Staff report
Three weeks into the season, the standings in the inaugural season of the South Jersey South Shore Baseball League are beginning to take shape, and a team that started out with two straight losses has quickly righted the ship and is making a run toward first place.
The Northfield Cardinals, who are only a couple of seasons removed from an Atlantic County Baseball League championship, have won six straight heading into tonight’s matchup against Egg Harbor City in Northfield at Birch Grove Park at 7 p.m. The Cardinals beat the Knights, 2-0, on June 8 as Anthony Capasso twirled a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits while striking out seven.
C.J. Brown, another former Mainland Mustang along with Capasso, provided an offensive boost with three hits, including a sixth-inning home run that gave Northfield a 1-0 lead. The Cards followed that up with an 8-5 win over the Galloway Mustangs, and now sit tied for second place with the Buena Blue Dawgs, who recently won the prestigious Bridgeton Invitational Tournament. Both clubs are chasing the South Jersey Surf, formerly the Margate Green Wave in the ACBL. Coach Jeff Ball’s squad has jumped out to a 4-1 start and most recently handed the Egg Harbor City Knights a 10-5 loss as former EHT High pitcher Collin McLaughlin picked up his third win of the season already. Sleiter Suriel, a former standout at Pleasantville High and currently a member of the Atlantic Cape Community College squad, went 2-for-3 with an RBI double to pace the Surf.
The Ventnor BaySox have been one of the surprising teams at the start of the season, as they are 4-2 heading into this week and sitting in fourth place in the 10-team league, behind the Surf, Northfield and Buena. The BaySox have scored a couple of wins over the Somers Point Captains, with former Absegami standout Gabe Gilger getting the win both times.
Matt Karpousis, an Eastern Regional graduate who helped lead the Vikings into a state championship game during his high school days, has been a bright spot for the Captains (1-4) as their leading hitter and pitcher. The Captains, however, will be bolstering their lineup this week and in the weeks to follow with the arrival of some high school standouts from Mainland and Holy Spirit, who have been busy competing in the NJSIAA state playoffs. Shane Solari and Tyler Armstrong are leading Holy Spirit into the Non-Public B state championship game on Wednesday night.
The Egg Harbor Township Eagles, who got off to an 0-4 start, have bounced back with two straight wins, including a 4-3 win over Ventnor last Tuesday. The Eagles rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh to walk it off on a two-run hit by Brian Wright.
Key games coming up: Wednesday, South Jersey Surf at EHT Eagles, doubleheader at Birch Grove Park in Northfield, 6 p.m. Thursday, South Jersey Surf at Northfield Cardinals (Birch Grove Park), 7 p.m. Friday, Absecon Outlaws at Ventnor BaySox, 7 p.m.