more swings,” Caizza said. “I go to 32 Counts or the Ballpark in Farmingdale to get swings, I’ll hit with my dad, tee work, soft toss. However I can get swings in.” RBC will play for the Monmouth County Tournament championship on Tuesday night against Freehold Borough and during the Caseys’ run, Caizza has come up with a pair of RBI hits and is 3-for-5 in the team’s last two MCT wins over Wall and Ocean. Against the Spartans on Saturday in the MCT semifinals, Caizza capped a five-run top of the first inning with an RBI single as part of a 1-for-3 game at the plate.

“It’s relieving,” Caizza said of his season to date. “The hard work finally paid off. I’m finally performing and it’s actually better than I was before. I finally got some of that time back.” Photos by:

Paula Lopez

www.palimages.com


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The Hawk Has Landed: Monmouth University Men's Lacrosse Wins First MAAC Title

By Bob Badders – Senior Managing Editor

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rom going winless in 2014 to winning championships in 2017, a lot has changed for Monmouth U n i v e r s i t y ’s m e n ’s l a c r o s s e p r o g r a m o v e r t h e l a s t f o u r y e a r s . O n S u n d a y, May 7, the Ha wks of-ficially signaled t h e i r a r r i va l w h e n t h e y h e l d o f f Marist, 9-8, to capture the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference To u r n a m e n t t i t l e a n d q u a l i f y f o r t h e NCAA Tournament. A goal by junior midfielder Dylan Schulte with 5:09 left in regulation held up as the game-winning goal and Monmouth’s defense did what is has done countless times this season with a clutch stop on Marist’s final possession, completing a rapid yet steady ascension from startup program to conference champion.

“As a staff, at the end of the game we just sat back and watched and took it all in,” said head coach Brian Fisher. “It was a great moment to see how happy the players, the parents and the fans were. It was certainly special.”

saw a senior class ready to lead and a group of underclassmen eager to be a part of history. His feelings were validated when, in the first game of the season, Monmouth knocked off No. 16 Villanova, 12-10, for the program’s first win over a ranked oppo-nent.

Bloodgood was part of Fisher’s first recruiting class and is one of two former Shore Conference players on Monmouth’s roster. Bloodgood starred at Freehold Township where as a senior he led the Shore in goals (76) and points (115) en route to earning Shore Sports Network first-team AllShore honors. He has played in 41 games during his career at Monmouth, tallying 39 goals and 15 assists. He scored the first goal in Monmouth program history on Feb. 22, 2014 against University of MarylandBaltimore County.

“There was something in the air in the fall with this team,” Fisher said. “We just felt it, through the cumulative years of hard work combined with the seniors and younger talent on the team. The practices became more intense day by day. We just began to feel it through the winter train-ing and certainly that came to a head in the first game, but we believed it much sooner than the start of the season.”

When senior goalie Nick Hreshko grabbed a ground ball off an errant Marist pass with under five seconds left and sprinted to the far corner to kill off the remaining time, it set off a celebration that seemed unlikely when the current senior class first arrived in West Long Branch.

“It was kind of an unreal feeling, honestly,” said senior midfielder Dan Bloodgood. “After all we’ve been through in four years, the struggles we’ve had, it’s a remarkable thing we accomplished.”

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“The area as a whole is remarkable and I’m glad to be at this school and represent the Shore,” Bloodgood said. Senior Alex Kelly, who played at RumsonFair Haven, has seen action in only one game this season. Monmouth’s hallmark has been its stout defense, which is among the best in the nation. The numbers more than back that up. The Hawks are second in the nation in scoring defense at 7.24 goals per game, third in the nation in clearing percentage and ninth in scoring margin. They are also third in the country in turnovers committed at just 10.71 per game.

