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Dzuro GMC's hottest hitter
Published in the Home News Tribune 04/16/05 -
By GREG TUFARO STAFF WRITER
The toughest player to get out in the Greater Middlesex Conference this season has been Spotswood outfielder Brian Dzuro. A senior left fielder, Dzuro hit safely in 11 consecutive at-bats and leads the GMC with an .813 batting average. With six doubles and two homers, he boasts a 1.563 slugging percentage. Incredibly, Dzuro has been so hot that his batting average exceeds his on-base percentage. Despite walking six times and getting hit by a pitch, Dzuro only owns an .800 on-base percentage. Dzuro's two sacrifice flies on the year actually hurt his numbers in that department.
At any rate, Dzuro was perfect at the plate against Woodbridge, Dunellen and Middlesex. He went 3-for-4 against Colonia and 2-for-3 against Metuchen. He homered twice against Highland Park. He leads Spotswood with 12 RBI. For his efforts, Dzuro has been named the Home News Tribune Boy Athlete of the Week.
"I want to call him unheralded," Spotswood coach Glenn Fredricks said. "He is the kind of kid who just shuts his mouth, goes out and does his business. At the end of the day you look up and he's 3-for-4 every game."
As an assistant at New Brunswick last season, Fredricks coached against Dzuro. Fredricks said he and the New Brunswick staff determined that Dzuro was prone to chasing the high fastball. Fredricks said his leading hitter is now able to lay off the high heat. "He doesn't do that anymore," Fredricks said. "Now he's got a legitimate approach every time he steps to the plate. He will not chase that pitch out of the zone."
Dzuro was the third best returning hitter in the Blue Division this season and the 10th best returning hitter in the GMC. A year ago he batted .424. But Dzuro isn't all about hitting. "On that side of the field, as a pure left fielder, I haven't seen anybody better," Fredricks said. "His niche is left field and he's getting really good at it. He's good at cutting the ball off down the line, chasing balls in the gap and very rarely, if ever, does he miss the cutoff man." Dzuro has an outfield assist, throwing a runner out at the plate earlier this season. "He's become versed in all aspects of the game," Fredricks said.
"He's made it a point to become a complete baseball player."
Dzuro hopes to play at Ramapo University next spring.
BY GREG TUFARO COMPLIMENTS OF THE HOME NEWS TRIBUNE About a mile of Summerhill Road separates East Brunswick and Spotswood high schools. Players from both institutions combined to form the Milltown Senior American Legion team that finished fourth in last summer's state tournament. While several starters from that squad graduated, the bulk returned to their respective high school programs this spring. As a result, some of the best baseball in Middlesex County is being played within that one-mile stretch of Summerhill Road. Nobody knows that better than first-year Spotswood mentor Glenn Fredricks, who coached the Milltown Legion team to a 25-5 record and whose Chargers got off to a 5-1 start following Wednesday's 9-6 victory over Colonia. "You could tell by the way the early season is going, between us and EB, that the balance of power has really shifted to southern Middlesex County," Fredricks said. "The way that we are handling ourselves on Summerhill Road, both towns have a lot of reason to be proud." East Brunswick (5-1) is ranked No. 1 in the Home News Tribune Top 10 and Spotswood is ranked sixth. The teams opened the year with a combined 10-2 record. The Chargers' lone defeat was an 8-7 setback to Woodbridge in which they squandered a six-run lead late in the game. Apparently, Spotswood does not know how to handle prosperity. Fredricks' club seems to perform better when coming from behind. In four of their five victories, the Chargers trailed in the first inning by a combined 7-0 score. Each of those runners who crossed home plate reached safely via walk or error. Fredricks put an end to his pitchers issuing first-inning free passes by having them throw a simulated inning in the bullpen before taking the mound for a game. The move worked as opponents failed to receive first-inning walks in Spotswood's last two outings. "If we keep our walk totals down," Fredricks said, "we win comfortably." Spotswood has outscored opponents 73-32 or by an average of 6.8 runs per game. The sixth has proved to be a huge inning for the Chargers, who combined to score 22 runs during that frame in mercy-rule wins over Highland Park and Dunellen. Strangely, Spotswood relievers actually earned saves in those 21-5 and 16-6 victories. The Chargers are batting .398 as a team with Brian Dzuro (.813), John Dubovick (.500), Mike Hohman (.450) and Steve Abbott (.417) leading the way. Twenty-one of the team's 68 hits have gone for extra bases.
