South Jersey H.S. Baseball Tournament Preview – Groups 2, 3 and 4

by Marc Narducci | May 17, 2023
South Jersey H.S. Baseball Tournament Preview – Groups 2, 3 and 4
The NJSIAA high school baseball state tournament is right around the corner. The first round begins on May 22 for public schools and May 23 for Non-Public schools. 

Sectional finals are June 2 for public schools and June 3 for Non-Public. at the highest seed.

All the state championship games will take place at Veterans Memorial Park in Hamilton. Non-Public state finals are June 8 and public state championships are June 10. 

The playoff cutoff date was Wednesday, May 17, so these are unofficial seedings based on power points  (according to NJ.com) through May 13.

Last week we detailed Group 1 and Non-Public A and B. Here is a look at South Jersey Group 2, 3 and 4.

SJ Group 2

Haddon Heights, the defending South Jersey champions, will again be major contenders. Junior infielder Jake Griess, a starter on last year’s team, began the week batting .439 and is the leader of a strong offense.

Junior righthander Drew Harris, who was also the quarterback in football, entered the week with a 2.21 ERA and heads a solid Haddon Heights pitching staff.

The Garnets began the week No. 2 in power points behind Cedar Creek. Last year Heights beat Cedar Creek, 4-3 in the South Jersey Group 2 championship game. 

No. 3 Cinnaminson and No. 4 Haddonfield bear watching. Haddonfield has split its two games with Haddon Heights. 

Cinnaminson has played a strong schedule and the Pirates’ most impressive showing came in a loss. A 1-0 defeat to six-time defending South Jersey Non-Public A champ St. Augustine in the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic.

SJ Group 3

Delsea is on a certified roll. The Crusaders are No. 2 in power points, but advanced to Wednesday’s (May 17) Diamond Classic final against Gloucester Catholic. 

Delsea beat two powerful SJ Group 4  schools in the Diamond  – Kingsway and Egg Harbor - before beating major Group 3 contender Cherry Hill West in the semifinals. 

Junior George Starr, who often pitches in relief, leads the staff with a 0.72 ERA in 28 innings. 

Shawnee began the week leading Group 3 in power points and Cherry Hill West was No. 3 and both will be major contenders.

This season Shawnee and Cherry Hill West have split. Shawnee won a 4-3 Olympic Conference Patriot game and West beat the Renegades, 2-0, in a first round Diamond Classic contest.

One dark horse could be Timber Creek, which began the week No. 11 in power points, but has earned wins over Highland (another Group 3 contender) and Delsea.

SJ Group 4

Cherokee is the defending champion, after beating Kingsway, 2-1, in last year’s final. The Chiefs will again be among the favorites and began the week No. 1 in SJ Group 4 power points. 

Cherokee has split with Lenape, which is another contender and No. 4 in power points. 

No. 3 Egg Harbor, which has gone in a recent slump, is still a major threat. The Eagles have earned recent wins over SJ Group 2 top seed Cedar Creek and Non-Public A No. 3 seed St. Augustine. 

EHT senior Cameron Flukey (0.62 ERA) is considered among the top pitchers in South Jersey.

Another team to watch is No. 2 Vineland, which has beaten Lenape and split with Egg Harbor Township.

No. 7 Millville and No. 8 Kingsway can’t be discounted either and a dark horse could be No. 9 GCIT, which entered the week on an eight-game winning streak including victories over Kingsway and Gloucester Catholic. 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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