Former Freehold Twp. standout Sr. midfielder Dan Bloodgood

Hreshko, the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, leads the way in the back end for a defense that also features First Team AllMAAC defensemen Andrew Grajewski and

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Photo provided by Monmouth University Photo taken by B51Photography/Mark Brown Garrett Pfeifer. Hreshko is second in the NCAA with a 6.97 goals against average and third with a .593 save percentage. Monmouth’s defensive prowess is a major reason why the Hawks have the nation’s longest winning streak at 11 games. The Hawks have held their opponents under 10 goals in 13 straight games, a staggering statistic. “Everybody makes comparisons to us and Notre Dame because of my time there and how we play defense,” said Fisher, who was an assistant coach for the Fighting Irish before being hired as Monmouth’s head coach. “One of the things I took from my time there was that we coached the game of lacrosse in all aspects. One of our core philosophies here is to coach the game end line to end line, sideline to sideline.”

At the Varsity Club inside Ocean First Bank Arena on Sunday night, the Hawks convened to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on ESPNU. It was a surreal moment for a group, that not so long ago was just trying to figure out how to be competitive. They smashed through that barrier a while back. Now, after capturing the MAAC regular-season and tournament championships, they get to take the blue and white to college lacrosse’s biggest stage. “Freshman year it didn’t look so bright, but as time went on and players started to mature and younger guys came through, we knew we had a great team this year,” Bloodgood said. “Throughout the four years we were planning for this year, and to end it with a bang as seniors, it’s a true testament to the work we put in.”

“It’s a credit to our players and coach (Andrew) Geison, who coaches the defense. It’s one of the areas we started to excel in with Conaway (former goalie Garrett Conaway, who was the 2015 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year) and now with Hreshko. It’s been a combination of the growth and development of that group. We empower them to make aggressive and good deci-sions on the field at both ends, and it’s led to us having a lot of success on defense.”

“We felt the pieces were falling into place where we could win the MAAC title, and I’m really glad we could get it done this year with this group,” Fisher said. “That’s one of the things I’m most proud of: the growth of this senior class with how much they’ve gone through.”

Fisher liked what he saw from his team in the fall and felt all the positives from a 7-7 season in 2016 were carrying over. He

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Boodgood Photo by:

boofacephotography.com


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By Matt Manley - S

anasquan left-hander Tommy Sheehan is one of the top senior arms in the state and his standing as such was not so hard to predict back when he was setting down seniors as a freshman.

while playing right field for a Jaguars team that reached the Group IV final. Sharkey is not pushing the .400 mark at the moment, but has eclipsed Thaiss’s extra-base hit totals. He is hitting nearly double what current North Carolina freshman Brandon Martorano hit has a freshman at Christian Brothers Academy and while it would be nearly blasphemous to compare any pitcher to Luca Dalatri, Sharkey’s freshman year performance on the mound has a similar polish to it.

"It's like living a dream," Sharkey said of his season. "Even when I was 10 years-old, I wanted to play varsity as a freshman. It's a lot of hard work and my teammates have been encouraging me. It was great from the minute I got called up. I knew there was a bond. There was a brotherhood."

One thing he has not encountered too often as an upperclassman is an underclassman who can handle him, but in Wall freshman Teddy Sharkey, he found a worthy adversary. Sharkey tagged Sheehan for a game-winning two-run single on an 0-2 count in the bottom of the sixth inning on May 3, giving Wall a 4-3 win over the Warriors that kept them in position to pounce on at least a share of the Class B North championship should first-place Monmouth Regional falter in the final week. The winning single was just the latest in a long list of instances in which Sharkey has proved that he not only belongs at the varsity level as a senior, but he belongs on a short list of big names who were able to thrive as freshmen at the varsity level.

In addition to accumulating impressive numbers, Sharkey has hit quality pitching, too. He went 3-for-3 with a double in a game started by Middletown North right-hander Garrett French, who has been the Lions’ top winner this year. His other multi-hit games have come against hard-throwing Long Branch ace Matt Mincieli and Red Bank Catholic ace Austin Nappi, who shut out Wall in the Monmouth County Tournament quarterfinals, but gave up two hits to Sharkey.

