Woodstown earned South Jersey’s lone NJSIAA baseball state championship

by Marc Narducci | Jun 22, 2022
Woodstown earned South Jersey’s lone NJSIAA baseball state championship

Woodstown’s baseball team earned the lone NJSIAA baseball state championship among teams from the seven-county South Jersey area and the Wolverines did so by playing their best in the final month of the season.

On May 17, the Wolverines fell to 9-7 after a loss to Rancocas Valley, but after that, they won 10 of their final 12 games to finish 19-9 and Group 1 state champs.

The season ended with a 6-2 win over New Providence in the Group 1 state final.

That was the second state title for a program that has excelled for years. The other title came in 1991 under legendary coach Lee Ware, who retired after the 2019 season.

In the state title win, senior Chase Rieger earned the victory, going five innings and allowing three hits and one run, which was earned. He struck out six.

Sophomore Brent Williams pitched the final two innings, allowing one unearned run.

The big hit was a two-run double by sophomore Jack Knorr.

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Marc DeCastro replaced Ware and has done a great job. DeCastro, who played at Paul VI and Montclair State University, guided Woodstown to the South Jersey Group 1 title last year and is now the state championship this season.

The Wolverines won the 2022 Tri-County Conference Diamond Division in a spirited race. Woodstown went 6-2 in the Diamond, while Schalick and Overbrook were 5-3.

Playing in a competitive division like the Diamond helped Woodstown prepare for the state tournament. The Wolverines also played an ambitious non-league schedule, which included competitive losses to solid Group 4 programs such as Cherry Hill East and Washington Township.

Woodstown was only seeded No. 9 in the South Jersey Group 1 tournament, but the biggest win was a 4-3 quarterfinal upset of No. 1 seeded Audubon.

Make no mistake, Audubon was the favorite in Group 1 on merit, but this was a day when Woodstown picked an opportune time to have its best game of the season.

Rieger earned the win, going the first four innings while allowing two earned runs on three hits and striking out five. Williams earned the save, allowing one run in three innings and striking out five.
Andrew Pedrick was 2 for 3 with a run scored.

The other close tournament game for Woodstown was a 4-2 win over No. 6 seeded Paulsboro in the South Jersey Group 1 final.

As the No. 9 seed, Woodstown never got to play a South Jersey playoff game at home.

The Wolverines opened with a 10-0 win over No. 8 seeded Cape May Tech. Then came the win at Audubon, followed by a 15-8 sectional semifinal victory at No. 4 seeded Buena, before winning the South Jersey title at Paulsboro.

South Jersey teams were the host of the state semifinals and that was Woodstown’s lone postseason home game. The Wolverines defeated Central Jersey champion Point Pleasant Beach in the state semifinal.

Then came the state's final win over New Providence. The state final was held at Veterans Park in Hamilton, Mercer County.

Senior Benjamin Foote led the staff with a 2.60 ERA in 40 innings. Rieger had a 3.13 ERA and was an offensive force, batting .398.
Knorr batted a team-high .488, while senior outfielder Ben Woodruff, hit .473.

This was a team with a good combination of youth and experience. It’s always tough for Group 1 schools to rebuild due to a smaller player pool, but Woodstown has the tradition, the talent and the coaching to continue being a highly competitive team, the way it was under Ware and has continued with DeCastro in charge.
 


Author: Marc Narducci

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