Yes, the baseball version of the Stumpy Awards, changing lives for 15 minutes in various incarnations since 2006, will be unveiled on Saturday for the first time on All Shore Media. Now I feel bad that I didn’t do them for basketball, but it’s a lot easier to get them done when you’re not worrying about previews for another season having to get done at the same time. I am working to try and get them all done today (Friday) so they will be there Saturday morning, but the more realistic goal is probably to have the Stumpy Awards posted around 3-4 p.m. on Saturday, so when you come back from enjoying your day, pop on the computer and check them out.
As you can see, the 2009 ASM All-Conference team has been posted, and of course I’m still agonizing over a few players I had to leave out for this year’s team, so I will give some info on them and let you guys decide if I’m an idiot. (If that is still up for debate at this point). Obviously these are guys I would’ve have liked to have gotten on third team somewhere, but I am trying to streamline my teams so that it’s not one of those “everybody gets a medal” deals. Granted, that also probably means more angry e-mails, but that’s the nature of the beast.
Now, here are some candidates that I thought deserved consideration, and you will see some of them pop up in the Stumpy Awards tomorrow.
Francisco Araneo, Sr., 2B, Mater Dei: He had at least one hit in 20 of Mater Dei’s 21 games, hit .421 and had a .645 slugging percentage for a team that went 11-10 and finished second in B Central. He had 32 hits, 21 runs scored and 20 RBIs with an on-base percentage of .487. I know B Central gets knocked for its level of play, but he did have a combined four hits in two games against Non-Public B champion St. Rose and one apiece against Monmouth, Neptune and Red Bank. Very hard to leave off, but when I was ranking second basemen, I had him behind Todd Juliano, Eric Raybon and Steve Louie. You could argue he should get a utility spot because he also saw some time at shortstop.
Ryshon Rodriguez, Sr., 1B, Lakewood: Rodriguez played in relative anonymity for the sub-.500 Piners, but he batted .442 with 7 homers, 23 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 11 walks and only 4 strikeouts all season. I could see him arguing for third team at first base over Toms River North’s Billy Hoermann, whose average Rodriguez dwarfed while playing in a weaker division than Hoermann, or at designated hitter against Lacey sophomore Vinnie Zarrillo. It’s definitely a close call.
Dennis Reynolds, Sr., 3B, Monmouth: Reynolds hit .389 on a winning team but the number that stood out was his 13 doubles, which went along with 22 RBIs. He also only made two errors at third all season. Another worthy candidate.
Jerry Vasto, Jr., P/1B/OF, Henry Hudson: Vasto hit a Shore Conference-leading .558 with 24 hits, 6 doubles, 4 triples, a homer, 13 walks and only 3 strikeouts for the Admirals. In a combined five games against playoff teams St. Rose, Toms River South, Point Beach and Mater Dei, he went 9-for-17 with a homer, six walks and a double. Admirals coach Tom Lynch really went to bat for Vasto because he knows how hard it can be for small-school players to get recognition, so Vasto was another really tough one to leave out.
The Toms River North contigent – Rudy Ferrentino, Brian Gilbert, Nick Ferlise and Anthony LaCava: Sometimes players are just a victim of having a lot of talent on one team as they all put up solid numbers. Ferrentino has a chance to be one of the Shore’s top pitchers next season and is a Carpenter Cup selection. He went 5-2 with a 2.27 ERA this year. Gilbert also returns after hitting .333 with 29 hits as well as five saves as the Mariners’ closer.
Pat Christopher, Sr., OF, St. John Vianney: He hit .363 with 5 homers, 4 doubles, 33 hits, 20 RBIs, 19 runs scored and 12 stolen bases for a team that reached its first Non-Public A final since 1981.
Frank DeSarno, Sr., SS, Wall: Hit .411 with 14 runs, 11 RBIs, 12 doubles and 23 hits. Shortstop is just such a brutal position to get recognition because that’s where most teams play their studs. His teammate, senior pitcher Kyle Kurdewan, quietly had a 1.40 ERA in finishing 3-3.
Tyler Saito, Fr., 1B, Manasquan: Batted .333 with 4 homers, 6 doubles and 15 RBIs for the Warriors with 20 hits and 12 runs scored. With 4 homers as a freshman and prodigious power, he has the potential to one day take down Keith Weinkofsky’s Shore Conference record of 30 career homers.
Mike Farrell, Sr., 3B, Middletown South: Farrell hit .343 with a .446 on-base percentage and .614 slugging percentage. Also a talented defensive end on the football field, he is a good all-around athlete on a state playoff team. He had 24 hits, 24 RBIs and 6 homers, but only one double and zero triples.
Neal Yaffe, Sr., OF, Ocean: Part of a team that won a share of the Class B North title, he batted.348 with 24 hits, 16 runs, 10 RBIs, 14 walks, 4 doubles and 5 steals. First baseman Kevin Romano led the Spartans with 29 hits and batted .367 with 16 RBIs, which also bears mentioning. Senior Shaun Goodwin also led the team with a .385 average.
Joe Ramirez, 2B, Manalapan: He hit .325 with 26 hits and 26 RBIs and is part of a young Manalapan team that brings back a lot of talent, including sophomore pitcher Kyle Rubinaccio, who went 5-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings.
Matt Weckerle, Jr., 3B/P, Marlboro: Hit .387 with 29 hits, 7 doubles, 4 homers, 16 RBIs and 15 runs scored and also had a 2.22 ERA on the mound.
I could go on and on here because every team nominates two or three of its players, and I know there are some more deserving players not mentioned, but these were the main others considered.