“He’s legit,” 20-year Wall head coach Todd Schmitt said. “We’ve had some guys pitch pretty well as freshman and had some guys do well at the plate, but I can’t remember anyone being as good in every aspect as he’s been.” Sharkey has played right field, settled into the sixth spot in the lineup and pitched big innings in his first varsity season – all for a team that has been a top-five team in the Shore Conference for the last three weeks. He leads the Crimson Knights in batting (.366), on-base percentage (.447), and slugging percentage (.537) and is the only Wall player with a home run this year. He has also struck out 16 in 10 2/3 innings on the mound with a 1.97 ERA and only three walks.

The Wall freshman also homered off Manasquan’s Connor Muly, who recently struck out 16 in a shutout win over Red Bank Catholic. "Teddy's been coming up big for us all year," senior second baseman Shane Richey said. "He doesn't act like a freshman out on the field, even though we make fun of him a little bit for it." In his first high school season, Sharkey has shown he can hit good pitching and get outs against quality hitters. The Shore’s best over the last decade or so have made their largest strides between the offseason after freshman year and the bulk of their junior seasons. For Sharkey, the debut has gone about as well as one could have expected but the real work is just beginning. If this year is any indication, he’s well-suited for the challenge.

Compared to some of the top performers at the Shore in recent years, Sharkey compares favorably. His offensive season stacks up fairly well with that of Matt Thaiss, who is now the No. 1 prospect in the Los Angeles Angels system. Thaiss hit .406 with one double against strong competition in Class A South

“He’s a gamer, man,” Schmitt said. “I’ve coached close to 30 years in baseball and I haven’t seen a freshman in our program come in and compete like he has.” Photos by:

Paula Lopez

www.palimages.com

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enior Staff Writer

outhern Regional senior shortstop P A T B A R R E T T is staking out a reputation as a clutch hitter with the game on the line, a reputation he further solidified over the weekend. Barrett slugged Southern into the Ocean County Tournament quarterfinals for the second time in three years on Sunday when he cracked a go-ahead threerun home run in the bottom of the fifth inning of a 6-4 win over Brick Memorial. The win was Southern’s sixth in the last seven games and it pushed the Rams to 9-5. The start to the season has the Rams eyeing their first winning season in more than a decade, which they hope includes a deep run in the Ocean County Tournament.

“We started out this season just trying to win a couple games early and keep building off that,” Southern coach Keith Cocuzza said. “I think as we’ve been winning some of these close games, the guys have been gaining more and more confidence that they can win those tight games and, more importantly, that they belong on the field with anybody.” Southern’s 10-5 open to the 2017 campaign already includes a regular-season sweep of Toms River North – the preseason No. 1 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10. Those two wins were a determining factor in the Rams being seeded No. 3 in the Ocean County Tournament, behind only Toms River South and Lacey, which have just two losses between them. While rattling off victory after victory over the past two weeks, the Rams have gotten used to playing in nailbiters. Southern’s average margin of victory in the last seven wins is just under two runs per game and its three wins prior to Sunday were all by a one-run margin.

Southern Sr. P a t B a r r e t t “Our pitching has been solid for the last two years and our defense has improved a lot this year,” Cocuzza said. “Any time you get good pitching and good defense and you can mix in some timely hitting like we have, you are going to have success in close games.” The Rams’ proficiency in close games has fed its fast start. Although they have given up one more run than they have scored over the course of the year, they are four games over .500 thanks to a 5-0 record in one-run games and a 8-1 mark in games decided by two runs or fewer. Barrett delivered deciding RBI hits in both wins over Toms River East, both of which came during a five-game winning streak that began with a win over Brick Memorial and ended with a nine-inning win over Toms River East. Over the last eight games, Barrett drove in at least one run in six of them and is now hitting .354 with four doubles, one home run and 11 RBI for the season.

See

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SOUTHERN C o n t in u ed f rom pa ge 11 “Pat’s been huge,” Cocuzza said. “His growth as a hitter has been amazing. Off the top of my head, I can think of about four games where he’s come up with a huge hit.”

