So many times over the years, Toms River South has won a game with what is called “A South Finish” by those associated with the Indians’ program.
However, Friday night at Toms River South’s Ken Frank Baseball Stadium, the Indians were the victim of a dramatic finish by the other team.
Southern scored four runs with two out in the top of the seventh inning to record a dramatic 4-3 win in a Shore Conference Class A South game to deny legendary Toms River South coach Ken Frank career win No. 800 .
The Indians (8-4, 6-4) will try again to give Frank, New Jersey’s all-time winningiest coach, his 800th career win at 7 p.m. today when it hosts Bayonne, weather permitting. If that game is rained out, Toms River South will play at Brick on Tuesday.
The Rams (4-7, 2-7), who were the opponent when Frank recorded career win No. 600 in 2006 and his state-record 755th win in 2012, recorded what is probably one of their biggest wins in recent years.
Southern coach Tom Natoli was a right fielder for Toms River South on the Indians’ 1994 NJSIAA Group III state championship team.
Senior third baseman Nick Liantonio delivered one of the biggest hits in Southern’s recent history when he laced an 0-1 pitch to left for a three-run go-ahead double. Liantonio had been hit in the face by his own foul ball and was tended to by trainers for several minutes in his previous at-bat in the fifth. That was the only hit of the inning.
Two batters before Liantonio came up, Toms River South appeared poised to win the game when Vinnie Colecchia hit a ground ball to third with runners on first and second and two out.
However, the ball was misplayed for an error. Nick Sinapoli was then hit by a pitch to plate a run and make it 3-1.
A leadoff walk and a walk with one out had started the rally.
Jared Lubanski, who came on in relief in the sixth, retired the Indians on four batters in the bottom of the seventh.
Toms River South had built its lead on an RBI single off the wall in right-center by Spencer Kapp in the first. Ryan Shiffer then had an RBI single in the sixth and scored on a throwing error on the same play.
MANALAPAN 3, HOLMDEL 2: Senior right fielder Jon Strouse’s single in the bottom of the seventh scored Stephen Hansen with the winning run and capped a two-run rally as the No. 11 seed Braves defeated the No. 22 seed Hornets in a Monmouth County Tournament preliminary-round game.
Sophomore left fielder Chris Rodriguez led off the seventh with a double. Hansen, a sophomore center fielder, drove Rodriguez in with a single to tie the game. A sacrifice bunt by sophomore catcher Stephen Carbonara moved Hansen to second. Matt Parke was intentionally walked and Dan Russo’s infield single loaded the bases.
Manalapan will play at No. 6 seed Monmouth today in the round of 16.
MIDD. NORTH 8, MANASQUAN 5: Ryan Gocinski went 2-for-4 with two RBI and Mike Bartels had two RBI as the No. 15 seed Lions (4-5) defeated the No. 18 seed Warriors (4-7) in a Monmouth County Tournament prelimnary-round game.
Middletown North will play at No. 2 seed Shore today in the round of 16.
POINT BORO 2, PINELANDS 1: Frank Graziano’s run-scoring single in the bottom of the seventh gave the Panthers (5-5) the win over the Wildcats in a Class B South game.
Dan Gonella opened the seventh with a walk and Bill Feehan walked. Sebatian Severino laid down a sacrifice bunt and the Wildcats threw the ball down the right-field line for an error, scoring Gonella to tie the game. Ryan Doyle was intentionally walked to load the bases and Graziano followed with a line drive to center, scoring Feehan.
Sophomore Tim Rossi notched his first win of the season, tossing a five-hitter. He struck out six, walked none and allowed an earned run. Pinelands’ Mitch Merrill hit an RBI double in the fifth for a 1-0 lead. The Panthers’ Sam Monoco went 2-for-3, including a double, and stole one base.
OCEAN 8, NEPTUNE 2: Zack Godfrey keyed a four-run first inning with a two-run single, powering the visiting Spartans past the Scarlet Fliers in Class B North.
Teammates Andrew Macneille, Miles Moody, John Walsh and Jimmy McGrorry each stroked two hits. Macneill, McGrorry and Walsh each drove in one run.
RUMSON 10, SHORE 7: Morgan Maguire and Max Goione each stroked two hits and scored two runs for the Bulldogs in their Class A Central win over the visiting Blue Devils.
Rumson’s Billy Lyons hit an RBI triple and scored three runs. Maguire, Goione, Ken Ferrari and Matt Fahey stroked RBI hits as the Bulldogs took an 8-3 first-inning lead.
MONMOUTH 17, RARITAN 9: Dan Valerio hammered out four hits, including a triple, knocked in five runs and scored three, leading the host Falcons past the Rockets in Class A Central.
For Monmouth, John Bonczyk went 3-for-3, including a double, drove in two runs and scored two. Tim Reynolds hit two doubles in two at-bats and drove in three runs. Raritan’s Brandon Bentley spiced a 3-for-4 with a homer and a double and scored two runs. Tom Pulcine and Mike Lind added two hits each.
KEANSBURG 8, KEYPORT 3: Josh Heck tossed a six-hitter for the host Titans in their Class B Central win over the Red Raiders.
Heck (3-0) struck out five and walked two. He allowed two earned runs. Teammate Nick Thompson went 2-for-4, including a triple, drove in two runs and scored one. Keansburg’s Michael Keelan stroked two hits, including a double, in three at-bats and scored one run.
BARNEGAT 11, LAKEWOOD 2: Nick Fraim’s three-run triple in the bottom of the third propelled the Bengals past the Piners in Class B South.
Fraim connected to left-center for a 3-2 lead, keying a six-run outburst. Jared Kacso, Matt Owens and Conner Hoeler followed with RBI hits for a 6-2 lead. Barnegat freshman Aaron McLaughlin hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the fifth in his first varsity start. He went 2-for-4 on the day.
Winner John Corbett (2-0) allowed five hits and two earned runs in six innings. He struck out six and walked one.
CENTRAL 10, DONOVAN 0: Junior Anthony Arneth pitched his first career shutout, blanking the Griffins on three hits over six innings, striking out five and walking two for the Golden Eagles in their Class B South win.
Christian Bearden went 2-for-3, including a two-run homer in the first. Bearden plated three runs in the game. Frank Rose went 2-for-2, scored three runs and drove in one. Rich Galati went 2-for-3, scored three runs and stole one base. Andrew DiPiazza went 2-for-3 and scored two runs.
MATER DEI PREP 10, POINT BEACH 0: Sam Miles’ two-hitter through five innings led the Seraphs past the host Garnet Gulls in Class B Central.
Miles struck out two and walked one. Danny Poracky hit a two-run double in the fifth, keying a six-run explosion. Poracky and Jerry Trotta teamed for five hits and five RBI.
RED BANK 15, HOLMDEL 5: The host Bucs wiped out a 5-2 deficit with eight runs in the fifth in their non-divisional win over the Hornets.
The first run scored on a wild pitch. Ryan Santos followed with an RBI single. Another run scored on a wild pitch. An error plated two runs. Connor Kelly hit an RBI single and Jacob Nappi plated two runs with a one-bagger.
Kelly and Ryan Santos each knocked in two runs in the game. Red Bank’s Kyle Mulholland stroked three hits. Kelly, Nappi, Jesse Mack, Santos and Sha’Mere Williams each banged out two hits for Red Bank.
Holmdel’s D.J. Goings capped a three-run fourth with a two-run double.