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Finally time to play ball again for area baseball teams

Returning varsity players for the Wildwood High School baseball team include (from left) Ethan Burke, Miguel Claudio, Nick Cripps, Dom Troiano, Josh Vallese and Ernie Troiano.


At slightly past 6 p.m. on Monday, Ben Harris of Middle Township High School fired a pitch to the leadoff hitter from Holy Spirit.

It was the first pitch thrown in a high school baseball game played in Cape May County since May of 2019.

It’s been a long 23 months since we last saw high school baseball in this area, after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all spring sports in 2020.

Things didn’t go very well for Middle after that first pitch, losing 17-3 to one of the state’s best teams. But at least the players got to take the field, something they almost certainly don’t take for granted anymore.

In other games from Monday, Cape May Tech lost 13-3 at St. Joseph and Lower Cape May fell 10-0 at Egg Harbor Township.

Wildwood Catholic is not fielding a team this spring due to low numbers.

The following is a look at each of the area’s high school baseball teams:


Cape May Tech’s roster features only a few names that have been there before, after the program lost eight starters from the 2019 team. But there’s also an intriguing mix of newcomers bringing an infusion of talent to the program.

The Hawks were 7-10 when baseball was last played in 2019 and they hope to be even more competitive this spring under head coach Kyle Morinelli.

Those with varsity experience include seniors Aidan Hofmann (SS/P), Joel Sheptock (P/OF) and Dominic Vitiello (OF) and junior Tyler McDaniels (P/3B/OF). Hofmann and Sheptock have been varsity players since their freshmen seasons.

Newcomers to the varsity include junior Nate Archbold (P), sophomores Sheldon Marsden (C/P), Adam Dille (OF/P), Noah Clemens (C/2B) and Nick Boehm (P/OF) and freshmen Patrick Bean (2B), Tanner Oliva (P/1B), Ronald Neenhold (1B/3B) and Mason Blizzard (C).

The freshmen group is particularly promising; Neenhold (2 for 2, 2 RBI) and Bean combined for all three of the team’s hits in Monday’s loss to St. Joe.

“I expect us to compete in games, even with the lack of high school experience,” Morinelli said. “The underclassmen are very talented and we look forward to seeing them grow throughout the season.”

Morinelli is assisted by Jason Godfrey, Warren Wade, Matt Bean, Marc Sczuzr and Kenny Camp.


Lower Cape May hopes to be competitive this spring after going 4-16 in 2019.

There are a good number of players back with varsity experience, most of whom will pitch in some capacity. They include seniors David MacDonald (OF/P), Aidan Lowry (IF/P), Jackson Schiffbauer (OF/P) and Gabe Salinsky (C/P) and junior Evan Golden (OF/P). MacDonald and Salinsky are serving as team captains.

Among the newcomers, freshmen Hunter Ray (UT/P) and Evan Shoffler (INF) are expected to take on significant roles.

“We’re excited to be back on the field this spring after losing the 2020 season to COVID-19,” fifth-year head coach Ryan Slaney said. “After graduating a great group of kids, the program is excited to welcome some new faces to the roster and build for the future.”

Slaney is assisted by Jeff, Martin and Denny Olson.


Chris Branigan was hired as Middle’s new head coach before last year’s canceled season, replacing 300-game winner Chuck Dougherty, who retired after the 2019 season.

Branigan leads a rather young team this spring. The Panthers bring back only one senior who saw varsity action two seasons ago in Luke Salvo (P/1B). Others with varsity experience include juniors Ryan Gallagher (SS), Owen Hall (2B/OF) and Ben Harris (P/OF). Senior Mike Adelizzi (P/OF) is a first-time varsity player expected to help.

A handful of young players are expected to fill significant roles, including Colin Laughlin and Garrison Clarke.

Branigan is assisted by Erik Arenberg, Chris Russ and Bob Maloney.


Wildwood went 6-12 with a very young team in 2019, so the Warriors are hoping the six players who saw varsity time that season can lead them to greater heights in 2021.

The returning players include seniors Ethan Burke (1B/P), Nick Cripps (C/P) and Miguel Claudio (3B/P) and juniors Josh Vallese (OF/P), Dom Troiano (SS/P) and Ernie Troiano (UT/P).

Others expected to contribute include sophomores Joey Mormile (UT/P) and Al Sanzone (1B/P) and freshmen Junior Hans (UT/P), Ryan Troiano (OF/2B/P), Harley Buscham (OF/3B/P), Daniele Sanzone (OF) and Jaxon Grauel (OF).

Wildwood expects to be deep in pitching. There isn’t a true ace there but the team features a lot of arms expected to throw strikes.

“We have a solid mix of older experienced players with some nice young talent,” 21st-year coach Rich Hans said. “We have a solid defensive team and a lineup that will put the ball in play. We will be competitive.”

Hans is assisted by Randy Sturm, Lorenzo Plaza and Andrew Mormile.

Wildwood opens the season Tuesday at home against Pitman, after the game was rained out Monday.

Lower Cape May’s baseball team will be led by (from left) Phil Jordan, Jackson Schiffbauer, Aidan Lowry, Dave MacDonald and Gabe Salinsky.
Some of the top players for the Middle Township High School baseball team include Owen Hall, Colin Laughlin, Garrison Clarke, Ryan Gallagher and Luke Salvo.