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South Jersey Non-Public A & B Baseball Preview

South Jersey Non-Public A & B Baseball Preview

South Jersey Non-Public A & B Baseball Preview z

With not as many teams involved in the South Jersey Non-Public A and B baseball tournaments, things are more spread out which means that much of the main action won’t take place until next week.

And as usual, there should be plenty of contenders for the sectional title in Non-Public A, which has been won each of the last two years by St. Augustine.

In Non-Public B, it looks like while the public school sectional tournaments consist of 16 teams, Non-Public A has just 11 and Non-Public B has 12.

In Non-Public A, top seeded Christian Brothers Academy, No. 2 Bishop Eustace, No. 3 St. Augustine, No. 4 St. Joseph Metuchen and No. 5 Red Bank Catholic all have first round byes. Those teams won’t begin action until Tuesday, May 29.

In Non-Public B, only top seeded Immaculata and No. 2 seeded Gloucester Catholic have byes, with each beginning action on May 29.

With Bishop Eustace and St. Augustine competing in this weekend’s Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, it could change the pitching plans of either school, especially if they advance far. Due to the rain, the Diamond, which was scheduled to be completed by May 20, now will conclude on May 27.

Even though St. Augustine is seeded third, the Hermits won’t relinquish their title very easily. This is a team with solid pitching led by junior Cole Vanderslice (4-0).

Like Eustace and St. Augustine, top seeded CBA is also involved in another tournament that could impact the pitching. The Colts, who began the week 19-2, are involved in the Shore Conference Tournament.

Being in these tournaments is great experience for playing in the state tournament, but they also could deplete a pitching staff, so that has to be watched.

A potential sleeper team from South Jersey in Non-Public A is Paul VI, which is seeded sixth and opens with No. 11 Donovan Catholic on Wednesday. If Paul VI wins, the Eagles face St. Augustine in the second round.

Paul VI is led by senior righthander Will Gambino, who is expected to be selected in the MLB First Year Player Draft which begins on June 4.

Gambino has also hit five home runs this season, providing a true dual theat.

Are there other teams in NP A that have a chance? The winner of next week’s second round game between No. 4 St. Joseph Metuchen and No. 5 Red Bank Catholic, could be a dangerous team.

As for the NP B tournament, it would be a surprise if Immaculata and Gloucester Catholic don’t meet in the final.

Gloucester Catholic is the defending state champion and since the Rams lost to St. Augustine, 4-3, in the first round of the Diamond Classic, they should be well rested.

Lefthander Andrew Vail, who was the winning pitcher in last year’s 15-5 state championship win over Newark Academy, will play a key role if the Rams are to repeat.

It’s possible that winning the South Jersey title could be more difficult than the state championship for Gloucester Catholic.

That’s because Immaculata is among the top teams in the state. The Spartans began the week with a 17-1 record.

And there could be other teams capable of beating either Gloucester Catholic or Immaculata.

NP B isn’t as deep as the larger enrollment NP A, but there are still plenty of quality teams.

The winner of either tournament will likely end up ranked in the state’s Top 20 and more likely Top 10.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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