News and Announcements

By PAUL FRANKLIN STAFF WRITER NEW EGYPT — Spotswood High School came up with baseball's trifecta Tuesday afternoon with hitting, pitching and defense. Now the Chargers go for the superfecta. Throwing a 13-2 five-inning knockout punch at Sterling in the NJSIAA Group II semifinals, the Chargers now look to run the postseason table by winning the group finals on Saturday against Indian Hills, an 8-4 winner over Hackettstown Tuesday. They have won the Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division, the GMC Tournament title, the sectional title, and now have a chance to win it all in Group II. Their ultimate goal didn't look too encouraging at the start of the game, however. As home team on the New Egypt High School scoreboard, the blue and gray Knights grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning, tagging Spotswood pitcher Mike Hohman with a single and double. After an error left runners on first and third with a run already in, Hohman got out of the jam with a doubleplay ball to shortstop Cody Pace, who stepped on second and fired to first base. From then on, it was all Spotswood. "He did a great job with damage control," Spotswood coach Glenn Fredricks said of his senior pitcher. "He's been all guts this season. Nobody panicked, and that's why we're a championship team." Championship teams take advantage of opportunities, and Spotswood was all ready when the windows opened. Two walks and a misplayed fly ball to the outfield loaded the bases to start the Spotswood second inning. A walk to Brian Cucci tied the score, and then Hohman helped his own cause by walking as well, giving his team a 2-1 lead. Catcher Tony Addone then stepped to the plate, knowing that pitcher Jeff White had to start throwing strikes. He did. And Addone cranked it, a no-doubt-about-it shuttle into the trees behind the fence in right center. It was his fourth of the season. With Hohman settling into a groove, the game was soon on a five-inning track, as Spotswood continued to take advantage of opportunities. "That felt good,"Hohman said of the 6-1 lead. "I knew my team had my back." In the third inning, a two-out throwing error by the third baseman opened the door to four unearned runs. C.J. Mooney scored on the error, then after Hohman walked, Addone smacked a 3-2 pitch to right field for a two-run double. Another error plated Addone, then Hohman came in on a single by Joe Petosa. "I'm so happy for him," Fredricks said of Addone, the senior catcher. "He got the game ball. He had two fantastic at-bats." With the score 10-1 in the third inning, the Chargers were charging toward an early day with a chance at ending it all on the 10—run rule. Relief pitcher Collin McGowan was anything but sterling, issuing a leadoff walk (Spotswood had seven) to Mooney. Phil Spina, batting seventh in the order, then sent a high fly ball to right field. Aided by just enough wind, the senior recorded the first home run of his high school career. "He was probably thinking I was the No. 7 batter and that I (stunk)," Spina cracked about the Sterling pitcher. "It feels pretty amazing." So was the victory, Spotswood's 25th in 29 games and its eighth straight. "We're on the doorstep of achieving our goal of the superfecta," Fredricks said, his team in the background still enjoying the moment. "Every single person in that dugout believes we'll get it, and so do I."
DIRECTIONS TO NEW EGYPT HS: Rt. 18 South to RT 9 south for 8.5 miles. Take ramp for Freehold Rt. 537/W. Main St. Take the right for Rt. 537. Take 537 out for 17.3 miles and make a left onto Evergreen Rd. New Egypt HS is .7 miles on your left. -OR- TAKE TURNPIKE SOUTH TO EXIT 7A. TAKE 195 EAST TO EXIT 7 (ALLENTOWN). BEAR RIGHT OFF RAMP TO TOWN. AT STOP SIGN TAKE A RIGHT ONTO RT 526 (PHARMACY ON CORNER). TAKE 1ST LEFT ONTO RT 539. AT 1ST LIGHT TAKE A RIGHT ONTO RT 537. CONTINUE TO TRAFFIC LIGHT AND TURN LEFT ONTO EVERGREEN RD. NEW EGYPT HS IS 1 MILE DOWN ON THE LEFT. FIELD IS IN THE BACK.
Post Author Picture


Posted by Glenn Fredricks at Jun 3, 2007 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

Home News Tribune Online 06/3/07

EAST BRUNSWICK — Willie Beard's fastball had plenty of pop and his curve was breaking sharply as he warmed up prior to Saturday's Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament final.

But by the time the senior right-hander, who had surrendered just one hit in 14 previous GMCT innings, took the mound at East Brunswick Tech, his heater was flat and his deuce was hanging.

"When I was warming up in the bullpen it seemed like I was throwing all right," Beard said. "When I came out on the mound I didn't feel bad, but it just wasn't there. My curveball wasn't getting over at first and my fastball started to slow down."

Pitching on three days rest for the first time all season, Beard threw 136 pitches and got some much-needed offensive support from his teammates while gutting out a 7-6 victory over J.P. Stevens that carred the top-seeded Spotswood High School baseball team to its first GMCT championship.

