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RVL Action: Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Harvey leads Burlington to sixth win

John Harvey struck out 13 and allowed four hits in for Burlington’s 6-1 win over Burlington Township.  Harvey’s gem paced the Mets to their sixth win without a loss. Kyle Semmel was 3-for-3; Shaun Babula, Sean Gusrang and Justin McFadden had two hits each. Matt Hill had two RBIs and Pedro Perez scored two runs.  Township’s run was batted in by Eddie Kotch.

RVL Action: Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Babula leads Burlington to fifth win

Shaun Babula pitched a three-hitter for Burlington in a 6-0 win over Willingboro.  Babula struck out five as Burlington boosted its record to 5-0. The Mets are two-time defending league champions.  He also was one of three Mets with two hits. Justin McFadden was 2-for-2 and scored two runs, and Matt Hill was 2-for-3 with one RBI.

RVL Action: Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Cinnaminson posts second victory

Connor Hall hit a grand slam in Cinnaminson's 14-2 win over Burlington Township.  Hall had three hits and Mike Wasco homered as Cinnaminson won for the second time in as many games. Wasco had two hits, walked twice and batted in four runs.  Jim Goodwin was the winning pitcher in relief, allowing one hit and striking out four in three innings.

RVL Action: Monday, May 18, 2015

Gusrang paces Burlington to fourth triumph

Sean Gusrang was 3-for-3 in helping Burlington remain undefeated with a 6-5 win over Riverside.  Gusrang tripled, doubled, batted in two runs and scored twice as the Mets improved to 4-0. Matt Hill had two hits and scored the winning run in the bottom of the fifth inning, which turned out to be the end of the game because of approaching darkness.  Ryan Bell was the winning pitcher in relief, working 3 2/3 scoreless and hitless innings (four strikeouts).

Willingboro tops Vincentown

Bill Parave did a little bit of everything in the Willingboro Townsends' 9-1 victory over the Vincentown Merchants.  Parave pitched the first five innings, allowing three hits and one unearned run. He had four hits and drove in two runs.  Erik Danser added two RBIs and Drew Rodriguez had a pair of hits.

RVL Notebook

Courtesy of Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times

Gilder Park deserves a place

Bordentown’s Gilder Park was 9 years old when the Rancocas Valley Baseball League was created in 1946.  Built in 1937 with money from FDR’s Works Progress Administration, it is a jewel that sits just off Route 206 North, basically unused. The Bordentown High junior varsity plays there, as does the Bordentown Post 26 American Legion team. And there’s a men’s adult 25-and-over team that uses it Sunday mornings.

But the RVL, one of the best men’s adult leagues in New Jersey, hasn’t used Gilder Park in years, since the powerhouse Koenig Oilers teams of the 1960s and early ’70s.  “Gilder Park ... that’s a beautiful field, well taken-care of,” said Vincentown player-manager Harry Thompson, who has been in the RVL since its inception. “We used to play there against the Oilers. We had some great games up there.”

 

The Oilers were led by a tall pitcher out of Rider College named Jack Madden, who pitched in the minor leagues and later became an NBA referee.  The Koenig Oilers won the RVL playoff title in 1960, 1962, 1966 and 1970. The Merchants won in 1967-69, and Cinnaminson won the first of its 17 titles in 1971. 

 

The question then is, if one of the best leagues in the state is in Burlington County and one of the best fields is in Burlington County, can anything be done to get them together?   Willingboro manager Mike Stumpf tried to get Gilder for some home games last summer, but the request was turned down.

 

Most players would prefer playing at, say, Arm & Hammer Field in Trenton or Campbell’s Field in Camden or TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, with all of their amenities, to playing in some ancient ballyard with a Port-o-John in left field, concrete bleachers and no shade. 

 

But not all of them.  “My guess is most guys would say they prefer the newer fields,” said Burlington’s Shaun Babula, the RVL’s best player the last few years, adding, “not me.”  Some people understand the allure of a field like Gilder Park. The only thing it doesn’t have is a covered grandstand, like at Harry Thompson Field in Vincentown.

 

This and that

·        By the end of this week, the Burlington Township Pirates will have played Vincentown twice, Burlington twice and Cinnaminson once. Facing the league’s three juggernauts would be a tough schedule for anybody.  But especially for Ed Eifert’s Pirates, their fourth-year manager.  “We have to play everybody five times,” Eifert said, philosophically.  The Pirates, who have been sponsored by the Lucas Auto Group since they joined the league in 2012, are coming off three long, hot summers.  Eli Mireles stroked a solo home run off Burlington’s Max Newill on Friday night — the fourth in team history, after Mike Zier in 2012, and Jazz Hendrick and Phil Dunbar in 2014.

