SHS Looks For Consistency (Sentinal)

Posted by Glenn Fredricks on May 05 2010 at 05:00PM PDT

Spotswood looking for consistency

From an offensive statistical standpoint, the Spotswood High School baseball team should be near the top of the heap in the talent-rich Greater Middlesex Conference, certainly in a commanding position to win the Blue Division.

Take, for instance, shortstop Cody Pace, who has obliterated opposing pitchers to the tune of a .618 batting average with 21 hits, including 18 runs scored and an impressive six doubles. Then there’s sophomore second baseman Matt Mangaralla’s .391 average, senior outfielders Mikey Limig and Joe Cappa, who have hit for .419 and .370 averages, respectively, followed by senior first baseman Anthony Pietanza’s .341 average.

But statistics reveal only part of the story because the Chargers were 7-7 and 4-5 in the Blue Division before they took the field against Middlesex in their final regular-season division game Tuesday. Tonight, Spotswood and East Brunswick will be showcased at the Trenton Thunder’s Waterfront Park. That game takes on added significance since it could mean the difference between qualifying and being denied a berth in the Central Jersey Group II Tournament. Teams need to be at .500 or better by tomorrow to make the cut. Seeding for the conference tournament, which begins Saturday, will be announced this week.

“We’ve been on a roller-coaster ride since opening day” concedes Spotswood coach Glenn Fredricks. “We’ve had excellent contributions from some of the players we thought would come through, but some of the role players haven’t done as well. We need to achieve a level of play that enables us to win more games.”

Winning is something that has been the norm at Spotswood, especially under Fredricks’ tenure, which is in its sixth year. Remove last season’s 12-13 record, and you’d have to go back to 1993 when Spotswood last finished beneath .500. Fredricks had expressed confidence this year’s team could bounce back, but that hasn’t been the case — at least not yet.

Perhaps the reasons for the Chargers’ shortcomings aren’t really a mystery if you examine the pitching experience. Aside from senior Jeff Coy, who has a 1-2 record with a 5.83 earned run average, the arms are made up primarily with youngsters. There is sophomore Anthony Berg, who is 1-1 with a 2.72 ERA, another sophomore, Chris Stout, who is 1-3 with a 5.85 ERA, and freshman Kevin Martin, who is 2-0 with a 3.59 ERA.

Pace has also sees mound action and has a 2-1 record, but Fredricks is quick to point out that his captain made a personal sacrifice this spring by becoming a starter after an outstanding 2009 as a closer.

“He has the demeanor of a closer and was not meant to start,” Fredricks said, “But we needed his experience there, so this is just another example of the dedication he has for his teammates.”

What the Spotswood coach hopes to see in the remaining games is that the experience gained will enable the team to “fill in the gray areas,” as he says.

“We’ve come up just a little short in some games,” he maintains. “We could easily be 11-3 instead of at .500. We have the tournaments, and then those who return next year will focus on the GMC Summer League. Hopefully, the experience the younger players are getting will help us in the future.”


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