Rutgers-Camden Boosted By Local Products

Rutgers-Camden Boosted By Local Products Rutgers-Camden Boosted By South Jersey Products

After competing in the NCAA Division III Tournament last year, Rutgers-Camden is making another run this season.

And the Scarlet Raptors, who were 30-13-1 overall and 14-4 in capturing first place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) last year, are again enjoying success with the contribution of many South Jersey products, starting with the head coach.

Dennis Barth is in his third season as head coach, after enjoying a successful run guiding his alma mater, Gloucester Catholic.

Barth, who also has guided Brooklawn’s American Legion team to the past two World Series titles, had Rutgers-Camden in first place in the NJAC.

Entering this week, the Scarlet Raptors were 13-9 overall, but 8-1 and on top of the NJAC, just ahead of Kean, which was 8-2.

Already this season, two players from Rutgers-Camden earned NJAC honors. Junior Kyle Gaff of Gloucester High was named Pitcher of the Week on March 16, and senior Jeff Singer, a product of Holy Cross, was named Pitcher of the Week on April 7.

Entering the week, Singer was 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA. He had 43 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings pitched.

Gaff has been one of the team’s closers, with four saves and a 0.00 ERA in seven appearances. Teams were batting just .067 against him. Billy Jackson, a junior from Buena, was 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA.

There have been several key offensive performers who hail from South Jersey.

Infielder Matt McElhatton, a junior from Camden Catholic, was hitting .375 with eight RBIs in just 24 at-bats.

Joe Brooks, a sophomore infielder from Gloucester Catholic, was hitting .350 with one home run and 14 RBIs. He had an .860 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage).

Bobby Romano, a senior outfielder from Vineland High, was hitting .348 with one homer and 14 RBIs.

Jon Theckston, a sophomore catcher from Gloucester Catholic, was the other regular hitting above .300, with a .317 average.

Barth has done an outstanding job recruiting, getting many top South Jersey players to stay home.

And the fact that the program is now winning, plus the team plays at Campbell’s Field, home of the Camden Riversharks, makes Rutgers-Camden an attractive baseball destination. (It doesn’t hurt that the academics are also a strong suit of the school).

In addition, the NJAC is considered a top-flight baseball conference.

In the most recent D3baseball.com poll, Kean was ranked fifth nationally. Another NJAC team, Rowan, wasn’t ranked in the Top 25, but was among the teams receiving votes.

And nobody should count Rutgers-Camden out. They will have to produce a more consistent offense, although that could be said of most NJAC teams.

As the weather warms up, so should Barth’s offense. Rutgers-Camden has the ability to return to the Division III playoffs. The Scarlet Raptors proved it last year and they would like nothing else but to prove it again.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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