Sunday against the Mustangs, he struck out 10 with two walks and overcame a fourrun inning in the second to pitch into the seventh.

Barrett is one of four regulars hitting above .300 for the Rams through 14 games. Junior outfielder Marcos Matias leads the team in batting average (.378), doubles (eight) and slugging percentage (.556), while senior second baseman Joey Robertson (.341) is tops on the team in on-base percentage at .473 and tied with Nolan Brown for the lead in runs scored (11). Senior catcher Nolan Watson has also provided some thump, batting .333 with four doubles, three triples and nine RBI while slugging .529. With the exception of Matias and designated hitter Joe Colonna, Southern’s starting lineup of position players is made up of all seniors. The age on the roster as a whole has fed into the urgency of this season.

Southern Sr. Joey Robertson

“Being senior-heavy gives guys experience to stay calm and composed in close games, which has obviously helped since we’ve been in so many,” Cocuzza said. Southern Sr. Nolan Watson

“The key for him has been control,” Cocuzza said. “He’s commanding the ball much better this year and that’s taken him a level up. He’s always had the stuff but he didn’t have the control to go with it. He has that now.”

Like any team that wins close games, pitching has been a strong suit for Southern so far. Zach Fillmore is already 4-0 on the year with a 2.08 earned-run average to lead a pitching staff that boasts widespread contributions. Senior Nick Simone and Andrew Luongo have been reliable and Barrett has been sharp over 17 2/3 innings since returning from some shoulder discomfort that delayed his 2017 debut as a pitcher.

Southern Jr. Andrew Luongo

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Ultimately, however, the headliner has been Fillmore. The soutpaw has recorded doubledigit strikeouts in a game twice, both against Brick Memorial.

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Regardless how the Ocean County Tournament turns out for Southern, the Rams have left an early imprint on the season and have a chance to leave a legacy in a program desperate for a winning season.

“It seemed like last year, we came out on the wrong side of some close games and this year we’ve been getting on the right side recently,” Cocuzza said. “We’ve had the momentum for the last couple of weeks and we’re going to try to keep it going.” Photos by

Southern Jr. Marcos Matias

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Ray Rich Photography rayrichphotog raphy.smugmug.co m


TRINITY FINANCIAL ENTERS STRATEGIC ALLIANCE WITH SPORTIKA T wo Groups Align in Efforts to Increase Academic Services and Mentoring for Student-Athletes

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wo Groups Align in Efforts to Increase Academic Services and Mentoring for StudentAthletes Spring Lake, N . J . - Tr i n i t y F i n a n c i a l , Sports & Entertainment Management Compan y, a division of Pe t e r G r a n d i c h a n d C o m p a n y, officially announced that it has entered into a strategic alliance with Sportika, a state-of-theart sports c o m p l ex located in Manalapan, N.J., that also has an additional venue in Freehold, N.J. “I consider our relationship with Sportika to be the single greatest undertaking in our company’s history,” said Peter Grandich, owner of Peter Grandich Company and Trinity Financial, Sports & Entertainment Management Company. “They are without any reservation, the largest and best youth sports facility in the TriState area. And if that’s not enough, their corporate philosophy of academics being every bit as important as sports participation will better serve parents and their desires for their children, which is un-matched anywhere else.” The driving element of this partnership will be focused on the individual progression of the student-a thlete. The two groups will be aligned in their efforts to increase academic development and to improve life skills of the student-athlete by means of personal mentoring. Sportika takes a sincere initia tive in administering ser vices to student-a thletes tha t will develop them on both the academic and sports performance fronts, ensuring tha t they are prepared for college despite whether or not they choose to play athletics.

seven full high school regula tion basketball courts, which can double as four volleyball courts, four futsal courts, and support pickle ball, dodgeball and many other hardwood court specific sports and activities. Sportikais also home to an center (Sportikaacademic Brainstorm), a sports performance physical thera py center and Youth (Sportika-Parabolic), Academy (SportikaMentoring corpora te meeting Goodworx), rooms and event spaces as well. To learn more about the amazing a thletic facility a t Sportika, make sure to visit their official website: SportikaSports.com

