by Phil Anastasia, Inquirer ColumnistInquirer Staff Writer
Here's the new Top 25 ranking for South Jersey baseball, as of Sunday night May 1:
(Preseason rankings in parentheses)
1. Gloucester Catholic (1) 9-2
Senior lefty Eric Grafton pitched a four-hitter with five strikeouts in Saturday's 2-1 win over Bishop Eustace on Saturday. The last three games between these fierce rivals have been decided by 2-1 scores, with BE taking a pair last season and GC turning the tables this season. The teams could meet again in South A action.
2. St. Augustine (2) 9-3
The Hermits are 6-2 in their last eight, allowing a total of 14 runs. They were supposed to play Washington Twp. in the Coaches vs. Cancer event at Millville on Sunday but the second day of games was washed out.
3. Ocean City (4) 7-3
In their seven wins, the Red Raiders have allowed a total of two runs. OC hosts No. 2 St. Augustine in a key CAL American game on Tuesday. It's another #MooneyTuesday for the Red Raiders, as ace senior RHP Sean Mooney will take the hill against a team he beat twice in 2015.
4. Eastern (10) 11-4
The Vikings have won five in a row and seven of eight. They'vs scored 45 runs in the five-game winning streak, led by junior third baseman Davis Schneider and sophomore centerfielder Jack Herman.
5. Clearview (6) 9-3-1
The Pioneers have won three in a row, allowing just five runs. This team's pitching has been a constant.
6. Lenape (11) 7-2
The Indians also have won three in a row, allowing a total of three runs. This team's hitting hasn't been a little inconsistent but the pitching and defense have been there all season. Senior RHP Ben Rodier is 3-0 against Olympic American foes.
7. Camden Catholic (3) 13-3
Senior LHP Jay Crusemire is 4-0 with a pair of victories over rival Bishop Eustace. The Irish are close to locking up the Olympic National berth to the Diamond Classic. The DC field will be announced next Sunday.
8. Mainland (7) 7-3
The Mustangs bounced back from a tough loss to Ocean City with big win over Cherokee on Saturday at Millville. Sophomore Nick Atohi has four pitching wins.
9. Cherokee (5) 11-1
The Chiefs have won four of five.
10. Cherry Hill West (9) 8-3
Junior Jake Azar has four doubles in the Lions' last three games.
11. Williamstown (8) 10-3
The Braves' last three games have been decided by scores of 1-0, 1-0 and 2-1. They've scored one run in each game and gone 2-1.
12. Millville (14) 9-4
Senior RHP Nate Eigenmann has four pitching wins for the Thunderbolts, who have won three in a row. Junior Buddy Kennedy leads SJ with 7 HRs and is close to making his pitching debut after recuperating from a shoulder ailment.
13. West Deptford (13) 12-2
The Eagles are teaming toward a couple of notable accomplishments: Earning the Colonial Liberty's automatic berth to the Diamond Classic and securing the No. 1 seed in SJ 2, a bracket that will include Barnegat and No. 1 pro pitching prospect Jason Groome.
14. Northern Burlington (12) 9-4
The Greyhounds have hit 39 doubles. They've scored in double figures eight times.
15. Bishop Eustace (15) 9-6
The Crusaders are getting a lot of production from their freshmen class.
16. Kingsway (16) 12-4
The Dragons have won four in a row. This team is 7-0 in the loaded Tri-Co Royal.
17. Holy Cross (18) 10-3
As usual, the Lancers are making a run in the BCSL tourney, reaching the semifinals.
18. Washington Two. (17) 7-6
The Minutemen have been 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5 during this season.
19. Highland (20) 6-4-1
The Tartans have won four of five. They're getting strong work on the mound from senior Christian Scafidi and junior Anthony Masselli and senior leadoff man Billy Jackson leads the lineup.
20. Haddonfield (25) 8-2
The Bulldawgs have won five in a row and eight of nine. Jake Small has four pitching wins.
21. Delsea (NR) 10-2
The Crusaders have won seven in a row with a balanced approach led by Nick McDonnell and Brad Dobzanski. For the purposes of the two automatic berths to the tournament, the Diamond Classic breaks the Tri-Co Diamond in half, putting the larger teams with the Royal squads and the smaller with the Classic teams. If Delsea is grouped with the larger schools, things will get interesting because the Crusaders beat Kingsway, which is otherwise unbeaten against Royal foes. Delsea's lone loss to Royal or Diamond teams was to Clearview.
22. Egg Harbor Twp. (NR) 8-6
After starting 1-3 and 2-4, the Eagles have hit their stride. They won the Pop McKenna tourney at West Deptford for the second year in a row on Saturday, stunning the host Eagles in the title game.
23. Wildwood (23) 10-4
Junior pitcher/infielder Brendan Bean, a Penn recruit, could miss another couple of weeks with a hamstring injury.
24. Rancocas Valley (24) 9-6
The Red Devils are 5-1 in their last six.
25. Haddon Hts. (NR) 8-4
The Garnets have won six of seven and stunned then-No. 3 Camden Catholic on Saturday.
Under consideration (listed alphbetically): Audubon (6-4), Cinnaminson (8-6), Hammonton (7-7), Pennsville (10-5), Seneca (7-6), Timber Creek (8-7).
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org
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