The milestone came less than 24 hours after the Chargers claimed their first sectional title — a Central Group II crown — with a 1-0 victory over Somerville. In between championships, every starter on the team, except Beard and freshman shortstop Cody Pace, attended Spotswood's Senior Prom on Friday night.

"It's been unreal," Spotswood coach Glenn Fredricks said. "It took 30 years to get here and we won a sectional and a county title within a 24-hour span. Plus, they had to do a little dancing (in between)."

The Chargers, who ran themselves out of two potential rallies earlier in the game, finally remembered how to dance around the bases when they sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run, fifth-inning rally. The outburst erased a 3-1 deficit and chased Hawks ace Doug Wislinski.

J.P. Stevens coach Dave Marzano contemplated pulling Wislinski (6-4) before the damage was done, but the fifth-year mentor had seen his senior right-hander escape jams so many times before, he was just waiting for him to perform another Houdini act.

"I thought about it," Marzano said of pulling Wislinski, who left the game after throwing 100 pitches. "Doug's been able to work out of jams throughout the season and I had a lot of confidence that he would be able to get us out of this one."

While the Hawks had played long ball to build their 3-1 lead — a two-run homer from John Stillitano in the third and a solo blast from Anthony Montalbano in the fifth — Spotswood chipped away for all of its runs.

"As long as we stayed patient, like we always do, the second or third time around (the order) I knew we were going to get to him," Fredricks said, "and this time it just happened to be the third time around. We are the kind of club that just waits for the big inning and that's what happened today."

The Chargers (24-4) strung together three straight singles to take a 1-0 lead in the second. They parlayed five singles and four walks into their six-run rally for a 7-3 lead. Designated hitter Mike Collins' two-run single snapped a 3-3 tie. Spina's second RBI single of the game and Brian Curci's bases-loaded walk off reliever Connor Medler produced two paramount insurance runs. Medler worked out of the bind with a 5-2-3 double play.

J.P. Stevens rallied in the seventh, loading the bases with one away before Brad Newman closed the gap to 7-4 on a run-scoring fielder's choice groundout. Mike Zinno followed with a two-run single as the Hawks closed to 7-6. With Zinno on first and two away, Dan Belowich struck out looking on three straight pitches, including Beard's 136th of the game, as the Spotswood ace was finally able to escape the jam.

"I'm sure pitching on three days rest affected me but I'm not going to make an excuse like that," said Beard, who improved to 11-1 and was named Tournament MVP with his third straight GMCT victory. "My stuff just wasn't there today and I had to battle through. The team just backed me up. They were awesome."

Beard, who will attend Rutgers University on a baseball scholarship, fanned seven to surpass South Amboy's Brian Seres as the GMC's leader with 107 strikeouts on the season. He scattered eight hits, walked three and hit a batter.

"To look up at Willie in the second inning knowing that he didn't have his stuff, I still know that it was Willie on the mound," Fredricks said, "and no matter how many runs he was going to give up, we were going to score more. He didn't have his good fastball and he didn't have any of his breaking stuff, but that's the kind of player Willie is. He's going to gut it out and make sure this team wins."

Jesse Sattler went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored for the 11th-seeded Hawks (14-12), whose bottom of the order let them down. J.P. Stevens' last three hitters went a combined 0-for-9 with five strikeouts.

Spotswood (24-4), which had six different players score at least one run, will play Sterling in the state Group II semifinals 4 p.m. Tuesday at New Egypt High School. imageimage
Post Author Picture


