B4

Saturday, April 20, 2013

T H E D A I LY J O U R N A L

STARTING NINE
Johnny Malatesta is one of the top players on a Vineland team with big expectations this year. The Fighting Clan are meeting those goals early with their 7-1 start. Malatesta took some time to talk to The Daily Journal about the season, beating rival Millville, having his dad for a coach and much more:

Question 1) What are expectations like for Vineland this season? Answer: We want to go into the playoff tournament and obviously do well in that. We want to go as far as winning a state championship if that’s possible. That’s our main goal here. 2) You play a lot of positions on the field. Which is your favorite? A: I really like pitching, honestly. You control the game. It’s the most pressure. I like it. 3) You’re a standout swimmer at Vineland. Do you have a preference between that and baseball? A: They’re both fun when you have success.

They’re both even I guess. It’s nice that one gives me a break from the other. 4) What was it like beating Millville this season for the first time since 2008? A: We came out fired up. It was the main one we wanted to win and I think it jump-started our season. 5) Your dad is your head coach in high school. How is that? A: He doesn’t treat me like a son on the baseball field. I’m just like another player. If I do bad, he’ll tell me. If I do good, he’ll also tell me that too. 6) What is the best thing about going to Vineland High School?

A: Your friends and the athletics. The school offers good academics too. 7) What is your favorite subject in school? A: I like math. 8) Do you have any hobbies outside of scholastic sports? A: Not really... I like to sleep. That’s a good one. 9) Where is your favorite place to play on the road? A: I don’t know. I like playing home the best because we have one of the nicest fields. The night games here are just awesome.

JOHNNY MALATESTA
Vineland Junior P/IF

SOPHOMORE-STRONG

AREA LEADERS
HITTING
Hits Robert Bunton, Buena........................12 Mike Elfreth, St. Augustine .................12 Joe Gatto, St. Augustine .....................12 Johnny Malatesta, Vineland ...............12 Christian Adorno, St. Augustine ..........11 JD Donnelly, Sacred Heart ..................10 Theo Mercurio, Sacred Heart ..............10 Barry Buchowski, St. Augustine............9 Sean Carew, St. Augustine...................9 Christian Cortese, Delsea .....................9 Rocco Lupi, Sacred Heart .....................9 Ryan Piscitelli, St. Augustine ................9 Chris Repice, Sacred Heart ...................9 Denny Brady, Buena ............................8 Jarred Corniell, Buena ..........................8 Jay Higbee, St. Augustine.....................8 Dom Lopez, Buena...............................8 Tyler Chiarello, Cumberland .................8 Jaques Colon, Vineland........................8 Ethan Francis, Schalick.........................8 Andrew Gee, Vineland .........................8 Average Ethan Francis, Schalick .....................667 Daniel Cardona, Schalick .................583 Mike Elfreth, St. Augustine...............545 JD Donnelly, Sacred Heart................526 Christian Cortese, Delsea .................474 Rocco Lupi, Sacred Heart..................474 Robert Bunton, Buena .....................462 Austin Griffie, Cumberland...............462 Johnny Malatesta, Vineland .............462 Christian Adorno, St. Augustine .......458 Barry Buchowski, St. Augustine........450 Theo Mercurio, Sacred Heart ............435 Joe Gatto, St. Augustine...................429 Chip Huber, Schalick ........................429 Tyler Chiarello, Cumberland..............421 Hunter Brelsford, Schalick ................417 Ryan Piscitelli, St. Augustine ............409 Sean Carew, St. Augustine ...............391 Michael Foytik, Cumberland.............389 Adin Kolansky, Delsea......................389 Zach Evans, Cumberland..................385 Eric Stratoti, Schalick........................375 Garrett Mayhew, Cumberland..........368 Denny Brady, Buena ........................364 Jordan Vann, Bridgeton....................357 Roberto Rivera, Millville...................353 Pete Forte, Delsea ............................350 Matt Luisi, Buena .350 Mark Rowan, Vineland ....................350 Runs Marco Rios, Buena .............................12 Christian Adorno, St. Augustine ..........11 Taylor Cheli, Buena.............................10 Jaques Colon, Vineland ......................10 Jason Davis, Bridgeton .......................10 Johnny Malatesta, Vineland ...............10 Barry Buchowski, St. Augustine............9 Robert Bunton, Buena .........................9 Mike Forte, Vineland ............................9 Christian Cortese, Delsea .....................8 Michael Foytik, Cumberland ................8 Garrett Mayhew, Cumberland .............8 Tyler Chiarello, Cumberland .................7 Jarred Corniell, Buena ..........................7 Don Money, Vineland ..........................7 Chris Repice, Sacred Heart ...................7 RBIs Mike Elfreth, St. Augustine .................10 Barry Buchowski, St. Augustine............9 Jaques Colon, Vineland........................8 Joe Gatto, St. Augustine ......................8 Johnny Malatesta, Vineland.................8 Jarred Corniell, Buena ..........................7 JD Donnelly, Sacred Heart....................7 Dom Lopez, Buena...............................7 Joe Brewin, Delsea ..............................6 Taylor Cheli, Buena ..............................6 Ethan Francis, Schalick.........................6 Andrew Gee, Vineland .........................6 Home runs Barry Buchowski, St. Augustine............3 Sean Carew, St. Augustine ...................1 Taylor Cheli, Buena...............................1 Michael Foytik, Cumberland.................1 Austin Griffie, Cumberland ...................1 Chris Repice, Sacred Heart....................1

