Staff report
The South Jersey South Shore Baseball League finished up its inaugural regular season on Friday night, and tonight the playoffs begin — with some very interesting matchups.
The top eight teams in the 10-team league earned playoff bids this season, with No. 1 playing No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, and so on, in three-game series this week, Monday through Wednesday. The winners advance to next week’s semifinals featuring the same format, and the five-game championship series begins Aug. 2 at the home of the higher seeded team.
The South Jersey Surf, coached by Atlantic Cape Community College assistant Jeff Ball, captured the No. 1 seed with a 19-3 record and 62 points during the regular season. Teams received three points for a win, two for a tie and one for a loss. The Buena Blue Dawgs finished two games back with an 18-6 record and rounding out the top four seeds were the Ocean City Water Dogs (15-7) — last year’s champion in the Atlantic County Baseball League — and the Northfield Cardinals (13-10), a previous ACBL champion.
The Nos. 5 through 8 seeds are the Absecon Outlaws (12-12), Ventnor Bay Sox (11-12), Egg Harbor City Knights (10-13) and the Egg Harbor Township Eagles (9-14). The Somers Point Captains finished 3-19 and in ninth place while Galloway Mustangs were 10th with a 3-15 mark.
The South Jersey Surf take on the Eagles in the opening round, and if they can get past EHT they’ll take on either the Cardinals or Outlaws. The Outlaws have been hitting well lately and should give the No. 4 Cardinals a test, as Absecon is 8-4 on the road this season. Tonight and Wednesday, if necessary, will be at Northfield.
On the other side of the bracket, the Ocean City Water Dogs have been on fire in July. At one point they were under .500 but won nine straight to vault into the No. 3 position. They’ll take on a Ventnor team that has been struggling of late but certainly brings some offensive punch. The Buena Blue Dawgs, winners of the preseason Bridgeton Invitational Tournament, take on the Egg Harbor City Knights in the opening round and if they can survive that test they’ll square off against either Ocean City or Ventnor.
Here’s a full look at the playoffs:
Quarterfinals (Today through Wednesday, 7 p.m., Monday and Wednesday at the higher seed)
No. 1 South Jersey Surf vs. No. 8 Egg Harbor Township Eagles
No. 2 Buena Blue Dawgs vs. No. 7 Egg Harbor City Knights
No. 3 Ocean City Water Dogs vs. No. 6 Ventnor Bay Sox
No. 4 Northfield Cardinals vs. No. 5 Absecon Outlaws
Semifinals (July 28-28, same format as quarterfinals)
Surf/Eagles winner vs. Cardinals/Outlaws winner
Blue Dawgs/Knights winner vs. Water Dogs/Bay Sox winner
Championship series (Begins August 2 at higher seed)