Diamond Classic field set

by Marc Narducci | May 2, 2022
Diamond Classic field set

The 16-team Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic has been set and once again it will be a test of talent, endurance and depth for South Jersey baseball teams.

This single-elimination tournament is an unofficial event for many of the top teams in South Jersey. The Diamond winner doesn’t always end up No. 1, but it’s great for any team’s argument.

The state tournament will likely be the deciding factor, but the Diamond carries heavyweight into the final rankings.

Coaches have to sometimes decide whether to prioritize winning a division title over a Diamond game. Pitching matchups are always the key in the Diamond.

Teams have to play their first-round games by Thursday, May 5, with the quarterfinals to be played by Tuesday, May 10.

The semifinals will be Saturday, May 14 and the championship is Wednesday, May 18 under the lights at Alcyon Park in Pitman.

Bishop Eustace is the defending champion, but the Crusaders, who have won a record seven Diamond Classic titles, have not earned a bid.

The teams were picked by the South Jersey Baseball Coaches Association and seedings were done by area sportswriters. The Diamond doesn’t take the 16 top teams, since each conference has to be represented, but it has the majority of the best teams.

Here is the field and the seedings:

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No. 16 Paulsboro at No. 1 St. Augustine; No. 15 Haddonfield at No. 2 Northern Burlington; No. 14 Buena at No. 3 Gloucester Catholic; No. 13 Maple Shade at No. 4 Kingsway; No. 12 Pitman at No. 5 Shawnee; No. 11 Cherry Hill West at No. 6 Egg Harbor Township No. 10 Mainland at No. 7 Lenape and No. 9 Delran a No. 8 Cherokee.

Top-seeded St Augustine began the week 11-0. The Hermits have won two Diamond Classic titles, in 2017 and 2014.

This is the 48th annual tournament, named after the late Joe Hartmann, who created the Diamond.

Several years ago the Diamond made a prudent move to have the tournament completed (weather permitting) before the state tournament begins.

Before that move, teams had to juggle state tournaments and Diamond Classic games and it wouldn’t be unusual to see a No. 4 or No. 5 starter pitch in the Diamond.

While as mentioned earlier, teams still may prioritize a conference game over the Diamond, not having to worry about the state tournament, helps ensure that better pitching is in the Diamond.

One of the great games of the South Jersey season was Gloucester Catholic’s 4-3 loss to St. Augustine on April 3.

If those two meet in the Diamond, it would have to be in the semifinals and this would be a highly anticipated rematch.
 


Author: Marc Narducci

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