Posted by Glenn Fredricks at Jun 1, 2007 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
SPOTSWOOD GUTS OUT SECTIONAL CROWN By KEVIN WRIGHT STAFF WRITER BRANCHBURG — The second-seeded Spotswood High School baseball team rode the right arm of senior stopper Mike Hohman to a 1-0 victory over top-seeded Somerville in Friday's NJSIAA Central Group II final at White Oak Park. The Chargers, who improved to 23-4, will face Sterling in the state Group II semifinal at New Egypt High School on Tuesday at 4 p.m. "It was a well-played game on both sides," Somerville coach Rick Sabol said. "Defensively, both teams were great. That was a sectional final-quality game. That was two great teams today." Four times the Pioneers put multiple runners on base in an inning, and four times the Pioneers failed to score. The lack of timely hitting spoiled the effort by Somerville ace Nick McNamara, who limited Spotswood to four hits while walking none. He retired the first 10 batters he faced, keeping the Spotswood hitters off balance all day with an array of curveballs and change-ups. The Monmouth-bound McNamara finished with six strikeouts and only faced one batter over the minimum. "He pitched a great game," Sabol said. "He only allowed four baserunners all game. He left his heart out there today." The game's only run was unearned and came in the top of the fourth. With one out, Spotswood catcher Anthony Addone singled and moved to second on a passed ball. McNamara then struck out third baseman John Michael Berner for the second out of the inning. With two strikes on cleanup hitter Joe Petosa, McNamara spun and attempted a pickoff at second. His throw bounced off Addone's helmet and into center field, allowing Addone to move to third. Petosa hit a hard ground ball on the next pitch that glanced off McNamara's arm. The left-hander could not recover in time to get Petosa at first, allowing Addone to score. After the game, Sabol talked about the pickoff play. "A lot of guys have been running on Nick from second base," Sabol said. "We had decided that when the first guy got to second we were gonna show him we could keep him close. He kind of forced the throw and it got away." Somerville threatened to score in the first two innings, putting men on first and second each time. Right fielder Len Rutledge grounded into a double play to end the threat in the first. In the second, designated hitter Brian Marone lined a one-out single to right field. Joe Petosa charged the ball and came up firing, nailing Somerville first baseman Mike Mottes at the plate. Marone tried to take second on the throw home but was gunned down for the final out of the inning. " "There was no hesitation there," Sabol said about sending the runner home. "The guy had to make a perfect throw, and he did." Hohman hung tough after the rough start and settled down after the first two innings, retiring the next eight batters he faced. "Mikey Hohman is 100 percent guts," Spotswood coach Glenn Fredricks said. "He's a gamer, and I knew when I saw the look on his face in school today that he was not gonna let this team lose." The Pioneers mounted one final rally in the bottom of the seventh. After consecutive singles and a ground out, Somerville had runners on the corners with two outs. Fredricks went out to the mound to gather his team. "We talked some strategy — first-and-third situations," Fredricks said. "Then I told him we had the matchup we wanted at the plate, and it relaxed him a little. Then Mike took the ball and made the pitches." Hohman got Dan Reynolds to fly out to left field to end the threat and the game. imageimage
Post Author Picture


Posted by Glenn Fredricks at Jun 1, 2007 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
"Little" Spotswood looks to make big name for itself Home News Tribune Online 06/2/07 By GREG TUFARO STAFF WRITER No matter how successful the Spotswood High School baseball program has been over the past decade, the Chargers still have trouble gaining respect from the rest of the Greater Middlesex Conference. "Our kids are tired of taking back seats to bigger programs that have been in these bigger games before," said Spotswood coach Glenn Fredricks, who leads his team into today's 3 p.m. conference tournament final against J.P. Stevens at East Brunswick Tech. "Our kids use it as motivation when they hear, "You are just a Group II school,' or when they hear, "You play in the (Blue) Division.' These kids see it as baseball. They don't see it as, "Oh, you're a Red Division team.' They are not star-struck like some teams may be. "Another thing that drives this team is they want to be considered one of the top programs, and it doesn't matter what people say about them, it doesn't matter who they are playing against. They are just here to play ball, have fun and win." Regardless of the outcome of today's game, the top-seeded Chargers (22-4), who played arguably the most difficult schedule in the conference, have already proved in the minds of many that they are the league's best team. With Rutgers University-bound ace Willie Beard (10-1, 1.76), who will get the start today, and senior right-hander Mike Hohman (6-1, 2.07), the Chargers have the GMC's best 1-2 starting combination. The duo has combined to surrender just one run in three conference tournament games. From top to bottom, the Chargers do not have a weak stick in the lineup. Spotswood boasts a .374 team batting average with eight regulars hitting .329 or better. Fredricks' players do all of the little things right offensively and defensively. His teams are notoriously aggressive on the base paths, manufacturing runs rather than waiting for good things to happen. And if the coach wants to manage like Earl Weaver, he has plenty of players who can deliver the three-run homer (five starters have belted two or more round trippers this year). Spotswood has appeared in the GMCT semifinals four times in the past seven years and last reached the tournament final in 2001, suffering a 4-1 loss to Edison. This year's team may be the most special in school history. The addition of freshman shortstop Cody Pace helped shape Spotswood into a championship caliber club. His presence enabled Hohman to remain at his natural position — second base — where he is arguably the county's finest defensively, rather than make the switch to the left side of the infield. Fredricks described Pace as a "future superstar." First baseman C.J. Mooney, quarterback of the football team, personifies the team's never-say-die attitude. Left fielder Brian Curci is a gutsy player who wants to win as badly as anybody on the team. Designated hitter Mike Collins is an unsung hero who has served as the bridge between the top and bottom of the lineup. Third baseman John Michael Berner, according to Fredricks, "bleeds blue and gold. All he ever wanted to do was play baseball for this program." Berner has emerged as one of the league's top power hitters (six homers and 28 RBI). Center fielder Phil Spina, in Fredricks' opinion, is as good defensively as any outfielder in the league. Spina has raised his batting average more than 200 points from a year ago. Fredricks described right fielder Joey Petosa, who switched from center field for the good of the team, as the "most unheralded player in the county." "He can do it all with the bat," Fredricks said. "He hits for power, average. He does everything right at the plate and in the field." Petosa, it seems, epitomizes Spotswood baseball. image