College Corner

Former Brick Township High School standout Carmen Sclafani enjoyed a productive season at Rutgers University. (Photo courtesy Rutgers University Athletics Communications Department)

Former local high school baseball players were members of the Rutgers University baseball team.

On the roster of the Scarlet Knights were junior infielder Carmen Sclafani, a Brick Township graduate; graduate student and pitcher Karl Blum (Toms River North) redshirt sophomore outfielder Kevin Blum (Toms River North), freshman infielder Aaron McLaughlin (Barnegat) freshman infielder-outfielder Mike Nyisztor (Toms River North) and redshirt junior pitcher Ryan Wares (Howell Township).

Sclafani batted .287 (41-for-143). Among his hits were three home runs, two triples and seven doubles. He drove in 19 runs and scored 28. He stole six bases in nine attempts and put up a .385 on-base percentage. He slugged .427, drew 18 walks and appeared in 43 games, starting 40.

Karl Blum was 0-5 with a 6.27 earned run average. He appeared in 18 games, started seven and pitched in 37 1/3 innings.

Kevin Blum, who batted .310, stroked 18 hits in 58 at-bats. He drove in nine runs and scored 15. Among his hits were two doubles. He stole two bases in three attempts and posted a .423 on-base percentage and a .345 slugging percentage. He appeared in 35 games and started 18.

Former Central Regional standout Rich DiPiazza starred at Rowan University. (Photo courtesy: Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

Nyisztor was hit by a team-high eight pitches. He batted .249 (47-for-189), drove in 31 runs and scored 35. He hit six doubles and one triple. He stole 11 bases in 11 attempts. He appeared in 49 games and started 48.

Wares, who was 2-1 with a 4.97 ERA, appeared in 23 games and started one. He limited hitters to a .246 batting average. In 29 innings, he whiffed 23, walked 21 and allowed 28 hits.

McLaughlin saw limited action.

The Scarlet Knights were 25-25 overall, including 7-16 in the Big Ten Conference.

Wagner wins title: Local players and head coach Jim Carone (Point Pleasant Beach) helped the Wagner College Seahawks share the Northeast Conference regular-season title with Bryant University.

Playing for the Seahawks were freshman pitcher Mike Pirrotta (Freehold Township), junior infielder Will Johnson (Toms River East) junior pitcher Douglas Molnar (Toms River North), junior outfielder Joe Silvestrone (Freehold Township), sophomore pitcher Nick Zuppe (Freehold) senior pitcher Brad Currao (a Howell resident out of St. Rose), senior outfielder Kyle Cala (Brick Memorial) and freshman infielder Ben Montenegro (Toms River South).

Pirrotta posted a 1-0 record and a 4.58 ERA. He appeared in 12 games and started one. He held hitters to a .257 batting average. In 19 2/3 innings, he whiffed 12, allowed 17 walks and surrendered 19 hits.

Johnson, who batted .225, appeared in 39 games and started 31. He stole four bases in five attempts. Among his hits were three doubles, one triple and one homer. He scored 17 runs and plated 17 runs.

Molnar saw limited action.

Silvestrone, who batted .294 (50-for-170), drove in 19 runs and scored 17. Among his hits were one homer, two triples and eight doubles. He stole four bases in five attempts and appeared in 47 and started 47.

Zuppe notched a 1-1 record and a 2.55 ERA. He limited hitters to a .148 batting average in 17 2/3 innings. He appeared in seven games and started four. He allowed nine hits, nine walks and whiffed four.

Danny Serreino, a former Jackson Liberty player, earned numerous postseason honors at Rowan University. (Photo courtesy: Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

Currao, a Presidential Scholar, was 3-0 with a 4.08 ERA in 21 games, all in relief. He pitched 35 1/3 innings, allowing 36 hits and 18 walks while striking out 24.

Cala, who batted .264, appeared in 52 games and started 51, driving in 33 runs and hitting five homers one triple and 10 doubles. He scored 24 runs and stole two bases in six attempts.

Montenegro batted .290 (9-for-31) in 17 games, starting six. He drove in two runs and scored three.

Carone was named the NEC’s Coach of the Year for the second straight season. The Seahawks won a program-best 38 games and lost 18 this season overall. They won a program-high 21 conference games and dropped seven in 2018. The Seahawks captured the NEC Sportsmanship Award this year.

Serreino, DiPiazza cited: Rowan University standouts Danny Serreino (Jackson Liberty) and Anthony DiPiazza (Central Regional) made the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-Mid-Atlantic team.

Serreino, a junior righty, was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Pitcher of the Year and chosen to the first team. DiPiazza was named to the second team.

Serreino went 7-2 with a 1.25 ERA in 11 starts. He allowed just 16 runs – 11 earned – and 34 hits. He whiffed 89 in 79 innings. He pitched three complete games with two shutouts. He led the New Jersey Athletic Conference in ERA and opposing batting average (.130) and ranked second in strikeouts, third in innings pitched and tied for third in wins.

He was named to the NJAC all-conference and D3baseball.com all-region first teams. He was named the NJAC Pitcher of the Week one time.