Young Chiefs are building on impressive start
By Anthony Coppola
acoppola@thedailyjournal.com

enny Brady and Marco Rios weren’t simply freshmen bystanders last year as the Buena Regional High School baseball team made the program’s first-ever run to the Group II state title game. Instead, the duo proved to be key contributors during the Chiefs’ historic campaign that ended with heartbreak in the season finale against Mahwah last June. “It was tough last year, we know how that felt, it didn’t feel good,” said Rios, who had a two-run single in Buena’s 11-4 loss in the state final. “We were close, yet so far, and this year we’re looking to get right back where we were and finish it this time.” Though the Chiefs were led by 2012 graduates Manny Colon, Justin Geri and Anthony Lopez last year, Brady and Rios certainly put themselves on the map in their inaugural season. Rios emerged as one of Buena’s top defenders at second base and hit .258 with 21 runs and 12 RBIs on the season. Brady was even more successful at the plate, batting .301 with 28 hits and 19 RBIs in 93 at-bats. The right-hander also won six games on the mound, posting a 0.53 ERA with 43 strikeouts over 39 innings.

D

Both Brady and Rios pointed to past players as a starting point for their strong play. “It makes everyone want to play to that level, play that one step better,” Rios said of guys like Colon, Geri and Lopez. “They helped us a lot to never stop working and always try to work to get better.” Brady added, “I watched the other players, took advice from them, Marco with the glove, especially, and Lopez with the bat. It was unreal. It was almost like watching two pros and I just tried to model myself after that.” Another year older and wiser to the varsity game, Buena’s pair of talented sophomores are hoping for an even better encore performance. “Our team has the most ridiculous mindset to stay flawless, not make errors and I’ve never seen a more scrappy team in my life,” Brady said. “Everyone is playing by the motto of stay hungry. Every one of us.” With an 8-0 start under their belts, the Chiefs certainly look to be on their way to another routinely successful season. It should come as no surprise that Rios and Brady — along with veterans Robert Bunton, Jarred Corniell, Taylor Cheli and others — are at the root of the team’s impressive first three weeks of the season. “Denny and Marco just both play older

