2010 GMC BLUE DIVISION PREVIEW
Coach: Scott Runkel, 27th season (348-207).
Last year: 18-2, 10-0 Blue (first).
Returning players: Dario Santangelo (Sr., 2B/OF/P), Joe Post (Sr., SS/P), Nick McConnell (Sr., C).
Newcomers: Chris Godowski (Sr., 1B/P), Kyle Harsh (Sr., OF/C), Rob Meade (Sr., OF), Keith McGrath (Sr., P), Dean Zonkowski (Sr., INF), Brian Bobal (Jr., 3B/P), Ryan Hagerty (Jr., OF), Christian Ludwig (Jr., OF), Dom Mangarello (Jr., C/3B), Rob Pepe (Jr., 2B), Tyler Rossiter (Jr., P), Cody Ster (Jr., 3B/OF), Pat Widdoss (Jr., 1B), Tim Hagerty (So., OF), Dan Labella (So., INF/OF).
Outlook: No GMC team might have been hit harder by graduation. The Trojans lost eight players who appeared in at least 17 games and combined for 113 hits. Santangelo (8-2, 2.00 ERA), headed to East Carolina University on a partial baseball scholarship, struck out 64 batters in 49 innings. The Blue Division Player of the Year, Santangelo also batted .377 with 26 RBIs and nine extra-base hits. Post (.427) led the team in hits (29), runs scored (32) and had 12 extra-base hits from the leadoff spot including four homers. McConnell, who batted .325 with 16 RBIs as a designated hitter, moves to catcher. Post will compete for the No. 2 spot in the rotation with Rossiter, the top the top pitcher on the junior varsity last spring. The Trojans will be in every game Santangelo pitches but will need more depth on the mound to repeat as division champs. Mangarello, a transfer from Immaculata, will make an impact once he becomes eligible May 1.
Coach: Rich McGlynn, fourth season (26-60).
Last year: 4-15, 0-10 Blue (sixth).
Returning players: Mike Ryan (Sr., 1B/P), Jason Potts (So., 1B/2B), Patrick Ambrosio (So., C), Nick Bay (So., 2B/3B), Louis Middleton (Sr., CF), Amir Mohammed (Jr., 3B/P).
Newcomers: Angelo Odato (Fr., SS), Quatray Nesmith (Fr., OF), James Webb (Fr., OF/P), Gavi Riechman (So., OF), Anthony Lanni (So., P).
Outlook: Despite returning six letterwinners, the Owls are young with just two seniors on the roster. One of them, Ryan, a four-year starter, led the club with a .338 batting average in 2009. Potts (.351), Middleton (.287) and Mohammed (.263) are the other top returning hitters. With six sophomores and three promising freshmen, the future, according to McGlynn, looks bright.
Coach: Sean Economou, ninth season.
Last year: 13-14, 6-4 Blue (third).
Returning players: James Warren (Sr., 3B/P), Kevin Gazzale (Sr., 2B/3B/OF), Scott Walters (Sr., OF/P), Zach Shampain (Jr., OF/C), Dom Parrinello (Jr., OF/P), Anthony Tagliaboschi (Jr., P), Anthony Feltre (So., SS).
Newcomers: Ben Capriotti (Sr., OF), Matt Walters (Jr., INF), Ryan Salmon (Jr., 1B), Jake Freed (Jr., 2B), Timmy Redshaw (So., C), Jonathan Petrakakos (So., 2B/3B), Stephen Fortuna (So., P), Mike Hronich (Fr., C).
Outlook: This could be considered somewhat of a rebuilding year for the Bulldogs, who graduated eight seniors including No. 1 pitcher Chris Mosca (7-3, 1.54) and six defensive starters. Of the seven returning players, only Warren and Feltre played all of last season with the varsity. Warren (.367), who has been a three-sport starter (football, basketball and baseball) the past two years, had a solid junior season. He will pitch, play the corner infield spots and some outfield. Feltre (.403, 15 RBIs, 23 runs) had an outstanding freshman season, leading Metuchen in almost every offensive category. Feltre will start again at shortstop and could see some time at second base, but only after taking the mound (if Economou decides to use him as a pitcher). Only two other returners had more than 10 at-bats last season. Shampain (.261), who was brought up to the varsity after the first few weeks of last season, saw time as a DH and outfielder. Parrinello (.400), who was brought up to the varsity for the last few weeks, saw time in the outfield.
