Washington Township Quietly Enjoying Solid Baseball Season

by Marc Narducci | May 8, 2024
Washington Township Quietly Enjoying Solid Baseball Season
 As we mentioned last week, the Tri-County Conference in baseball is among the best in South Jersey, making it easy to get lost in the publicity shuffle, especially in the six-team Tri-County Royal Division.

That division includes Gloucester Catholic, which began the week No. 1 in the state, according to NJ.com and Kingsway, which is a consensus top five team in South Jersey. 

Half of the Royal teams were selected to the prestigious 32-team Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, with Gloucester Catholic the top seed and Kingsway No. 2.

That brings us to the third Royal team in the Diamond – Washington Township. 

The Minutemen began the week 10-8 overall and 5-2 in the Royal. Both Royal losses were to Gloucester Catholic and Kingsway.

Despite being the 30th seed in the Diamond, Washington Township advanced to the quarterfinals after beating third seeded St. Augustine in the first round, 17-5, and No. 14 seed Egg Harbor Township, 7-6.

Regardless of whether Township can keep advancing (and meeting No. 6 seed Delsea in the quarterfinals won’t be an easy task), the Minutemen are quietly having a strong season.

The schedule, besides the Diamond games, has been demanding with non-league losses to quality Olympic Conference teams Rancocas Valley and Moorestown.

Washington Township began the week No. 7 in the South Jersey Group 4 power rankings and if the Minutemen hold that seed, they would host a first round playoff game.

South Jersey Group 4, like the Trico Royal is loaded (led by Kingsway, which began the week No. 1 in the power rankings). 

Yet what Washington Township has shown is that the Minutemen have a highly competitive program. They may not win any championships, but will provide stiff competition for anybody they have to face in the postseason.

Leading the offense is senior catcher-designated hitter Jack Fitzpatrick. He entered the week batting .360 according to NJ.com statistics. Headed to Harford Community College in Bel, Air, Maryland, Fitzpatrick was leading the Minutemen in doubles (7), home runs (4) and RBI (23). He has been among the more underrated players in South Jersey.

Senior center fielder Jared Dzierzgowski entered the week hitting .362 and led the Minutemen in runs (20) and stolen bases (15).  Senior shortstop Chris Smith was hitting .364 with a team-high 20 hits.

Two seniors – Connor Hafto and Luke Linden – put up impressive numbers. Hafto had a 3.34 ERA in 29 1/3 innings, with 20 strikeouts. Linden opened the week with a 2.45 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 20 innings. 

Township has a demanding rest of the regular season schedule, which includes rematches with Gloucester Catholic and Kingsway. 

The Minutemen should be well prepared for the NJSIAA Group 4 state tournament, where you won’t find them among the favorites, but there won’t be many teams thrilled to face them in the postseason. 

Photo: Washington Township's Jack Fitzpatrick / Marc Narducci

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Author: Marc Narducci

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