The return of high school baseball a welcome addition in South Jersey

The return of high school baseball a welcome addition in South Jersey Maybe it was appropriate that for the first time in a while, South Jersey high school baseball wasn’t thrown a curve ball.

Last week was a monumental day for high school baseball. Friday, March 26, was the first day that pitchers and catchers could report for practice. Full team practices were to begin April 1, with opening day April 19.

The first day for pitchers and catchers was perfect early season baseball weather - mid 60’s, sun shining brightly.

The South Jersey Baseball Coaches Association sent out this tweet - “After the longest off season in NJ HS Baseball history. Today is a day that we were not sure was going to happen. Pitchers and catchers get started today, make sure we do it right mask up, social distance, let’s do our thing. We deserve a great long season.”

Never were truer words spoken.

Of all the athletes who faced difficulty last year due to COVID, nobody had it worse than the spring sports competitors.

That’s because they were the ones who had their seasons cancelled.

Last July, there was a Last Dance Tournament, organized specifically to give then-high school senior baseball players one chance to compete.

It consisted of 222 teams in a single-elimination tournament statewide.

That at least gave the teams something to look forward to and it was a great undertaking.

Yet nothing can compare to an actual season.

And it is upon us.

With COVID, nobody can take anything for granted and teams will have to proceed with caution, but there is so much optimism that the high school baseball season is about to be staged.

The NJSIAA will be holding not only a sectional tournament, but a state tournament as well.

What adds to the excitement is that there are two of the country’s top Major League Baseball prospects that will be pitching in South Jersey.

The two are Bishop Eustace lefthander Anthony Solometo and Mainland righthander Chase Petty.

Both players were listed among the top 30 MLB draft prospects (including college players) by Keith Law of the Athletic. Law is among the most respected talent evaluators in the country. He ranked Solometo No. 24 in the country and Petty No. 26.

Petty is among the hardest throwing players, who has hit 100 MPH on the radar guns.

Make no mistake about it, these two pitchers will be bringing in scouts from all across the country to see them pitch.

When there is one potential first round draft choice in the area, it brings so much excitement and imagine having two of them.

Whether they are drafted in the first round or not, their progress will be heavily monitored and that just adds another element of excitement to the South Jersey season.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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