NOTEBOOK Guvs' blowout win has repercussions Published in the Home News Tribune 04/16/05 by GREG TUFARO Baseball The final score of Tuesday's Greater Middlesex Conference Gold Division game between South Amboy and St. Peter raised more than a few eyebrows. The Governors, who have White Division talent, rolled to a 44-3 mercy-rule victory that some in the GMC community believed to be unsportsmanlike. "I want to publicly apologize to the players, coaches and administration of St. Peter High School for our unsportsmanlike actions," South Amboy Athletics Director Gene Mosley said. "As for South Amboy, what we have is a ruptured reputation. I'm hopeful that we as a district have the courage to take the steps necessary to ensure that this never happens again and begin the long process of restoring our integrity." After rallying for 17 runs in the second inning, South Amboy owned a 23-0 lead. Coach George Krzyzanowski, who had 10 varsity players and no junior-varsity squad available that day, said he was not trying to run up the score. "I had nobody to put in as subs," he said. "In baseball, I can't tell a kid not to hit. We went up to hit and guys were hitting the ball. I had no control of the outcome." South Amboy scored nine more times in the third and 12 more times in the fourth to produce the final margin. Nobody would ever suggest that the Governors should intentionally get themselves picked off first, steal home without taking a lead or remove their helmets while running the bases (which is against the rules) to make easy outs. There are, however, less conspicuous ways to make the outcome more respectable. Asked if he told his players to bat from the opposite side of the plate or encouraged them to work on fundamentals, such as hitting the ball to the opposite field or out of a two-strike count, Krzyzanowski said, "I never thought about it. "Everything was just happening so quickly. Sometimes you just don't know how to react. I spoke to the coach afterward. He was not offended." St. Peter coach Jorge Diaz, indeed, said he did not feel as though the Governors were intentionally trying to run up the score. Regardless, a 41-run drubbing violates the spirit of competition at any level, especially in high school baseball. The players, however, should not be faulted for the lopsided outcome. This is a terrific group of kids who can compete against any GMC team, as evidenced by their 2-1 loss to J.P. Stevens in last year's conference tournament. Sophomores Joe Magnifico, Joe Bartlinski and Brian Seres form a pitching rotation that may be as strong as any in the league. Quite simply, South Amboy has talent that the Gold Division hasn't seen in a number of years, if ever. Realizing that, Mosley beefed up the school's schedule. The Governors are playing the likes of Piscataway and Woodbridge this season. St. Peter is as classy as South Amboy is talented. The Cardinals have captured the attention and received the respect of seemingly every GMC coach for their dedication to the game and their resiliency. The Cardinals continue to play for the love of the game, regardless of the outcome. For that, they are to be applauded. SPOTSWOOD FULLY CHARGED: About a mile of Summerhill Road separates East Brunswick and Spotswood high schools. Players from both institutions combined to form the Milltown Senior American Legion team that finished fourth in last summer's state tournament. While several starters from that squad graduated, the bulk returned to their respective high school programs this spring. As a result, some of the best baseball in Middlesex County is being played within that one-mile stretch of Summerhill Road. Nobody knows that better than first-year Spotswood mentor Glenn Fredricks, who coached the Milltown Legion team to a 25-5 record and whose Chargers got off to a 5-1 start following Wednesday's 9-6 victory over Colonia. "You could tell by the way the early season is going, between us and EB, that the balance of power has really shifted to southern Middlesex County," Fredricks said. "The way that we are handling ourselves on Summerhill Road, both towns have a lot of reason to be proud." East Brunswick (5-1) is ranked No. 1 in the Home News Tribune Top 10 and Spotswood is ranked sixth. The teams opened the year with a combined 10-2 record. The Chargers' lone defeat was an 8-7 setback to Woodbridge in which they squandered a six-run lead late in the game. Apparently, Spotswood does not know how to handle prosperity. Fredricks' club seems to perform better when coming from behind. In four of their five victories, the Chargers trailed in the first inning by a combined 7-0 score. Each of those runners who crossed home plate reached safely via walk or error. Fredricks put an end to his pitchers issuing first-inning free passes by having them throw a simulated inning in the bullpen before taking the mound for a game. The move worked as opponents failed to receive first-inning walks in Spotswood's last two outings. "If we keep our walk totals down," Fredricks said, "we win comfortably." Spotswood has outscored opponents 73-32 or by an average of 6.8 runs per game. The sixth has proved to be a huge inning for the Chargers, who combined to score 22 runs during that frame in mercy-rule wins over Highland Park and Dunellen. Strangely, Spotswood relievers actually earned saves in those 21-5 and 16-6 victories. The Chargers are batting .398 as a team with Brian Dzuro (.813), John Dubovick (.500), Mike Hohman (.450) and Steve Abbott (.417) leading the way. Twenty-one of the team's 68 hits have gone for extra bases. Spotswood compiled a 6-0 mark in the preseason, defeating St. Joseph, Carteret and Immaculata along the way. FALCONS STILL FLYING HIGH: No GMC Red Division team, other than Edison, may have lost more to graduation than St. Joseph. Despite losing so many players, the Falcons are off to a terrific start. St. Joseph has been led by the pitching and hitting of junior Matt Owens and junior Dan Rizzolo. As a pitcher, Owens owns a 2-0 record and a 2.99 ERA. He outdueled South Brunswick ace Travis Smart in a 4-3 victory on Monday. At the plate, Owens is St. Joseph's second-leading hitter with a .444 average, including a home run. He had the game-winning RBI against the Vikings with a two-out hit. