High School Baseball--A Preview
One of the stories to watch this spring is the continued development of Seneca senior righthander Kevin Comer, who is considered one of the top baseball prospects in the state.
The South Jersey spring sports season begins today (April 1), and Comer will be under as much scrutiny as any area athlete.
That’s because each time he pitches, there should be a large contingent of Major League Baseball scouts. Comer has made a college decision, choosing Vanderbilt over UCLA.
Those are two high-profile baseball programs--an indication of the attention Comer has attracted. It wouldn’t be surprising if Comer is selected among the top four rounds of Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft. Last season, Comer went 6-3 with a 1.46 ERA. He struck out 100 in 52 2/3 innings.
During the summer, he participated in a number of high-profile baseball events that were attended by scores of scouts.
Comer has said that he is keeping his future options open. Right now he has his scholarship, but Comer could be tempted to sign if he is selected high in the draft.
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Could South Jersey have another first round draft choice?
In the 2009 draft, Millville outfielder Mike Trout was selected in the first round by the Los Angeles Angels, 25th overall. Trout has been ranked as either the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect in all of baseball by various publications.
Trout and Comer are examples of the type of impressive baseball talent that is being produced in South Jersey.
While Comer will generate plenty of interest from scouts and fans alike, one of the great stories this spring will be the exploits of Highland senior second baseman Pierce Phillips.
Phillips is deaf, but has emerged as one of the best pure hitters in South Jersey. He is also an adept fielder, but it is his bat that causes the most damage.
Gloucester Catholic will no doubt be the consensus No. 1 preseason baseball team in South Jersey. In fact it wouldn’t be surprising if the defending Non-Public B state champions are nationally ranked.
Gloucester Catholic has one of the deepest pitching staff, led by all-South Jersey lefthander Cody Brown who was 9-1 with a 2.31 ERA last season.
In addition, Brown’s twin brother, Casey has returned to the mound after missing the past two seasons due to injury. As a freshman, Casey Brown was 7-1 on the varsity.
Gloucester Catholic righthander Mike Shawaryn is among the best sophomores in South Jersey after going 5-1 on the varsity. The Rams should also have a strong offense, led by senior outfielder Steve Wilgus and a long list of talented juniors.
Seneca is another interesting team to watch. The Golden Eagles will have one of the deeper staffs in South Jersey. With Comer on the mound, they can beat anybody. What hurt Seneca last season was an inconsistent offense.
Yet another team to watch is Lenape, which finished No. 1 in The Philadelphia Inquirer’s final South Jersey rankings. Senior pitcher-third baseman Jeff McGary, a Penn recruit, and senior shortstop Stefan Kancylarz, who is headed to St. Joseph’s University, are the leaders for the Indians.
Individually and team-wise, look for it to be a strong year in South Jersey. In fact it should be stronger than last year, which is saying something, because there were so many top efforts in 2010.
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Author: Marc Narducci
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