South Jersey H.S. Baseball Preview: Non-Public A &B, Group 1

by Marc Narducci | May 9, 2023
South Jersey H.S. Baseball Preview: Non-Public A &B, Group 1
The NJSIAA baseball tournament will begin on May 22. 

Sectional finals are June 2 for public schools and June 3 for Non-Public schools at the highest seed. The Non-Public state finals are June 8 at Veterans Park in Hamilton and the Public finals are June 10 at Veterans Park.

The cutoff date for seeding is May 17. Here is a look at three of the sections.

South Jersey Group 1

Woodstown is the two-time defending South Jersey champion and the Wolverines are again contenders. Beginning the week, the Wolverines were No. 5 in SJ Group 1 power points.

The team to beat will be No. 1 Buena, which is coming off a 5-0 win over No. 2 Audubon in the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic.

Joey Kurtz threw a complete-game 1-hitter over Audubon. That lowered his ERA to 0.77 while fellow senior Zachary Strouse entered the week with a 0.82 ERA. 

Last year Buena lost 15-8 to Woodstown in the semifinals. If the two meet again, it should be a much lower scoring game.

Despite the loss, Audubon remains a formidable challenger. Football quarterback Scott Lynch (1.94 ERA) leads a strong pitching staff.

In addition to Woodstown, No. 3 Pennsville and No. 4 Pitman are major threats. Pitman may have the top hitter in Group 1, junior shortstop-pitcher Stephen Devanney. 

SJ Non-Public A

When listing this group, the first name mentioned has to be St. Augustine. The Hermits entered the week No. 2 in power points, but they have won six consecutive sectional titles. 

St. Augustine has a deep team and one of the top pitching staffs around, led by senior Marco Levari, an Old Dominion commit. Levari began the week with a 1.70 ERA and had averaged a strikeout per inning.

Non-Public A is such a loaded field; Donovan Catholic, which began the week No. 6 in power points, is a serious contender. Other contenders include No. 1 Red Bank Catholic, No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 4 St. Joe Metuchen, No. 5 Paul VI and No. 7 Christian Brothers, who lost to St. Augustine, 5-2 in last year’s South Jersey Non-Public A championship game.

After St. Augustine, Paul VI is considered the next best team from the seven-county South Jersey area. Led by senior shortstop Mike Lucarelli, a Tulane commit, who entered the week batting .405.

SJ Non-Public B

Last year Ranney beat Gloucester Catholic 8-7 in the championship game and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they met again in the final.

Ranney began the week No. 1 in power points, while Gloucester Catholic was second. Bishop Eustace is another team from the seven-county South Jersey area that should be a major threat. 

Both Gloucester Catholic and Bishop Eustace have shut-down pitchers, which is essential in the postseason. Gloucester Catholic lefthander Tanner Nolan started the week with a 0.22 ERA and Bishop Eustace righthander Jack Kirchner, a Rutgers commit, began the week with a 2.05 ERA. 

Each team has a deep staff and they will be contenders in a very difficult Non-Public B field.

Next week: SJ Group 2, 3 and 4.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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