College Corner: Local Ballplayers Earn Conference Honors

Ex-Central Regional ace Andrew DiPiazza, now starring at Rowan University, was one of the top pitchers in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. (Photo courtesy Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

Three ex-local high school baseball players have earned New Jersey Athletic Conference honors.

Named to the first team was Rowan College junior righty Danny Serreino, who played for Jackson Liberty.

Junior righty Andrew DiPiazza, the former Central Regional standout, was a second-team selection.

Sophomore catcher Todd Bates, a former Brick Memorial player now with Montclair State University, was an honorable mention selection.

Each player was honored after the regular season.

Serreino was 3-2 with a 0.47 earned run average in NJAC play. He struck out 44 batters in 38 2/3 innings and tossed two shutouts. He led the NJAC in ERA and opposing batting average (.095), tied for first in strikeouts, ranked fourth in innings pitched and tied for seventh in victories.

Ex-Jackson Liberty pitcher Danny Serreino earned first-team honors in the New Jersey Athletic Conference after excelling at Rowan University. (Photo courtesy Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

He was 6-2 overall with a 1.03 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings for the Profs.

In the NJAC, DiPiazza compiled a 4-1 record, a 1.45 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 31 innings. He tied for second in wins, tied for fourth in strikeouts and ranked fifth in opposing batting average (.156) and seventh in ERA. He was 6-1 with a 1.34 ERA on the season. He whiffed 62 batters in 47 innings.

He pitched for Mercer County Community College during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, putting up a 20-3 record and pitching five complete games en route to a 2.39 earned run average. He blazed his way to 193 strikeouts in 154 2/3 innings.

He was named the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Pitcher of the Year and a first-team All-American in 2016.

DiPiazza, a 6-foot-7, 243-pounder, tied the school record with 15 strikeouts in a win against Ripon College

Bates, who batted .261, scored 19 runs and drove in 14 runs. He fielded .984 and cut down 10 baserunners.

Naif perfect: Felician University senior righty Dan Naif (Jackson Liberty) combined with a teammate on a three-hitter in the team’s 4-0 win over Goldey Beacom College.

Naif hurled a perfect seventh inning in relief.

The former Lion set Felician’s all-time appearances record (92) for a pitcher, working a scoreless bottom of the ninth in relief in a 15-5 win over Bloomfield College. Naif posted his Felician career record 32nd save in a 5-3 win over Post University.

Corsi, McCabe aid win: New Jersey City University junior third baseman Matt Corsi (Toms River East) and junior lefty Kyle McCabe (Brick Memorial) helped the Gothics past Lehman College 15-3.

Corsi went 1-for-3, singled home one run and scored one run. McCabe pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings, allowing four hits and tossing 26 pitches.

Brick Township graduate Drew Scott, shown making a tackle, starred on defense at McDaniel College. (Photo courtesy McDaniel College Athletics Communications Department)

Martone, Santoro contribute: Graduate student Mike Martone (Brick Memorial) and junior Freehold resident Anthony Santoro (St. John Vianney) helped Felician past the University of the Sciences 15-1.

Martone pinch hit a two-run homer in the ninth. He tucked the drive inside the right-field foul pole to cap the game’s scoring. It was his first career homer for Felician. It came in his 109th career game.

Santoro, a junior catcher, hit a run-scoring single in the third for a 6-0 lead.

Feehan connects: New Jersey City University sophomore left fielder Bill Feehan (Point Pleasant Boro) stroked two hits in a 12-5 loss to host Montclair under the lights at Yogi Berra Stadium.

Hughes hot on hill: Stockton University junior righty Ray Hughes (Lacey) was named the Osprey of the Week after tossing his first career shutout in a 7-0 win over New Jersey City University.

Hughes struck out 10 and allowed four hits. He pushed his record to 3-2 and lowered his earned run average to 1.95 for fifth in the NJAC. He raised his team-high strikeouts total to 47.

No catching Molloy: Former Toms River North speedster Zack Molloy helped the Rider University men’s swimming and diving team win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship Meet for the seventh straight time.

He captured the event’s Men’s Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet for the third consecutive year.

On the first day of the meet, the former Mariner helped the Broncs win the 800-yard freestyle relay in a meet-record 6:30.52, shattering the old record by almost four seconds. On the second day, Molloy sprinted to first place in the 50 freestyle in an MAAC and Rider record 19.66.

Molloy swam the anchor leg on the 200 freestyle relay team, which won the even in an MAAC record 1:20.06. On the third day, Molloy swam the second leg on the second-place 400 medley relay team (3:16.62) and won the 200 freestyle in 1:35.33.

