By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA – When the Lower Cape May Regional and Wildwood high school baseball teams faced one another earlier this season, there weren’t many pitching highlights.
The teams’ pitchers combined to walk 17 batters while also hitting six others in Wildwood’s 10-7 victory.
The pitching was markedly better when the teams met again on Monday.
Lower’s Evan Shoffler and Wildwood’s Ernie Troiano were sharp for their respective clubs. In the end, Shoffler was just a bit better as Lower Cape May posted a 2-1 victory.
Shoffler, a sophomore, pitched 6 ⅔ innings, scattering three hits while striking out six against three walks. Lower sophomore Hunter Ray recorded the final out via strikeout for the save. Shoffler was lifted only because he had reached the 110-pitch limit.
“His last few outings, he’s been lights out,” Lower coach Ryan Slaney said of Shoffler. “It’s a shame he reached his limit there and couldn’t pitch to the last batter. He’s really put the team on his shoulders. He’s stepped up big time and given us the opportunity to win the last four, five times he’s pitched.”
Shoffler also had a hit and his courtesy runner, freshman Aydan Heacock, scored both of Lower Cape May’s runs. The winning run came across on Ray’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth.
Both teams had multiple opportunities to score. Shoffler pitched out of two first-and-second jams in separate innings, while Troiano got out of bases-load and second-and-third trouble in separate innings as well.
Troiano gave up four hits and just one earned run in five innings. Joey Mormile pitched a scoreless sixth for Wildwood.
Jake Kronemeyer’s infield single in the first scored Heacock after Shoffler reached on an error and Ray doubled to right field.
Wildwood (8-11) tied the game in the second on Harley Buscham’s RBI groundout.
Lower Cape May (8-13) snapped a six-game losing streak to the Warriors.
“It’s always nice to have this local rivalry stuff,” Slaney said. “It was nice to get this one at home.”
The contest featured two extremely young teams. The clubs combined to start nine freshmen and sophomores, with four other freshmen and sophomores seeing action in the game.