Sportika CEO. “Sportika is committed to developing not only the physical skill of each young athlete, but also their intellect, emotion, instinct and intuition. We have an opportunity to change the industry when it comes to youth sports. “Very few people make it to professional sports. Our goal is to prepare athletes to be well rounded, socially conscious, global thinking citizens, and not only to get them into college, but to have them thrive, whether they are playing their sport or not.” Sportika is a 170,000 square foot venue, featuring one of the largest indoor turf fields in the sta te of New Jersey. Sportika’s state-of-the-art facility boasts the ability to host full-field soccer ma tches, full baseball and softball games, lacrosse, g ymnastic events, wrestling ma tches, ultima te frisbee competitions, flag football, touch rugby, spike ball and more. Many of these events can occur simultaneously on their 90,000 square foot indoor turf field. Sportika is also home to

For more informa tion on Trinity Financial, visit TrinityFSEM.com, and read more about Peter Grandich a t PeterGrandich.com. To schedule an a ppointment with Trinity Financial, contact Peter Grandich directly a t peter@petergrandich.com. About Trinity Financial, Sports & Entertainment Management Company Located at 219 Morris Avenue in Spring Lake, Peter Grandich Compan y and Trinity Financial, Sports & Entertainment Mana gement Compan y provides business, retirement and esta te planning ser vices to individuals, business owners and professional athletes. Through astrategic alliance with York-Jersey Underwriters, the compan y offers professional advice and risk management services to business and personal insurance clients. The company works with such esteemed a thletes as NFL all-time grea t Joe Klecko, Super Bo wl hero Da vid Tyree, former hea vyweight world title contender Gerry Cooney, among others, as well as operating a stra tegic business partnership with Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.

In particular, Peter Grandich and Trinity Financial will work directly with the student-athletes at Sportika, as well as their families, in providing educational services that are related to financial literacy. “Working with Peter Grandich and Trinity Financial will play a vital role in broadening the appeal of Sportika,” said Robert Fegan, Managing Partner of Sportika. “Peter is someone who is linked directly to a diverse group of recognized professional athletes. Also, he personally has an international reputation as being one of the foremost financial experts. His network in the sports community, combined with his vast experience in ma tters of finance, will indeed enhance the ser vices and culture at Sportika.” Sportika was conceived as a full encompassing sports complex solution to sa tisfy the demand of both elite and recrea tional a thletes. Since opening in March, Sportika has become the “Mecca” of indoor sports facilities on the East Coast, and it is emerging as a leader and model for youth development and sports performance training programs. “Sportika’s mission is to provide a comprehensive ‘humanistic’ approach to developing young athletes,” said Jeffrey L. Jordan,

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Rumson-Fair Haven Girls Lacrosse Seeks Fifth Straight SCT Crown By Bob Badders – Senior Managing Editor

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he girls lacrosse Shore Conference To u r n a m e n t g o t u n d e r w a y o n M a y 8 t h and it was all chalk as the top eight seeds advanced to the quarterfinals. Rumson-Fair Haven is the No. 1 seed and entered the tournament as the four-time defending SCT champions. The Bulldogs are looking to win their sixth overall title and join Shore Regional as the only programs to win five straight Shore Conference Tournament championships. The Blue Devils won five in a row from 2005-2009 and have a record seven SCT titles.

Manasquan and No. 5 Shore. Rumson has wins over all four by at least seven goals, so each squad will have to find a way to dramatically turn the tables. Red Bank Catholic is 12-2 through the first round and has won six straight games, including a 15-12 triumph over Manasquan. The Caseys’ only losses are to Rumson and Mendham. They erupted for 24 goals in a win over Donovan Ca tholic in the first round. Olivia Farrington (80 points), Amanda Murphy (75) and Mackenzie Boyle (72) lead the way offensively for RBC, while Erin Mattone and Kristen Pezzullo each have 45 points. The Caseys have won three SCT titles, the last of which came in 2012.

