Delran visits Vincentown as RVL opens 67th season
The Rancocas Valley Baseball League kicks off its 67th summer of men’s semipro baseball Monday night — weather permitting — when Delran visits Harry Thompson Field to take on defending champion Vincentown in a rematch of the 2012 playoff finals. This is also the start of the 116th consecutive summer of baseball in the county, starting with the Burlington County League, which existed from 1898 to 1952.
There are always roster changes in this type of league, and that’s again the case in the RVL this year. Taking over for the retired Rocky Petrone at Delran will be a combination of veteran pitchers Eric Gertie and Jason Ronca. Two other changes will see former coach John Veterano trade jobs with former manager Gerry Lamola at Pine Barrens, and Mike Hynes and Matt Mann are now in charge of Riverside, in place of Gabe Mastrangelo Sr.
The nine-team league will again play a 32-game regular season, with each team facing the others four times, twice at home and twice on the road. Following the regular season in early August will be the playoffs to decide the 2013 RVL champion. The eighth- and ninth-place teams will play a play-in game, with the survivor meeting the regular-season champs in a best-of-3 quarterfinal series. The other quarterfinal pairings are second place vs. seventh place, third vs. sixth, and fourth vs. fifth.
The Burlington Mets were regular-season champions in 2012. But they were upset in the semifinals by the Vincentown Merchants, who then swept Delran for their 13th RVL playoff championship.
Here are the 2013 opening-day rosters (in order of 2012 finish):
Manager: Keith Babula
Home: Life Center Academy, Florence
Roster: Keith Babula, Shaun Babula, Vince Corbi, Brandon Elliott, Matt Fischer, Dan Graham, Paul Guerrieri, Kevin Gunter, John Harvey, Vinny James, Lucas Jones, Dave Jost, Mike Kerns, Josh Limon, Mark McCouch, Sean McNeil, Garrett Mull, Anthony Perez, Pedro Perez, Jon Reiner, Kyle Semmel, Carl Taylor, Dan Torres, Jeff Vitale.
Comments: Last year’s regular-season champs (27-3-2) return pitchers Shaun Babula, Harvey, Taylor, Pedro Perez and McNeil, and added Gunter and McCouch. Infielder Dave Jost returns after a year’s absence. Guerrieri hit .487 with 20 RBIs.
Manager: Brett Miller
Home: Memorial Field, Cinnaminson
Roster: Cameron Bahr, Craig Carroll, Casey Donahue, Martin Evans, Vince Gares, Geoff Gilbert, Greg Gilbert, Jim Goodwin, Pat Graham, Matty Janulis, Chris McManus, John Meadus, Nick Melchiorre, Brett Miller, Dennis O’Hanlon, Bob Osborne, Mike Osborne, Greg Santora, Frank Sirolli, Joe Sirolli, Ryan Varga, Mike Wasco, Tim Wasco.
Comments: This was an offseason of major changes for Cinnaminson, although the club’s brotherly base — the Osbornes, Gilberts, Sirollis and Wascos — will keep them near the top. Goodwin topped the staff in 2012 with seven wins.
Manager: Eric Gertie, Jason Ronca
Home: Notre Dame Field, Delran
Roster: Mark Anderson, Kyle Ballay, Mike DeLellis, Mike Forgash, Dan George, Eric Gertie, John Iacovelli, Bobby Isopi, Dave Kittle, TJ Maiorino, Chris Maull, Justin McFadden, Ryan McFadden, Kevin McMenamin, Sean McChesney, Kevin Milley, Max Newill, Rocky Petrone, Jason Ronca, Adam Tussey, Matt Ulmer, Mark Wickersham, Rex Workman.
Comments: Always a team to be feared, with solid veteran pitchers like Ronca, Gertie, Newill, Maull, Wickersham and DeLellis. And CF Ryan McFadden can track ‘em down with the best.
Manager: Harry Thompson
Home: Thompson Field, Vincentown
Roster: Joe Argow, Zeke Boren, Jack Bujanowski, John Bujanowski, Kevin Carty, Todd Davison, Mike Ferrara, Troy Foster, Andrew Gager, Adam Goldstein, Dan Hayduk, Stefan Kancylarz, Ed Moore, Greg Miller, Jesse Pappler, Sam Pepper, Vern Powell, Bryce Sonberg, Ian Thomas, Billy Thompson, Harry Thompson, Damon Valloreo, Danny Williams, Ryan Williams.
