At this stage of the spring, local high school athletic teams are in the midst of claiming conference and division championships with the regular season winding down.
Players came through with key performances this past week when their schools raised the pennant flags to signal titles won so far during this spring season.
Baseball championships were secured …
Freehold High School captured the Shore Conference A North Division crown when the Patriots defeated Howell High School, 4-3, May 10.
Pat White came through on the mound when he saved the game in pitching 1.1 innings of relief, while he also contributed with two hits and a run batted in.
A day earlier, Monmouth Regional High School won the B North Division title when the Falcons rolled past Ocean Township High School, 10-1. Josh Jackson was the leader of the offensive surge for Monmouth Regional when he recorded three hits and five RBIs. Contributing to the division-clinching victory was Liam Kile, who ended with three hits and three RBIs.
Jackson connected on a run-scoring single in the last of the seventh inning a day earlier when Monmouth Regional clinched a tie for the division crown with a 4-3 decision over Middletown High School South.
Another Shore Conference division title was claimed May 9 when Raritan High School took first place in the A Central Division with a 2-0 victory over Matawan Regional High School. Matt Birdsall was the winner on the mound in that game for Raritan, throwing a three-hitter.
Moving from the Shore Conference to its neighboring Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC), a division title was declared May 10.
East Brunswick High School captured the Red Division championship when the Bears knocked off Monroe Township High School, 6-4. Winning pitcher Mike Falco smacked a two-run triple and Ryan Flynn registered two hits and one RBI in the division-clinching victory. The division championship was the second straight for East Brunswick.
The White Division champion this spring is Woodbridge High School. That title run was steered by Woodbridge’s star ace pitcher and hitter, Harry Rutkowski. The Rutgers University-bound lefty pitched a one-hitter, struck out 13 and issued one walk when Woodbridge defeated North Brunswick Township High School, 4-0, May 8.
Rutkowski also recorded two hits and an RBI in the victory that resulted in the White Division title for the Barrons.
Another GMC division crown was also wrapped up this past week when Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School at East Brunswick won the Gold Division. East Brunswick Vo-Tech clinched the title when it posted an 11-1 victory over Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School at Piscataway May 10.
Dylan Montuoro recorded two hits and two RBIs; Vincent Pellicane collected two hits, three runs scored and an RBI; and Austin Montgomery ended with two hits, two runs scored and one RBI to fuel East Brunswick Vo-Tech’s victory.
While division titles were collected this past week, one major postseason tournament championship was also decided.
Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School is the 2017 Shore Conference Tournament king. The Caseys won the prestigious tournament title behind a balanced attack May 9 at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood.
Aidan Supp and JonMichael Rotondo each slugged a home run, and Mike Veit, David Glancy and Aaron Ahn each drove in a run to spark RBC’s drive to the tournament crown. Vin Bianchi pitched scoreless innings in relief of winner Austin Nappi. Bianchi’s effort capped a tournament when he won three games en route to being named the MVP of the Shore Conference Tournament.
In some regular-season play, Ryan Tallent clubbed a three-run homer and ended with five RBIs and Kyle Thaiss recorded four hits and three runs scored when they led Jackson Memorial High School past Brick Memorial High School, 13-11.
Two days later, Jackson Memorial did not explode on offense, but the Jaquars delivered timely hits in winning by a 3-1 score against Toms River High School East. Mike Dimino helped rally Jackson Memorial to that victory when he connected on a two-run single in the sixth inning.
Nick Hohenstein earned the victory on the mound with a six-hitter, while he also finished with three hits and a run batted in during Christian Brother Academy’s (CBA) 4-1 decision over Manalapan High School. Hohenstein also produced again May 11 when he knocked in two runs, while Colts teammate Tommy DiTullio clouted a two-run homer in CBA’s 12-6 victory over Howell.
On the softball side of play …
The Shore Conference B North Division title is owned by Middletown High School North.The Lions captured the title when they defeated Red Bank Catholic, 5-0, May 10.
Riley Kiernan struck out 10 in gaining the victory, while Alyssa Vetrano homered and drove in two runs and Milena Wilton connected on a two-run double in Middletown North’s championship effort. Wlton had driven in three runs on two hits a day earlier when Middletown North beat Manasquan High School, 5-1.
In regular-season action, Michelle Wester achieved a milestone May 10 when she collected two hits to reach 100 for her career during Raritan’s 6-0 victory over Matawan.
Julia Parker was the slugger May 9 for Saint John Vianney High School. She delivered two home runs among her four hits and drove in three runs when she powered the Lancers past Raritan, 7-0. Demi Rivera earned the victory for Saint John Vianney with a two-hitter.
The long ball continued to carry Saint John Vianney when the Lancers advanced to the championship game of the Monmouth County Tournament May 11. Lindsey Baron and Ally Jones each slugged a homer and Rivera threw a four-hitter as the Lancers, the No. 1 seed, eliminated fifth-seeded Freehold Township, 5-0, in the semifinals.
Morgan Hurst ripped three hits and drove in three runs while scoring once when she guided Mater Dei Prep past Point Pleasant Beach High School, 5-0.
Two girls achieve scoring milestones in lacrosse …
Shannen Sterner recorded four goals and three assists to reach 100 points in her career when she guided South Brunswick High School past East Brunswick, 18-3, in the opening round of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament May 9.
Olivia Farrington came through twice last week to boost Red Bank Catholic to a pair of victories. On May 8, she poured in five goals, including the 200th of her career, and also dished out three assists in RBC’s 24-7 decision over Donovan Catholic High School.
Two days later, Farrington hit for five goals and finished with an assist when she steered the Caseys to a 13-3 verdict over Red Bank Regional High School in the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament.
In the boys’ lacrosse bracket during the quarterfinals in the Shore Conference Tournament, Luke Valentino ended with four goals in CBA’s 8-6 victory over Freehold Township, and Colon Pavluk registered five goals and two assists when he guided Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School past Wall High School, 14-6.
Running over to the track …
Katie DiFrancesco established a meet record when she won the 100-meter dash at the Monmouth County Championships that were held at Holmdel High School.
On May 11, she was clocked in a record time of 11.94 for a finish that broke the previous standard of 11.95 that was run by Georgina Niembhard of Ocean Township High School in 2006. That time of 11.94 was DiFrancesco’s personal best.
She was not finished that day. She went on to claim first in the 400 meters with a clocking of 55.73.
Another girl who shined during the county meet was Jenna Reid of Middletown North. The senior won her fourth Monmouth County title in the 400 hurdles when she came in with a time of 1:02.67.