A junior righty, DiPiazza was 7-1 with a 1.49 ERA in 10 starts. He allowed 14 runs – 10 earned – and 39 hits in 60 1/3 innings. He struck out 78 and limited hitters to a .184 batting average.

He ranked second in the NJAC in ERA, tied for third in wins and was fourth in opposing batting average and strikeouts. He tied Rowan’s single-game strikeouts record with 15 against Ripon College. He was a member of the NJAC all-conference second team and the D3baseball.com all-region third team. He was named the NJAC Pitcher of the Week and chosen to the D3baseball.com Team of the Week one time.

More on the diamond: The Stockton University Ospreys contained local players.

On their roster were senior shortstop Tyler Hobbs (Brick Memorial), junior pitcher Ray Hughes (Lacey Township), sophomore pitcher James Manos (Feeehold) and freshman pitcher Zach Fillmore (Southern Regional).

Dan Naif, who played for Jackson Liberty, sidearms his way to a save for Felician University. (Photo courtesy: Felician University Athletics Communications Department)

Hobbs batted .256 (22-for-86). He scored 14 runs and drove in seven runs.

Hughes led the team in wins with three and suffered four losses. The 6-foot-6 Hughes posted a 3.22 ERA and pitched two complete games. He tossed his first career shutout this season. He led the team with 58 strikeouts for sixth place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. He limited opponents to a .174 batting average. In 50 1/3 innings, he walked 29 and allowed 30 hits.

Manos notched two saves.

Fillmore was 2-1 in 11 games, all in relief. He whiffed 15 in 19 innings.

At Felician University were senior pitcher Dan Naif (Jackson Liberty) and graduate student Mike Martone, a catcher-first baseman out of Brick Memorial.

Naif went 4-1 and notched seven saves en route to a 4.50 ERA. He appeared in 28 games, all in relief. He whiffed 32, walked 15 and allowed 35 hits in 32 innings. He notched a Felician career record 24 saves.

Martone, who played in 36 games, batted .278 (20-for-72). Among his hits were one homer, one triple and two doubles. He drove in 12 runs and scored 11.

At New Jersey City University were junior pitcher Kyle McCabe (Brick Memorial) junior pitcher Corey Nase (Toms River South), junior pitcher Anthony Carfora, senior pitcher Dan Foley (Toms River East), junior second baseman Matt Corsi (East) and sophomore outfielder Bill Feehan (Point Pleasant Boro).

McCabe went 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA. He pitched in 14 games, all in relief.

Nase saw limited action.

Carfora was 4-1 with a 5.06 ERA in 32 innings. He whiffed 35, walked 16 and allowed 34 hits. He pitched in 13 games, including one as a starter.

Foley (1-1) posted a 5.01 ERA. He appeared in 14 games, including one as a starter.

Corsi batted .259 (15-for-59). He hit one double, drove in nine runs and scored eight. He stole four bases in five attempts. He played in 27 games and started 14.

Feehan, who played in and started 37 games, batted .250 (35-for-140). He hit one homer, one triple and 10 doubles. He drove in nine runs and scored eight. He stole four bases in five attempts.

Gesicki signs for big bucks: Former Southern Regional and Penn State University standout Mike Gesicki has signed a four-year contract with the Miami Dolphins after being selected by the team 42nd overall and 10th on the second round of the NFL Draft on April 27.

Gesicki, a tight end, signed a pact worth $6.6 million, including a base salary of $489,000, for the 2018 season. He’s a 6-foot-6, 250-pounder.

Gesicki, who starred in football, basketball and volleyball for the Rams, caught 129 passes for 1,481 yards and 15 touchdowns – all career records – at Penn State. He caught at least one pass in the final 27 games of his career.

He helped the Nittany Lions won the Big Ten title in 2016 and played in a Rose Bowl and a Fiesta Bowl.

Scott finds a spot: Drew Scott, the ex-Brick Township standout, has signed a contract to play in 2018 for the Munich Cowboys of the German Football League.

He joined the Cowboys’ prospect team after starring for McDaniel College, an NCAA Division III club. Scott is a recent McDaniel graduate. His contract will expire Sept. 28. If he impresses his club, he could be re-signed. Or, he could attract interest from other international teams.

Scott played linebacker at McDaniel where he never missed a start in 40 games of his four-year career. He finished his career with 255 tackles – tied for 10th most in school history – and earned Centennial Conference second-team honors in 2017.

Scott is a 6-foot, 255-pounder.

Setting, spiking: Sophomore outside hitter Liam Maxwell (Southern) was a first-team Conference Carolinas selection after starring in men’s volleyball at Belmont Abbey College.

At the time of his honor, Maxwell led the nation in attacks per set (10.35) and paced the conference in kills (4.30) and points (4.89) per set. He was named the league’s Player of the Week three times during the year and was the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year.

He topped double figures in kills in all but two of his matches, topping 20 on seven occasions. He established a career high with 28 against Charleston. He notched two double-doubles during the season.