On the final day of action, Molloy swam the opening leg on the winning 400 freestyle relay team. It set an MAAC record in 2:58.58. He broke the MAAC record earlier, winning the 100 freestyle in 43.10.

Molloy owns the MAAC record in the 50, 100, 200 and 500 freestyles.

Rider senior Ben Smith (Lacey) helped the Broncs to the team title, placing eighth in the 200 butterfly.

Barnes among the best: Former Manchester player Kashaun Barnes, a Stockton University junior guard, made the All-NJAC second-team after starring for the Ospreys in men’s basketball during the regular season.

Barnes placed third in the NJAC in scoring, averaging 18.0 points per game. The Toms River resident averaged 4.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per outing. He averaged 34.3 minutes per game for third in the NJAC and was 10th in the league in both free-throw percentage (.793 percent) and three-pointers made (2.0) per showing.

Former Brick Township player Matt Schleifer, shown celebrating a touchdown, was honored for his special teams play at McDaniel College. (Photo courtesy McDaniel College Athletics Communications Department)

Barnes scored in double figures in 17 of his 20 games, including seven games with at least 20 points. He erupted for a career-high 37 points in an 89-81 win over Montclair State University, blazing away at a 14 of 23 clip from the field, including five of nine from downtown, in 40 minutes. He added six rebounds and four assists.

Scott, Schleifer cited: Brick Township graduates Drew Scott and Matt Schleifer earned football honors at McDaniel College after starring for the Green Terror last fall.

Scott, a senior linebacker, was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player. Schleifer, a return specialist-wide receiver, was named the Special Teams Most Valuable Player.

Scott paced the Green Terror in total tackles (72), solo stops (45), assists (27) and tackles per game (7.2). He made six tackles for seven yards lost, forced one fumble and broke up one pass. He finished in a three-way tie for 12th place in the Centennial Conference in total tackles and played in 10 games.

Schleifer, a sophomore, was honored as the club’s Special Teams Most Valuable Player.

He paced the conference in punt return yards, returning 21 for 360 yards, an average of 17.1 yards per dash. He was second in the league in all-purpose yards with 1,272. He was sixth in the league in kick return average with 30 for 21.4 yards.

He was first in kick return yards with 658. He blazed 92 yards with a punt return for a touchdown. He caught 19 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns and played in 10 games.

Bradley honored: Former Jackson Memorial player Kenny Bradley, a senior linebacker and co-captain, won the Jim Butterfield Memorial Award after starring at Ithaca College last fall.

The award recognizes a player’s outstanding contributions on the field and his desire to help the Bombers achieve success.

Bradley finished in a two-way tie for first place on the team in total tackles (85). He paced the club in assists (58) and added 27 solos. He broke up four passes and made 5 1/2 tackles for 15 yards lost. He added one interception and forced two fumbles.

The Bombers went 8-3 and won the Eastern College Athletic Conference title 27-17 over Salisbury University in the ECAC Scotty Whitelaw Bowl in Newark, Del. Bradley led the Bombers in total tackles (11) and made four assists to finish in a three-way tie for first on the team in helps. He forced one fumble.

Holland wins: Stockton freshman Keith Holland (Central) earned his second victory of the season in men’s outdoor track and field, clearing a personal best 4.35 meters in the pole vault at the Osprey Open at Stockton.

He was named the NJAC Rookie of the Week after the win. He was successful on his first attempt at five consecutive heights and topped six other vaulters for his second win in three outdoor meets. He was named the NJAC Rookie of the Year for the indoor season after winning the NJAC pole vault title in March.

Sophomore teammate Tom Strychowski (Lacey) sparkled at the Osprey Open, placing second in the discus (47.38 meters, third in the shot put (14.32 meters) and third in the hammer throw (44.78 meters).

Stockton junior Gunnar Pearson (Barnegat) and junior teammate Joe D’Amico (Central) helped the Ospreys win the 4×800-meter relay (7:56.91) at the Osprey Open. They ran the first and third legs, respectively. Pearson (1:57.22) and D’Amico (1:57.32) finished second and third, respectively, in the 800.

Pearson was second in the 800 in 1:55.48 at the Shippensburg Paul Kaiser Open.

At the Widener Invitational, Strychowski was third in the discus (46.39 meters) and Holland tied for second in the pole vault (4.20 meters).

Nocco competes: Former Southern Regional athlete Nick Nocco, a senior, ran the first leg on Rowan’s distance medley relay team which finished 12th in 10:10.04 in the distance medley at the Penn Relays.

NOTE: Is your favorite athlete missing? Please e-mail Chris Christopher: [email protected] with the information.

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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.