Rumson is 13-2 through the first round of the SCT with its only losses this season coming to Mooresto wn and Lawrenceville Prep in overtime. The Bulldogs have three 50point scorers with Brittany Bruno, Kyra Weiner and Elizabeth Scarrone, plus standout defender Caitie Clark, leading the way. Considering Rumson’s last loss to a Shore Conference team was to Manasquan in the 2012 SCT semifinals, they enter the tournament as the overwhelming favorite.

Freehold Township was undefeated until it ran into Rumson and suffered a 12-5 defeat on May 1. The Patriots responded with three straight victories, including an 11-8 win over Central in the first round of the SCT, and carried a 14-1 record into the SCT quarterfinals. Michelle Pascrell is Freehold Township’s offensive leader in both goals (55) and points (72) through Monday’s SCT games, while Cai Martin has 55 points on 36 goals and 19 assists and Raegen Dunn is a 40-goal scorer.

Leading the cast of teams trying to unseat Rumson are No. 2 Red Bank Catholic, No. 3 Freehold Township, No. 4

Manasquan has lost just to the teams seeded above it, including twice to division foe Red Bank Catholic. The Warriors

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advanced to the SCT quarterfinals with a 14-11 win over Toms River South. Manasquan has three big scorers in Isabella Feldmann (44 goals, 42 assists), Logan Harms (50 goals, 21 assists) and Janie Cowley (52 goals, 17 assists). Manasquan has reached three SCT finals in its histor y, the la test appearance coming in 2012. Shore is 11-5 entering the SCT quarterfinals where it will ma tch up with fourth-seeded Manasquan in a rema tch of a game won by Manasquan, 16-15, on May 1. The Blue Devils have reached the Shore Conference Tournament championship game in each of the last two seasons and have reached the SCT finals if 11 of the 19 tournaments. Mar y Kate George is Shore’s go-to option on offense with 55 goals and 30 assists through Monday. The rest of the teams remaining are No. 6 Holmdel, No. 7 Red Bank and No. 8 Ocean. Neither has faced its respective quarterfinals opponent this season. The SCT semifinals will take place a t 5 p.m for the top bracket and 7 p.m. for the bottom bracket on Friday, May 12, a t Ocean To wnship High School. The championship game is 4 p.m. on Monday, May 15 at Georgian Court University.


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Can Foot Strike Affect Running Injuries? By Dr. Dr. Glenn Gabisan - Professiona l Orthopaedic Associates

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any runners sustain an injury at one point or another in their training. Research has suggested that sudden changes in training such as u n f o r g i v i n g s u r fa c e s , h i l l w o r k , d r a s t i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t f o o t w e a r a n d o vertraining can all contribute to injur y.

Recent theories are suggesting that foot strike can also affect injury rates. Many runners strike the ground with their heel, but recent research has indicated that striking the ground with your f o r e f o o t m a y g i v e y o u a l o w e r i n c i d e n c e o f i n j u r y. D r. G a b i s a n , F o o t a n d A n k l e s p e c i a l i s t a t P r o f e s s i o n a l O r t h o p a e d i c A s s o c i a t e s a n d a r u n n e r h i m s e l f advises, “If you are not experiencing pain, there is really no need to alter form. But, if you have had chronic heel pain, spurs or plantar fasciitis, a gradual alteration to your stride may be beneficial.” D r. G a b i s a n a l s o s a y s i t ’s i m p o r t a n t t o u p d a t e f o o t w e a r r e g u l a r l y a n d , i f o v e r w e i g h t , t o s t a r t w i t h a walking program. This program may progress to a “walk-jog-run” program. If you have any questions about how you can avoid running injuries, p l e a s e c o n t a c t D r. G a b i s a n a t 7 3 2 - 5 3 0 - 4 9 4 9 .