Among his teammates were ex-Southern players Brennan Davis, a sophomore setter, and freshman defensive specialist-libero Collin Lockwood.

Davis finished the season with 155 digs and 27 kills. Lockwood added 27 digs and two kills.

Holland stars: Keith Holland (Central Regional) performed with the poise of a veteran for Stockton University at the New Jersey Athletic Conference Outdoor Championship.

Holland, a freshman, won the pole vault at 4.57 meters for the Ospreys.

Junior teammate Joe D’Amico (Central) ran the second leg on the winning 4×800 relay team (7:53.85) at the Atlantic Region Championships in NCAA Division III.

Mike Gesicki escapes a defender. (Photo courtesy Penn State University Athletics Communications Department)

Stockton shattered its school record from earlier this season by three seconds as the former Golden Eagle was named the Osprey of the Week in men’s track and field. He was third in the 1500 meters in 3:59.66 to help Stockton to sixth place in the 24-team meet. Stockton freshman Gunnar Pearson (Barnegat) ran the third leg on the relay team.

Former Lacey athlete Tom Strychowski of Stockton earned All-Atlantic Region honors in the discus from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for the 2018 outdoor season.

He notched three second-place finishes and also competed in the shot put and hammer throw for the Ospreys. He starred as a sophomore.

Nocco aids title run: Rowan University, with former Southern Regional athlete Nick Nocco in its lineup, won the All-Atlantic Region Conference Championships with 130 points.

Nocco, a senior, ran the anchor leg on the Profs’ third-place 4×800-meter relay team (7:59.91).

Nocco was named to the CoSIDA Google Cloud Academic All-District II Cross Country and Track and Field teams. He captained the Profs’ men’s cross country team and was a four-time Rowan Scholar-Athlete, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering.

With Kevin Veltre, a senior out of Brick Memorial, contributing, the Profs won the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships for the fifth straight season and 27th time overall.

Veltre was sixth in the 1500 in 3:59.51. The former Mustang won the second of two heats at the Penn Relays in the 3000 steeplechase in 9:07.35. He was ninth overall and the highest-finishing Non-NCAA Division I collegiate athlete in the event. The Profs compete in Division III.

Veltre was named to the All-Atlantic Region United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association team in the 3000 steeplechase along with Rowan junior Danny McAleavey (Howell). The latter was honored in the javelin after placing second at the NJAC meet and second (186-6) at the All-Atlantic Region Conference Championships.

D’Amico won the 1500 in 4:09.04 at The College of New Jersey Invitational.

Athletes inducted: Felician University senior Steven Slagmolen (Toms River North) and Felician senior Christopher Bekefi (Toms River North) were among those inducted into the National College Athlete Honor Society (NCAHS), Chi Alpha Sigma, in the Grand Ballroom of the Holiday Inn-Hasbrouck Heights.

Slagmolen, a baseball player, put up a 3.52 grade point average as a business administration major. He’s a new inductee.

Bekefi, a member of the men’s golf team, notched a 3.66 GPA as a business administration major.

The Golden Falcons won the 2017-18 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Team Sportsmanship Award in men’s golf.

Drew Scott, who played for Brick Township High School and is shown making a tackle for McDaniel College, is playing professionally in Germany. (Photo courtesy: McDaniel College Athletics Communications Department)

Lewis stars: Former Toms River East standout Richie Lewis went 1-0 at 157 pounds and 13-3 at 165 as a red shirt senior at Rutgers.

He placed third at 165 in the Big Ten Championships. He won Rutgers’ Match of the Year Award for his last-second 7-5 win over Iowa’s Alex Marinelli, then ranked second in the nation, in the tournament.

Ex-Jackson Memorial coach and athlete Scott Goodale guided the Scarlet Knights to an 8-7 overall record.

On the court: Pace University sophomore forward Peyton Wejnert (Southern) paced the men’s basketball team in scoring, averaging 14.2 points per game.

The 6-foot-6 Wejnert was second on the club in rebounding at 6.2 per outing. He added nine assists and 11 steals and was second on the team in blocked shots with 13. He appeared in 27 games and started 14. He averaged 23.4 minutes per outing.

Ex-Southern player Eric Ray, a 6-foot-6 junior center, averaged 2.6 points and 2.1 rebounds per game for Fairleigh Dickinson University-Madison.

He added six steals and five blocks. He appeared in 20 games and started nine. He averaged 12.4 minutes per game.

At St. John Fisher was Mark Valeriani, a freshman guard out of Southern.

Off to Elizabethtown College to join his brother, Ethan DuBois, is Jake DuBois. Both played for Southern. Recent Southern graduate Alec Tcheveev will play for Ocean County College.

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Chris Christopher covers sports for Micromedia Publications Inc. with knowledge, pride and passion. His beats are the high school, college, professional, youth and recreational scenes. A three-time New Jersey Press Association award winner for sports writing, Christopher was inducted into the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame in 2015 for his work in the media. The Lakewood resident enjoys taking walks in Ocean County Park and on the boardwalks in Ocean and Monmouth counties and rooting for the New York Mets.