Staff Report

As the South Jersey South Shore Baseball League enters the third week in its seven-week regular-season schedule, a couple of teams have started to jump to the top of the standings, most notably the Egg Harbor Township Eagles, a team that struggled a little in the league’s first season a year ago.

EHT has gotten off to a great start, winning two straight games to vault into the No. 1 position in the standings with a 5-1 record, a game ahead of 2021 league champion South Jersey Surf. EHT’s only loss so far this season came against the Surf, who scored a 15-8 win over the Eagles last week.

The Surf have been mashing the ball so far this season, scoring double digits in every game. Last Monday, the Surf scored an 11-2 win over the Northfield Cardinals as Williamstown High product Caden Dulin stroked a grand slam and the Surf also got a pair of home runs by Mainland Regional graduate Logan Petty. Jack Wilkin picked up the win, going three innings, allowing no hits while striking out seven.

On Tuesday, against EHT, the Surf pounded out 15 runs. The offense was led by multiple hits from Jack Heineman, Antonio Caraballo and Dante DiPalma. Then, on Thursday, the Surf beat Ocean City 11-1 in six innings. In that game the Surf belted four home runs, including two by DiPalma, a former starting catcher at EHT High.

BOUNCING BACK: Buena had a tough start to last week, getting shut out 1-0 by Ocean City as Nick Pave threw a complete game for the Water Dogs. Andrew Slade and Denny Brady — both former stars at Buena Regional High, combined to limit Ocean City’s offense to just two hits.

The Blue Dawgs bounced back in a big way against Egg Harbor City, however, pounding out 15 runs in a 15-1 win over the Knights. Jake Guglielmi led Buena’s 14-hit attack with four base knocks and Brady Mike Guzzardo, Jack Peacock and Yan Sauri all finished with a pair of hits.

RISING STAR: Northfield’s Julian Costa has been on a tear on the mound so far. He threw six scoreless innings last Thursday in the Cardinals’ 6-0 win over Buena, helping the Cards improve to 4-2 and move into third place behind EHT and the Surf. Ethan Mesey picked up a pair of saves last week, as Northfield also beat Egg Harbor City 7-0. Former EHT High standout Brandon Riggs got the win in that game, throwing five shutout innings with four strikeouts.

STILL GRINDING: The Somers Point Captains, with a revamped roster, have yet to win a game yet this season but have been knocking on the door. Salem County College product Mike Blackiston has been having an outstanding year and contributed four RBIs in an 8-5 loss to Hammonton last week. His two-run home run in the fourth put the Captains up, 5-4, but the Hot Shots got a big three-run dinger from Gino Serechio to take the lead for good, dropping Somers Point to 0-5. Of the Captains’ five losses, four were by three runs or less, including a 9-8 loss to league-leading EHT.

STANDINGS: Here’s how things are shaping up after the first two weeks of the season: 1. EHT (5-1). 2. South Jersey Surf (3-1)/Absecon (3-1). 4. Northfield (4-2). 5. Ocean City (3-2)/Buena (3-2). 7. Hammonton (2-2). 8. Galloway (1-3). 9. Ventnor (2-4. 10. Egg Harbor City (1-4). 11. Somers Point (0-5).

GAMES TO WATCH: This week kicks off with a big one tonight as Absecon travels to Northfield, with the winner most likely moving into second place in the standings. Also, Buena travels to Ventnor in a game that should feature some scoring with two potent offenses. On Tuesday, Ocean City travels to EHT to take on the first-place Eagles, and on Wednesday Buena visits the South Jersey Surf at Northfield’s Birch Grove Park in a rematch of last year’s championship series. Thursday features Galloway at Somers Point in a battle of two of last year’s expansion teams, and on Friday Galloway turns around and visits Northfield.

For more on the South Jersey South Shore Baseball League, check out the league website at southjerseyssbl.com.