Tuckerton/Little Egg Harbor Leader Spring Sports Previews

Ex-Wildcat Star Now at the Helm of Pinelands Regional Baseball

Apr 05, 2019

A solid core of seniors is a key to success in what new head baseball coach Justin Loomis says is a “difficult B-South Conference.” Last year, the Wildcats were 9-10 (8-6 in the B-South).

Loomis moves up from his assistant coach position in replacing Rich Sanzari. He was an all division selection in his senior year at Pinelands in 2001. Loomis went on to play four years at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania, where he earned numerous post-season honors playing various positions.

Leading the Wildcats are three four-year starters – shortstop Joey Ventresca, pitcher Noah Dean and infielder Anthony Diaz.

Ventresca batted .485 and drove in 11 runs. He also pitched, going 0-4 with a 3.62 ERA. Dean was 2-2 with a 3.70 ERA. In 30 innings, he struck out 52 batters. Diaz hit .343 with 23 runs scored, eight RBIs and seven stolen bases.

Loomis said other starters include senior outfielder Bobby LeFevre, senior pitcher/first baseman Pete Hammond, senior second baseman Billy Crawford, junior infielder/pitcher Bryce O’Rourke and junior pitcher/first baseman Pat Apgar.

LeFevre batted. 233 with five RBIs, while Crawford hit .237 with six RBIs. O’Rourke batted .270 and knocked in 11 runs.

Newcomers looking for playing time include senior secondbaseman Michael LoPiccolo, senior pitcher/outfielder Ricky O’Brien, junior infielder Matt Cox, junior outfielder Cade Farmer, sophomore outfielder Jack Lawrie, sophomore outfielder Jon Levy, sophomore outfielder Robert Plant, sophomore catcher Alex Ulrich, sophomore first baseman Anthony Weedo and freshman infielder/pitcher Rian O’Rourke.

“We have a terrific group of seniors who are leading by example and working harder than I have ever seen before,” said Loomis. “They are motivated, determined ,and the energy around practice has been great, upbeat and positive. Also, we bring back some experienced varsity players who have put in significant amounts of time in the off-season.”

The new head coach said the Wildcats have “strong, talented pitchers” and the team defense “should be very solid.”

“Our hitters look physicially stronger and look to improve on last season,” he said. “Practices have been energetic, efficient and effective. Our first few scrimmages have been good. We are trying to get better every day, take it one day at a time, and looking for much success this season.”

— Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.