Tri-County Royal a major baseball force

by Marc Narducci | May 4, 2022
Tri-County Royal a major baseball force

The Tri-County Royal Division in most sports has evolved over the years, and that includes in baseball. Once primarily a Group 2 and 3 conference, the Royal is dominated by Group 4 schools.

This year the six-team division has four Group 4 schools – Kingsway, Williamstown, Clearview and GCIT.

The other two schools are Timber Creek, which is in Group 3 and Gloucester Catholic, a perennial South Jersey and state power, which is SJ Non-Public B.

Try finding an easy game in this division?
Timber Creek began the week 5-7 overall but 1-6 in the Royal in last place. While the Chargers won’t be listed as a Group 3 favorite, this could be a dangerous team.

What will help Timber Creek is playing 10 games in the Royal (two against each of the five teams). This will toughen up anybody for the postseason.

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“The Royal is a gauntlet,” Timber Creek coach Jon Kates said. “We were in the Olympic American for years and I coached at Washington Township before that I always swore that was the best division and it is still very good, but this one, with the way teams have come up, this one is just as good.”

As Kates said, the American is still plenty good. The American can rival the Royal for its depth.

In baseball, the American consists of Lenape, Eastern, Shawnee, Washington Township, Cherokee and Cherry Hill East.

That is a murderous row, but Kates’ point is well taken. The depth of the Royal can rival any division. Next season Washington Township will move over into the Tri-County Conference, adding to the depth.

Gloucester Catholic began the week leading the Royal with a 6-1 record.
The Rams one division loss was 15-0 to Kingsway, but then Gloucester Catholic won the rematch by a 3-2 score.

An example that there are no easy games came when Timber Creek beat Kingsway, 4-2 on April 23. That was a Kingsway team that was ranked No. 5 in the state at the time.

The Royal had two schools earn a berth to the 16-team Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, which matches the top teams in South Jersey in a single-elimination tournament.

In that tournament, Gloucester Catholic is seeded third, and Kingsway is fourth.

Gloucester Catholic began the week with just a 10-6 record, but the Rams annually play one of the tougher schedules in South Jersey and this year is no exception.

For years Gloucester Catholic dominated by competing in the lower enrollment divisions of the Tri-County Conference, but this year the Rams moved up to the Royal. League officials correctly realized that despite its much lower enrollment, the Rams can compete with the bigger schools.

Gloucester Catholic realized right away that things wouldn’t be so easy in the Royal when it opened this season with a 2-1 victory over Clearview.

This is still the Rams race to win, but the depth should not only help them but each and every team to be well tested when the playoffs begin.

Author: Marc Narducci


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