Riverside Baseball Looks to be Competitive while Facing a Difficult Rebuilding Job

by Marc Narducci; Photo Marc Narducci | Apr 9, 2019
Riverside Baseball Looks to be Competitive while Facing a Difficult Rebuilding Job
It was a tough loss to one of South Jersey’s top teams, but Riverside baseball coach Gary Herron felt his team could learn from the experience.
After losing to Audubon 10-0 in opening round game of the Ralph Shaw Tournament, Herron, one of the most successful coaches in South Jersey, turned teacher.
“Even in a 10-0 loss you can learn something,” Herron said. “You can keep battling.”
His team actually did that but an Audubon team that would upset Bishop Eustace the next day for the championship, just had too much.
This season few teams have a more difficult rebuilding effort than Riverside. The Rams lost 10 seniors from a 16-10 team that advanced to the Central Jersey Group 1 championship game before losing to eventual state champion Middlesex.
Now the Rams are looking to be competitive with a young team. Maybe by the time the tournament begins that will be the case.
The early going has been difficult as expected, but there have been some positives during a 1-3 start.
This is an extremely young team and the No. 1 pitcher is sophomore righthander Anthony Maris, who owned Riverside’s win and had struck out 15 in his first 9 1/3 innings.
Junior infielder-outfielder-pitcher Danny Devlin was batting a team-high .416.
Against Audubon, the Rams started two sophomores and two freshmen. There will be growing pains, but this is a program that should never be counted out.
It’s just that this is among the younger teams that Herron has fielded.
He is in his 26th season coaching Riverside and began the with a 371-244 record guiding the Rams. Included were consecutive state titles in 1996 and 1997.
The Rams also won a sectional championship in 1999 and under Herron have captured 10 Burlington County Freedom Division titles.
So he will be patient with the young players while leaning on the veterans. It is a team with just four seniors – infielder-pitcher Sam Gogliuzza, outfielder-pitcher Justin Schulin, outfielder A.J. Cabrera and pitcher-shortstop Ian Farrell.
Besides being the No. 2 starter, Farrell is expected to be among the Rams chief offensive threats.
The schedule, especially for a Group 1 school is extremely difficult.
Besides playing Freedom Division teams such as Maple Shade and Florence twice each, and besides having faced Audubon (a major South Jersey Group 2 contender), the Rams also have non-league games against the likes of Group 3 Moorestown and top Group 2 programs such as Delran and Cinnaminson.
Herron has always advocated playing the top schedule, figuring it is the best way to prepare a team for the postseason.
The goal for this young team is to earn one of the 16 Central Jersey Group 1 playoff spots.
For that to happen the young team will have to learn on the job, but what the Rams hope is that the young players mature, and the lessons learned early this season will pay off handily by this time next month.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci


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