NJSIAA Group I baseball semifinal preview

NJSIAA Group I baseball semifinal preview

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NJSIAA Group I baseball semifinal preview

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Who: Pitman (20-5) vs. Middlesex (24-4)

Where/When: Rutgers University, today, 4 p.m.

How they got here: Pitman defeated Pennsville 8-3, Audubon 8-4, Riverside 3-0, Gloucester City 11-2; Middlesex defeated South River 20-3 (5 innings), Point Pleasant Beach 11-1 (5 innings), Shore Regional 4-0

Pitman report: The South Jersey champs have hit .353 as a team, but got here on the strength of senior Chris Seibert’s right arm and nasty slider. Seibert is 6-1 with a 0.13 – yes – 0.13 earned run average. He has struck out 90 and walked 21 in 56 innings and is holding opponents to a miniscule .132 batting average. Middlesex should present a major challenge. The Blue Jays are hitting a robust .406 as a team and scoring 9.6 runs per game. Pitman has allowed 2.92. Pitman is scoring 7.4 runs per game with Seibert a big reason. He leads the club with a .521 average, has scored 35 runs and driven in 24. Shortstop Trevor Datz, headed to University of Sciences in Philadelphia, is at .506 with 35 runs scored, and has struck out just once in 94 plate appearances. Catcher Anthony Corma (32 hits, 16 RBI, 28 runs) is another threat Middlesex will face.

Pitman playoff history: Pitman has been to three Group I finals, winning in 2010 (Whippany Park), losing in 1972 (Roselle Park) and 2000 (Emerson Borough).

Middlesex report: Junior righty Anthony Keri (6-3) and senior lefties Kris Fellin (5-0) and Tommy Marcinczyk (10-0) are all available to pitch. Senior first baseman/designated hitter Brennan Price paces the Blue Jays offensively with a state-leading 60 RBI and nine homers. Senior Walter Byleckie is batting .900 (9-for-10) in the state tournament. Senior leadoff man Tyler Heisch tops the club with 49 hits, followed by Marcinczyk (45) and Price (42). Senior Jeff Reinecke raised his average to .467, going 3-for-3 in the sectional final.

Middlesex playoff history: Middlesex has made the Group I final four times and is 2-2 with wins in 2007 (over Hoboken) and 1990 (over New Providence) and losses in 1982 (Emerson Borough) and 1998 (New Providence). The Blue Jays are two wins away from setting a single-season school record for victories. Mike O’Donnell, in his seventh year as head coach at his alma mater, has guided Blue Jay teams to a 127-54-1 record.

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