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-hander throws fairly hard, but is most successful when he can get his curveball over for strikes. "We had plans to pitch Matty last year on the varsity," St. Joseph coach Lou Urbano said, "but we just couldn't ever get him in because of all the senior pitching we had. But we've had our eye on him since freshman year. He's starting to pitch with confidence now." Rizzolo, who plays left field and bats third, wasn't on anybody's radar at the start of the year. All he's done thus far is bat .409 with a homer, two doubles and a team-leading 10 RBI and 11 runs scored. "No one relaly knows about him," said Urbano, who moved Harry Douglas to the leadoff spot so that Rizzolo could bat third. "I put this kid there because he's just been tearing the cover off the ball and knocking in a lot of runs for us." In addition, Rizzolo may be the fastest player in Urbano's lineup. ONE-RUN FUN: In yet another sign of the league's incredible parity, GMC teams have already played a total of 27 one-run games this season (please see accompanying chart). A dozen of those one-run contests were played in the Red Division. Edison has been involved in five one-run affairs this season, winning every single one of them. Coach Vin Abene hopes living on the edge will pay off down the road. "We are building some character for later in the year," he said. THAT'S GOTTA HURT: After getting hit by a curveball in a game against Old Bridge Tuesday, Sayreville center fielder Ed Goldmann was not allowed to take first base because the plate umpire felt he made no effort to get out of the way. On the ensuing pitch, Goldmann was drilled by a fastball. Again, he was not allowed to take first base because the plate umpire felt he still made no effort to avoid being hit. "I've never seen anything like that," Sayreville coach Mike Novak said. After working the count full, Goldmann reached first safely, and less painfully, on a bloop single. GMC'S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The GMC's best-kept secret may be Monroe pitcher Scott Basarab, a rubber-armed right-hander who will play at Monmouth University next year and doesn't get the credit he deserves. Basarab led the Falcons to a 7-2 victory over Sayreville on Thursday. His shutout was spoiled by Goldmann's two-run, seventh-inning homer. Behind Basarab, who has thrown 26 of Monroe's 42 innings, the Falcons are off to a 3-3 start. Basarab throws a fastball, curveball, slider and knuckleball. He learned the latter from his uncle, Barney Shultz, a former major-league pitcher who compiled a 3.63 ERA in seven seasons with St. Louis, Detroit and the Cubs. Basarab said he learned the rest of his pitches from his father, who played in the Baltimore Orioles organization.
BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer for the Sentinel While the high school baseball season is still young, it appears to be safe to say that the Spotswood Chargers know how to score runs. Thus far, head coach Glenn Fredricks’ squad has plated 63 runs in five games — more than enough to propel them to a 4-1 start, and 3-0 in the Greater Middlesex Conference’s Blue Division. In the process, the Chargers have beaten up on the likes of Highland Park (21-5), Dunellen (16-6) and Middlesex (13-3), while also posting a 6-2 win over a solid Metuchen team. And if you ask Fredricks, Spotswood should really have been 5-0 heading into yesterday’s game against third-ranked Colonia. “We were beating Woodbridge 7-1 with six outs to go, and they came back and beat us 8-7,” the coach said. Fredricks, a former assistant at New Brunswick and Immaculata and the head coach of the Milltown American Legion team that finished fourth in the state last year, has taken over for Bill Toncic, who stepped down as coach after a five-year run that saw the Chargers go 82-38. And the new coach has inherited a rebuilding team looking to defend back-to-back Blue Division championships. Spotswood lost three all-conference players to graduation in catcher Gene Scheicher and third baseman James Corbett, both of whom have moved on to play Division III football, as well as Eric Hines, one of the top pitchers in the state last year. Hines is the ace of the staff at Caldwell College now, and is off to a 2-0 start — both games complete-game shutouts. With such big voids to fill, Fredricks thinks that some people may be overlooking the Chargers this season. “I think people may have been sleeping on us early on,” he said. “But these kids have done more than I’ve asked of them, and came in ready to win. “We’re hitting .408 as a team and scoring a lot of runs. But I attribute a lot of that to smart, aggressive base-running. That’s something that’s often overlooked at the high school level, but when you put pressure on guys to make plays, good things happen.” The Charger