Friday, May 16, 2014

Baseball: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex final preview

Who: Hunterdon Central Red Devils vs. North Hunterdon Lions.

Where: Diamond Nation, Raritan Township.

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Records: Hunterdon Central 20-3; North Hunterdon 18-7.

Coaches: Mike Raymond (288-101, 14th season); Mike Kane (46-35, third season).

How they got here: Hunterdon Central defeated High Point, 5-0, in second round; Sparta, 8-4, in quarters; Pope John, 8-2, in semifinals. North Hunterdon defeated Belvidere, 7-0, in second round; Newton, 2-1 in nine innings in quarters; Vernon, 6-0, in semifinals.

All-time HWS records: Hunterdon Central 17-2; North Hunterdon 10-4.

Potential lineups (Note: North Hunterdon does not provide season stats):

Hunterdon Central -- Jr. Brett McManus, 2B (.456 avg., 5 HRs, 18 RBIs), Sr. Christian Carey, OF (.297, 1 HR, 12 RBIs), Sr. Mike Pfenninger, 3B (.433, 22 RBIs), Sr. Zac Vacca, C (.339, 2 HRs, 26 RBIs), Jr. Henry Hawkins, OF (.322, 1 HR, 15 RBIs), Sr. Sean Hanigan, DH (.390, 20 RBIs), Sr. Matt Stalter, SS (.281, 15 RBIs), Jr. Mike Perone, 1B (.426, 16 runs), Jr. John Korn, OF (.250, 1 HR, 4 RBIs), Jr. Pat Clare, P (6-1, 2.43 ERA, 27 K's, 37 IP).

North Hunterdon -- Jr. Tim Heard, 2B, Sr. Zack Kaminski, OF, Sr. Marc Monks, OF, Jr. Tom Schumacher, 3B, Jr. Shayne Fontana, OF, Sr. Shane Cassidy, DH, Jr. Andrew Meiners, C, Sr. Austin Arndt, SS, Sr. Jon Scott, 1B, So. John Wilson, P.

Breakdown: This is the first final in the tournament's five-year history pitting two teams from Hunterdon County and just the second that doesn't involve one from Sussex County. Central is looking to avenge two Skyland Conference Delaware Division losses to North this season -- 6-1 on April 3 and 14-0 on April 29. The latter snapped the Red Devils' 12-game win streak, the longest in the HWS area this season. Central, which has secured at least a share of the division title -- 11-3 in the division, one-half game over North at 10-3 with one to play against Montgomery -- has appeared in all five tournament title games, winning titles in 2010 and '13. This  is the first championship game for North, which was eliminated in the semifinals in 2010, '12 and '13. McManus is having a great season for Central. The junior second baseman is batting .615 (16-for-26) with three doubles, two homers, two triples and eight RBIs in his last eight games. Clare is 3-0 in tri-county games, including a no-hitter against High Point. He has nine strikeouts and has allowed six runs on 13 hits for a 2.84 ERA with six walks in those starts. Outstanding first baseman Matt Toke (.442, 1 HR, 16 RBIs) has missed several games due to illness and may return for this one. This clash will be a battle of the bats vs. stingy pitching. North Hunterdon arms have allowed just three runs over the team's last eight games -- spanning a remarkable 71 innings. The staff has held opponents to two runs or fewer in 16 games this season. Wilson, a lefty, has started all three of the Lions' tri-county games and is 2-0 with 18 K's in those, getting a no-decision in the extra-innings win over Newton. Quentin Klein, who got the win vs. the Braves, has earned victories in two of the Lions' last three and three of six. Monks and Schumacher have enjoyed torrid streaks at the plate this season. In his last eight games, Monks has two doubles, a homer and six RBIs.

Prediction: Hunterdon Central, 3-2.

No comments:

Post a Comment