Staff Report

The Championship Series of the South Jersey South Shore Baseball League is set, and it’s like Yogi Berra once said: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

The series — a Best-of-5 that begins Monday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at Birch Grove Park in Northfield — will feature No. 1 South Jersey Surf vs. No. 2 Buena Blue Dawgs, a rematch of last year’s championship series won in four games by the Surf.

Each team swept their Best-of-3 semifinals series this week, as the Surf got past No. 4 Northfield Cardinals in two very close games, while Buena needed extra innings on Tuesday night to eliminate No. 3 Absecon.

The Surf slipped past Northfield on Monday, 6-5 in extra innings, and on Tuesday night they scored a 3-1 win to improve to 20-3. The win was the fourth straight for the Surf since a 2-1 loss to the Ventnor Bay Sox on July 14. On Monday, it was former Mainland Regional star Nick Atohi pitching five strong innings before giving way to former Egg Harbor Township High standout Kyle Transue. Another former Eagle, Dave Appolonia, had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth. The Surf got off to a great start with four runs in the first inning, including a bases-loaded double by Dante DiPalma, but Northfield stormed back, tying the game at 5 on a double by Adam McEvoy in the top of the fifth.

The Blue Dawgs, meanwhile, have won nine straight games and in their last four have outscored opponents 29-4. On Tuesday night it took nine innings, but Buena broke open a 1-1 tie in the top of the ninth with a five-run rally to score a 6-1 win and punch their ticket into the finals.

Dante Coia was outstanding for Buena on the hill, allowing just one run in six innings, and Luis Sauri pitched out of trouble in the bottom of the seventh to take the game into extra innings. Jake Guglielmi led off the ninth with a double, and a walk to Jimmy Kurtz and single by Jack Peacock loaded the bases. A fielder’s choice by Yan Sauri and a sacrifice fly from Julian Del Valle gave the Blue Dawgs a 3-1 lead, and Buena tacked on three more runs thanks to walks and a hit batsman. Joey Kurtz pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to seal the victory.

Here’s the schedule for the Championship Series (the Surf play at Birch Grove Park in Northfield, the Blue Dawgs play at Bruno Melini Park in Buena):

Monday: Buena at Surf, 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Surf at Buena, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Buena at Surf, 7 p.m.

Thursday (if necessary): Surf at Buena, 7:30 p.m.

Friday (if necessary): Buena at Surf, 7 p.m.