Colonial Conference Again Having a Strong Season in Baseball

Colonial Conference Again Having a Strong Season in Baseball
The Colonial Conference always is competitive in baseball and this year the Liberty Division, which is for the larger enrollment schools, is especially deep.
 
In fact when previewing the Colonial Liberty, one will also get a glimpse of the top teams in South Jersey Group 2.
 
Audubon, Haddonfield and West Deptford are the three Liberty contenders and all three should be seriously in the hunt when the Group 2 when the tournament begins the week of May 20.
 
Audubon already produced an early-season shocker when the Green Wave beat Bishop Eustace, 4-2 in the championship of their own Ralph Shaw Tournament.
 
Eustace was a consensus Top 3 team in South Jersey at the time and the Crusaders remain one of the area’s best teams.
 
So that was a major win Audubon. First baseman Garrity Bantle was named the tournament most valuable player with six hits in the two games. (The Green Wave beat Riverside, 10-0, in the opening round). Fellow senior Joe Kidd was named the most valuable pitcher after allowing just one run in four innings of relief to earn the victory.
 
Right now Audubon’s biggest challenger for the conference (and likely Group 2) appears to be Haddonfield.
 
The Bulldogs are the defending South Jersey Group 2 champs and despite being hit hard by graduation, are a viable threat, having begun the week 6-0
 
Both Audubon and Haddonfield have defeated West Deptford. The Green Wave won 9-7 and Haddonfield won 5-0 as ace righthander Dylan Heine pitched a complete game five-hitter, striking out nine.
 
Even though West Deptford lost to the two favorites, it would be premature to count the Eagles out of the division race. West Deptford should also be a factor in SJ Group 2.
 
To show how difficult the Colonial is, Collingswood, which wasn’t predicted to be a contender in the preseason, gave Haddonfield a major test before losing 6-5.
 
Of course when Collingswood starts senior lefthander Alex Margot, the Panthers could be competitive with any team on their schedule.
 
Margot is a Division I pitcher, having signed with the University of Kentucky. He was also one of the stars for the Olympic-Colonial team that won the Carpenter Cup championship last June at Citizens Bank Park.
 
Against Haddonfield, Margot allowed five runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings. He was lifted after throwing the maximum pitchers according to NJSIAA pitching rules. (A player can throw 110 pitches, but can also go over to finish pitching to a batter.
 
Margot threw 114 pitches and struck out 10.
 
All eyes will be on the Haddonfield at Audubon game on April 29. The rematch is May 9 at Haddonfield. It’s possible that by the second meeting both teams will be in the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, which invites 16 of the top teams in South Jersey.
 
Despite being Group 2 schools, there is a feeling that Audubon and Haddonfield can compete with the larger-enrollment schools.
 

 

In addition, they are the two main teams in the Colonial, which has long enjoyed a reputation as a great baseball conference, something that is clearly the case once again this year.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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