Comments: There hasn’t been a repeat playoff champion since Delran in 2007-08. But the Merchants have a history of making their championships back-to-back — 1953-54, 1967-69, 1972-73, 1997-2000. Pepper is coming off a summer when he hit .416 with 13 extra-base hits.
Manager: Dean Johnson
Home: Babe Ruth Field, Delanco
Roster: Brandon Barnes, Brian Black, John Burns, Mike Cooper, Ryan Derry, Kevin Diamond, Mike DiCiurcio, Justin Ely, Ben Fadool, Shane Fox, Connor Hall, Dean Johnson, Jeff McGarry, Paul Meagher, Austin Papp, Cole Pewor, Andrew Schaefer, Trevor Sotelle, Matt Szukics, Mike Tobia.
Comments: If you were looking for a sleeper to break up the RVL’s “Big Four,” Mount Laurel has basically the same team as last summer, plus they added p-1b Ely. Kevin (Meat) Diamond slugged .452 last summer, while Barnes was at .427 and Tobia .379.
Willingboro Baseball Club
Manager: Mike Stumpf
Home: Kennedy Rec Field, Willingboro
Roster: Tyler Bayley, Nick Berarducci, Justin Binder, Frank Caruso, Anthony DiVincenzo, Kevin Faber, Mike Gulli, Devon Hedgepeth, Dan Hill, Mike Juckett, Eddie Kaminski, Cameron Lung, Jose Martinez, Matt Moceri, Craig Ricks, Jamie Schwantes, Dan Sieracki, Rich Stronski, Mark Stumpf, Mike Stumpf, Paul Tessein, Jared Turner, John Walls, Jon Wetzel.
Comments: The WBC had some significant offseason losses, but also added some good players. As always, they will be in the hunt. Hill, who hit .433 last summer with a 4-3 record and 1.24 ERA pitching, has become a bonafide two-way threat.
Manager: John Veterano
Home: Bowker Field, Tabernacle
Roster: Rob Antoniewicz, Connor Arsenault, Greg Brooks, Matt Baer, Josh Brown, Frank Canuso, Chris Dellemonache, Ryan Derry, Shaun Flynn, Bob Henderson, Nick Henderson, Brian Henry, Dylan Johannink, Mike Kondrath, Ron Krankowski, Mike Lamola, Dan Lawrence, Rob McCabe, Rich Powelson, Eric Sellito, JT Triantos, Tyler Veterano, Doug Veterano.
Comments: The Phantoms are another team that could break through this summer. Krankowski (4-4, .387) and Powelson (.342) had solid 2012 campaigns.
Manager: Mike Hynes, Matt Mann
Home: Kenney Field, Riverside
Roster: Bryan Bessinger, Jeff Briggs, Jim Capparelli, Frank Cerami, Kodi Doyle, Buey Garafalo, Joe Gutowski, Mike Hynes, Kevin Joo, Tim Kemmerle, Brett Knazek, Joe Knazek, Matt Leith, Kevin Lovitt, Matt Mann, TJ Mann, Gabe Mastrangelo, Jonnie McGugan, Eric Oliver, Jacob Reeder, Jason Sabol, Josh Sabol, Jake Still, Tyler Wolf.
Comments: In its fourth year, Riverside keeps getting better and better. Most of last year’s team returns, led by Oliver (.481) and TJ Mann (.405).
The team will hold a fundraiser June 1 at Throwbacks Bar and Grill on Route 130 in Delran. Cost is $12 for all the wings (soda included) you can handle between 4 and 6 p.m.
Burlington Township Pirates
Manager: Ed Eifert
Home: Viereck Field, Burlington Township
Roster: Al Antuzzi, Dan Callahan, Steve Colangelo, Phil Dunbar, Brian Eifert, Ed Eifert, Eddie Eifert, Wayne Feret, Eddie Hoffman, Matt Klish, Charles Lavin, Chris Liberatore, TJ Lovenduski, Mike Lynch, Eric McGillivray, Ryan Murtaugh, Joe Parzyck, Dom Perillo, Tom Taggart, Andrew Velzy, Zach Wallace, Mike Zier.
Comments: The first-year Pirates were scrappy all last summer and look to improve during their second season. Feret proved to be a solid center fielder and hit .397, with just three strikeouts in 78 at-bats.