than they are,” Buena coach Harry Grose said. “To do what they did last year as freshmen against really good competition, that just impresses you. They’re just leaders and they’re certainly the kind of kids that could be captains as juniors because they know how to play the game.” Brady and Rios are letting their play do the talking again this year. Both players have bumped up their batting averages from last season, with Brady hitting .364 with five RBIs and Rios batting .300 with a team-leading 12 runs. On the mound, Brady, though currently nursing a sore shoulder, boasts 2-0 record with a 1.50 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 12 innings. Grose is thrilled to possess such a skilled pair of young players that he knows can lead the Chiefs into the future. “Marco will make a mark on this program by the time he’s done here,” Grose said. “When the bell rings, he’s the kind of kid that says ‘Bring it on.’ Marco looks like a senior out there.” Grose has a similar impression of Brady. “He’s effortless when he throws and I think he’s sneaky fast,” Grose said. “He’s cool and calm out there and I think he surprises a lot of hitters. He’s great with the bat, too. There’s no telling what he could do for us.”

Buena’s Denny Brady (left), and Marco Rios, both sophomores, have played a big part in the team’s success this year.
STAFF PHOTO/ CHARLES J. OLSON

PITCHING
Wins Chris Capriotti, Buena ..........................3 Michael Foytik, Cumberland ................3 Chris Oakley, St. Augustine..................3 Denny Brady, Buena ............................2 Jon Cosenza, Delsea ............................2 Chip Huber, Schalick ............................2 Don Money, Vineland ..........................2 Marco Rios, Buena...............................2 Justin Rivera, Vineland.........................2 Zach Warren, St. Augustine..................2 ERA Chris Capriotti, Buena .....................0.00 Chris Oakley, St. Augustine .............0.50 Denny Brady, Buena ........................1.17 Chip Huber, Schalick ........................1.17 Michael Foytik, Cumberland ............1.18 Zach Warren, St. Augustine .............1.36 Mark Rowan, Vineland....................1.40 Justin Rivera, Vineland ....................1.56 Johnny Malatesta, Vineland.............1.91 Strikeouts Steve Steigerwalt, Sacred Heart .........24 Chris Oakley, St. Augustine................20 Joe Gatto, St. Augustine .....................17 Zach Warren, St. Augustine ................17 Jeffrey Soto Balbuena, Bridgeton........16 Michael Foytik, Cumberland ...............15 Kevin Allen, Sacred Heart ...................14 Denny Brady, Buena...........................14 Chris Andrew, Sacred Heart ...............13 Austin Griffie, Cumberland .................13 Chris Capriotti, Buena.........................11 Johnny Malatesta, Vineland................11 Justin Rivera, Vineland........................11 *All stats submitted by coaches through Wednesday

LOCAL POLL
m1. St. Augustine (6-2) — Hermits hit some tough luck lately, but remain areas top team for now. m2. Vineland (7-1) — Big win over Holy Spirit for the Fighting Clan on Thursday. m3. Buena (7-1) — Loss to Ocean City loosens Chiefs’ grip on CAL National. m4. Delsea (5-2) — Crusaders hung tough with Gloucester Catholic in a 2-0 loss this week. m5. Cumberland (5-2) — Colts continue to hit the ball and are getting good pitching. m6. Sacred Heart (3-4) — Lions have lost three straight games since April 13. *Records thru Thursday

MEAN 15
1. Gloucester Catholic ......................12-1 2. Bishop Eustace ................................9-1 3. Eastern ..............................................8-1 4. Lenape...............................................5-1 5. Audubon ..........................................6-0 6. Shawnee...........................................7-2 7. St. Augustine...................................6-2 8. Washington Township..................7-3 9. Cherokee..........................................5-2 10. Rancocas Valley.............................6-0 11. Sterling ............................................7-1 12. Delsea..............................................5-2 13. Vineland..........................................7-1 14. Buena...............................................7-1 15. Williamstown ................................6-2 *Records thru Thursday

St. Augustine pitcher Zach Warren is congratulated during a win over Hammonton on April 10. The Hermits are clinging to the top spot in the local poll. STAFF PHOTO/CHARLES J. OLSON

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