offense has been led by senior left fielder Brian Dzuro, whom Fredricks describes as an offensive force. “Brian has been the focal point of our offense, and everybody else is feeding off him,” the coach said. “He’s the most overlooked player in the conference, and he’s so coachable. He doesn’t say much, he just hits the ball hard every time up.” Dzuro entered yesterday on a streak of nine consecutive at-bats with a base hit, and is 10-for-12 overall. Among those hits were four doubles and two home runs. He has nine RBIs and eight runs scored. “Brian is hitting .833 through five games, and has an on-base percentage of .810,” Fredricks said. “So his average is higher than his OBP. I didn’t think that was possible until now.” Dzuro’s blazing start has caught the attention of several college scouts, according to Fredricks. “They’re starting to pick up on him; I’m starting to get phone calls,” he said. The guys who have been getting on base in front of Dzuro are senior center fielder Steve Abbot, who is hitting .371 early on, and sophomore second baseman Mike Hohman. “These two have done a nice job of setting the table,” Fredricks said. “We always have people on the bases, and we like to move people around in the field. That opens up holes.” Fredricks is platooning seniors Rob Drako and Travis Retzlaff at the DH spot, with the two combining for five hits in 14 at-bats from the cleanup spot. Senior first baseman Scott Dyckman bats fifth, and is off to a blazing start, hitting .333 with eight RBIs. “Scott’s a big-time player,” Fredricks said. “He experimented with switch-hitting his first two years here, but now that we’ve cut that out, he’s really done well.” The Dubovick brothers, John and Mike, bat sixth and seventh, respectively, and have shown quite a knack for working well together. John, a senior shortstop, has hit .563 early on and has scored nine runs, with his brother sending him home the majority of the time with clutch hits. Mike Dubovick is hitting at a .533 clip, and has moved from second base to right field — a transition that his coach said he has made flawlessly. Senior Jeff Dougherty, who hit his first grand slam and a two-run home run in the same inning against Highland Park, is sharing time behind the plate with senior Lou Dimeglio. “These two guys have a lot of responsibility, because our pitching staff is untested,” Fredricks said. “They’re getting yelled at a lot, but they’re my hard-hat guys.” Among the other players who will see significant time, depending on who’s pitching, are sophomore third baseman John Berner and senior outfielder Dylan Bamrick. If there is a question mark for Fredricks, it will be how well his pitching staff holds up over the course of the season. The staff is headed by senior southpaw Steve Curry, who is 2-0 early on with a save, having struck out 18 batters in 10 2/3 innings. He is joined by righty ace Willie Beard, a sophomore who emerged as one of the GMC’s top up-and-coming pitchers last spring and over the course of the summer, when he shined for the Milltown Legion team. Among the other hurlers for Spotswood are junior righty Garret Andren, who Fredricks said is also an extremely valuable utility player capable of playing every position on the field, junior Danny Savage, junior Walt Wenzel, Hohman and Dzuro. Fredricks, who is assisted by Chris Ferrone, and former Spotswood players Dan Fredricks (an All-Group II pitcher) and Shawn Dyckman (who was the starting catcher for Montclair State), expects big things from his club this spring. “It really depends on how good we’re going to get,” he said. “There’s a lot of parity in the conference this year. There’s no Edison of 1996, no real juggernauts. I think you’re going to see a carousel at the top of the rankings this year.” Spotswood is currently ranked eighth in the GMC, and improved on that standing yesterday battering Colonia 9-6 in Colonia. Friday, they’ll take on a South River team that has won three of its last four games and swept the Chargers last season. And if the bats keep producing as they have early on, the Chargers may find themselves on top of the carousel before long. STORY COMPLIMENTS OF GREATER MEDIA NEWS, THE EAST BRUNSWICK SENTINAL, AND DOUG MACKENZIE
CHARGERS HANDLE RIVAL JAYSSpotswood, NJ - by the Prof In what appeared to be a matchup of aces turned out to be no contest. Steve Curry, one-half of Spotswood's dynamic duo, outdueled Middlesex counterpart Matt Campanella in every facet of the game for a 13-3 mercy-rule victory at the Swamp before a crowd of 120 in Spotswood. Middlesex jumped out to a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the 1st. The Chargers, lead by Brian Dzuro (2-2, 2 doubles, 2RBI) and the Dubovick brothers once again, answered with 3 in the home 2nd when 5 consecutive batters reached base. The Blue Jays fought back in the 3rd on a two out, broken bat single to knot the score at 3, but that was as close as it would get. Super aggressive baserunning and big hits would touch Campanella with his first loss on 10 hits and 10 runs. Steve Abbott was another culprit, hitting two heavy extra base hits for a double and a triple on the afternoon. Campanella, coming off his 9 inning, 15 K, 1-0 shutout of South River, challenged the wrong bunch of hitters on this day as the Chargers used a variety of ways to score runs and chase him in the 5th. Willie Beard entered the game in the 5th for Spotswood to preserve the victory on 23 pitches. He struck out 5 and walked 1 for the save. Photographs courtesy of Jason Towlen and the Home News Tribune