Pitman baseball off to an impressive start

by Marc Narducci | Apr 24, 2022
Pitman baseball off to an impressive start

As with most of the high school sectional baseball races, South Jersey Group 1 has plenty of contenders, including Pitman, which began the week No. 1 in power points according to NJ.com.

The Panthers started the week 8-1 after a 6-2 win over a Buena team that began the week No. 2 in the South Jersey Group 1 power points.

Pitman has also earned a 7-4 win over Paulsboro, which was No. 4 to begin the week in South Jersey Group 1 power points.

Last year South Jersey Group 1 was also considered up for grabs. To show how much parity there was, Pitman earned an 8-7 win over eventual South Jersey Group 1 champ Woodstown, in the Panther's final game of the regular season.

Pitman then fell to Haddon Township, 3-1 in an opening South Jersey Group 1 game, finishing its season 14-7.

Now the Panthers have appeared to have taken that next step.

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The lone loss in the first nine games was 4-2 to St. Joseph Hammonton, in a game shortened to five innings due to rain.

Not many games have been close for the Panthers. Their closest was a come from behind 6-4 win over Glassboro in a night game at Pitman between these two neighboring schools that drew a large crowd.

Probably the biggest win was a 14-2 triumph over a Pennsville team that trails the Panthers by one game in the Tri-County Conference Classic Division.

The two teams will meet on May 3 at Pennsville in the rematch that many expect to be much more competitive.

Pitman coach John Hopely has a nice blend of youth and experience.
The two main pitchers have been senior Billy Keehn and sophomore Stephen Devanney.

Keehn began the week with a 1.57 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings. Devanney had a 0.38 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 18 innings.
Senior Dion D’Amico and freshman Hudson Rue, the winner against Glassboro in relief, have also seen time on the mound.

Two sophomores, Devanney and outfielder Connor Sharkey have been the offensive leaders.

Devanney began the week hitting .437 with 14 RBI. Sharkey was batting .678 with a team-high 16 RBI.

Keehn was hitting .450 and led the Panthers in both walks (15) and stolen bases (11).

Senior catcher Aiden Ewe was batting .464 with nine RBI.
The Panthers play an exciting style of baseball unless you have to defend against it. In the first nine games, Pitman stole 46 bases.

Besides the rematch with Pennsville, there are plenty of other regular-season challenges for the Panthers, including games with Group 1 contenders Schalick, Woodstown and Gloucester.

So Pitman should be battle-tested when the state tournament begins in June and no doubt the Panthers should be in the thick of the race.

Author: Marc Narducci


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