Glenn Gabisan, MD Ankle, Foot, Knee, and Sports Medicine Glenn G. Gabisan, MD, FACS, is an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in ankle, foot, knee, and sports medicine. Dr. Gabisan is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Gabisan joined Professional Orthopaedic Associates in 2004.

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Shore Sports Network’s

Shore Community

HERE ARE SOME SHORE-AREA FAVORITES for you to support

Getting something to eat before or after a sporting event or looking for a local

business that might have some shore sports-related opportunity is part of our culture, and often it’s a spur-of-the-moment decision for a potential customer based on where they are at the time and what restaurants or local businesses they are familiar with. The Shore Sports Network wants to put your business at the front of customer’s minds by featuring you on our sports-themed community page that will appear on both our website and in our bi-monthly Shore Sports Network Journal. Let our viewers and readers know you welcome them to stop in any time. These are often passionate fans and families who can be your customers through this customized, cost-effective marketing plan that puts your business front and center

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Community Feature Page Available from Feb – June & will consist of the following • 5.25w x 2.45h color ad in two issues of our Bi-Weekly SSN Journal Publications. • SSN Publications distributed to the High Schools, all Jersey Mike’s Subs & Super WAWA locations within Ocean & Monmouth counties as well as local business and HS hot spots. • Website Community page posting on SSN site • Digital link to your website/Facebook page

CALL TODAY Margaret Lynn Scheiderman 848-221-8155

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ou have likely read or heard recently about the monumental effort in Toms River to build a true “Field of Dreams.” It is the brainchild and passion of Chrstian Kane and his wife Mar y and it would benefit those like their six-year old son Gavin and other special needs children. Fo r t h o s e n o t a w a r e G a v i n suffered serious injuries in a car accident nearly five years a go as Chris was getting read y to pull into the entrance of Toms River High School North where he teaches. The then 19-month old spent two months hospitalized and suffered severe brain trauma but the Kane’s never considered an ything but bringing him home. Their home has been made handicapped accessible for Gavin who is in kindergarten at Silver Bay Elementar y School and communica tes by using a tablet computer and gets around thanks to a specialized wheel chair. The Kane’s even built a backy ard play area, complete with a trampoline and rubberized surface but realize tha t most special needs children don’t ha ve something like tha t.

So with this as the backdrop they envisioned and then began planning the building of a facility c a l l e d t h e “ To m s R i v e r Fi e l d o f D r e a m s ” o n donated land from the township on Bay Avenue. I t w o u l d i n cl u d e a s p e c i a l n e e d s b a s e b a l l f i e l d , playground, miniature golf course, pavilion and snack area and much more. It will also be used by youth ser vices of Toms R i v e r a n d o t h e r p r o g r a m s o f f e r e d b y t h e To m s River school district throughout the year and d u r i n g t h e s p r i n g a n d f a l l h o m e t o t h e Fr a z i e r Special Needs Baseball Program with the full endorsement of White Sox slugger Todd Frazier. Of course a project of this na ture takes money. About $1.2 million and recent stories have resulted in a promising start to a grassroots effort. The first official fundraiser is through a Lakewood BlueCla ws game on Monday, May 22nd i n w h i c h t h e K a n e ’s h o p e t o s e l l 5 0 0 t i c k e t s a t $ 2 0 e a c h w h i c h i n cl u d e s a s p e c i a l T R Fi e l d o f Dreams t-shirt. Plus kids 12 and under get a free h o t d o g , c h i p s a n d d r i n k . Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n visit trfieldofdreams.weebly.com. As Christian Kane told me, ”from tragedy can come greatness.” When they cut the ribbon for t h i s “ Fi e l d o f D r e a m s ” i t w i l l b e s o m e t h i n g t r u l y spectacular.

Christian Kane speaks about the “Field of Dreams” - a park where kids with disabilities can go to play - planned for Toms River (Photo: APP Thomas P. Costello)

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5-9-17 Issue - 9 Volume IX Shore Sports Network Journal  

Shore Sports Network's Shore Baseballs Diamond Difference Maskers

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