Coach: Mike O'Donnell, fourth season (38-34).
Last year: 12-12, 4-6 Blue (fourth).
Returning players: Mike Passanante (Jr., CF), Jordan Carter (Sr., LF), Kevin Olah (Sr., SS), Steve Hegge (Sr., C/P), Adam Wells (Sr., C/P), Devin Sarao (Jr., P/1B), Ray Lang (Jr., 3B/P).
Newcomers: Pete Chatzopolous (Sr., P), Connor Gleeson (Sr., P), Chris Winkleman (Jr., 2B), Tyler Piazzola (Jr., C), Chris Petiya (So., 1B), Kyle Dotey (Fr., C/P), Tommy Marcinczyk (Fr., OF/P).
Outlook: The Blue Jays, who had an unsightly 5.52 team ERA, graduated most of their pitchers including ace C.J. Myers. Wells, Lang and Hegge combined to hurl nine innings a year ago. Sarao (1-2, 6.20 ERA) is the lone returner with significant varsity experience (14 innings). Offense — the Blue Jays batted .323 as a team — kept Middlesex in games. Three key weapons — Mike Perrone (.375), Pete Donhauser (.333) and Blaze Iannetti (.320) — are gone. Carter, who signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Palm Beach Atlantic, where MLB Hall of Famer Gary Carter is the head coach, returns his .432 average. He led the club with five homers and 30 RBI. Olah (.424, 24 RBIs, 2 HR) and Passanante (.338, 14 RBIs, 23 runs) are also excellent hitters. If the young pitching matures quickly, Middlesex could be dangerous.
Coach: Michael Lepore Jr., 13th season (114-159).
Last year: 11-11, 3-7 Blue (fifth).
Returning players: Maxx Johnson (Sr., INF), Matt Kosko (Sr., C), Ed Tompkins (Sr., SS), David Rondesko (Jr., INF/P), Dylan Griebell (Jr., 2B), Nick Boyler (Jr., 1B/P), Tim Huff (Jr., INF/OF), Craig Huff (Jr., CF).
Newcomers: Dylan Hayes (So., INF/P), Brennan Mahoney (Jr., INF), James Vacchio (Jr., OF/P), Keith Szkodny (Sr., OF), Gary Clemente (So., OF), Richie Gomez (So., OF).
Outlook: The Rams finished strong last season, winning eight of their last 10 games. With eight position players returning, expect South River to battle for third place in the division and possibly upset front-runners Spotswood and Bishop Ahr. Whenever Rondesko takes the mound, the Rams are tough to beat. Johnson (.358, 18 RBIs, 28 runs) is among the division's top hitters, along with Rondesko (.449, 24 RBIs, 26 runs) and Huff (.328). Tompkins, Boyler and Kosko all batted .250 last spring. Griebell is one of the division's most improved players.
Coach: Glenn Fredricks, sixth season (89-40).
Last year: 12-13, 8-2 Blue (second).
Returning players: Cody Pace (Sr., SS/P), Mike Liming (Sr., OF), John Relay (Sr., OF), Shawn Weeks (Jr., C), Matt Mangarella (So., 2B), Dean Vitale (So., 3B), Jeff Coy (Sr., P), Ken Langfeld (Jr., P), Anthony Berg (So., P), Chris Stout (So., P).
Newcomers: Anthony Pietanza (Sr., 1B), Joe Cappa (Sr., OF), Miles Firestine (Sr., OF), Peter Mehr (Jr., OF), Ron Santana (So., OF/C).
Outlook: Spotswood is looking to rebound from its first losing season since 1993. The Chargers return all but two starters from a squad which saw four freshmen receive significant playing time. Pace (.377, 20 RBIs, 30 runs) served as the closer a year ago but is now its No. 1 starter. He is nine hits shy of 100 for his career. Weeks (.264, 13 RBIs) is a three-year starter behind the plate. Pietanza will compete to fill the lone hole in the infield. Stout and Berg were impressive on the hill last year despite their combined 1-3 record. The bats of outfielder Joe Petosa (.355, 21 RBIs, 28 runs) and first baseman Bryan Smith (.316, 31 RBIs, 9 HR) will be missed. A brutal nonconference schedule including Hunterdon Central, Immaculata and North Hunterdon will prepare the Chargers well for division play.