 

·        Thompson is very upbeat this summer, partly due to the return of Greg Miller and Stefan Kancylarz, but mostly because of his pitching staff.  “We’ve got eight starters and two relievers,” he said. “Bring it on, baby.”  One of his new pitchers — Matt Weaver — could see his first action Monday night under the V-town lights against Willingboro. The Browns Mills native is a veteran of the Atlanta Braves’ minor-league system.

RVL Action: Friday, May 15th, 2015

Burlington Mets win third straight

 

John Harvey and Pete Perez had three hits each for the Burlington Mets in a 14-1 win over Burlington Township.  The victory boosted the Mets' record to 3-0. Perez batted in two runs and Harvey scored two runs.  Max Newill made his season debut on the mound, worked 4 2/3 innings for the win and struck out six.  Paul Guerrieri and Justin McFadden hit home runs, and combined for five RBIs. Sean Gusrang had two RBIs and Shawn Babula scored three runs.  Eli Mireles hit a home run for Township.  

RVL Action Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bell, James lead Burlington to second win

Ryan Bell pitched into the sixth inning Thursday and Vinny James led the offense in the Burlington Mets' 6-0 win over Riverside.  Bell worked 5 2/3 innings, struck out six, walked none and allowed one hit as the defending league champions improved to 2-0.James had three hits and batted in three runs, Pedro Perez had two hits and scored twice and Kyle Semmel had two hits and stole two bases.

Vincentown 19, Burlington Township 1

Dave Gibbons struck out eight in a five-hitter and was backed by an attack that featured four hits by Greg Miller. Jim Best hit a home run for V-Town.

RVL Action: Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Cinnaminson gets past Willingboro

Kyle Ballay and Kyle Higgins each had two doubles and a triple as the Cinnaminson Reds posted an 8-5 victory over the Willingboro Townsends.  The Reds took a 6-0 lead into the fifth inning, behind starter Clinton Hart. But the Townsends closed to within 6-5 on Jose Martinez’s RBI single and an RBI double by Rich Stronski. Jim Goodwin relieved and got the save.  Back-to-back triples by Ballay and Higgins in the bottom of the sixth produced one run, and Geoff Gilbert’s single drove home the final run.

RVL Action: Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Vincentown 14, Burlington Township 5:

Jack Bujanowski and Zeke Boren had three hits apiece as the Merchants won their opener.  Scott Wilhelm worked three scoreless relief innings and got the win when Vincentown rallied. Burlington Township highlights included two hits by Matt Klish and a two-run single by Eli Mireles.

RVL Action: Monday, May 11th, 2015

Burlington Wins Opener

Vinny James’ two hits and three RBIs helped Burlington start the season with an 11-7 win at Riverside in the Rancocas Valley Baseball League season opener.  Sean Gusrang celebrated his return to the Mets with two hits and scored three runs. Matt Hill had two RBIs for the two-time defending league champs and Shaun Babula was the winning pitcher.  Joe Knazek had two RBIs and Jason Sabol added one for Riverside.

 

2015 RVL Preview

May 11, 2015

By Bruce Johnson Staff Writer, Burlington County Times

The 2015 Rancocas Valley Baseball League season kicks off Monday evening with the defending playoff champion Burlington Mets playing the Riverside Patriots at Bob Kenney Field, 6:15 p.m. first pitch.

It is the 69th season for the league, and also the 69th season — as a player and manager — for Vincentown’s Harry Thompson. He started as a V-town player in 1946, two years before the building of the field that now bears his name.

The RVL lost one team during the offseason, when Mount Laurel dropped out. Surprisingly, only four of its players were picked up by the remaining teams.

With just seven teams, the league has adopted a new playoff format for its annual “August in V-town” experience. The team that finishes in first place during the regular season will get a first-round bye in the playoffs.

“There were a couple of options on the table, but that’s the one we decided to go with,” RVL president Ric Babula said. “It will make the regular season more important.”

The RVL will once again play the Pen-Del League in a midsummer all-star game. Last year’s game ended in a tie.

Rosters

In predicted order of finish

Burlington Mets

Manager: Keith Babula

2014: 22-5-1, second place; won playoffs

Home field: Life Center Field, Florence

Roster: Keith Babula of, Shaun Babula p-of, Ryan Bell p-if-of, Casey Donahue 2b, Brandon Elliott p, Matt Fischer c, Ronnie Grant of, Paul Guerrieri c-1b, Sam Guckin p-if; Kevin Gunter p, Sean Gusrang if, Marshall Harden 3b-p, John Harvey p, Matt Hill of, Vinny James c-of, Matt Jolly if, Justin McFadden of-c, Sean McNeil of-p;

Garrett Mull of, Max Newill p, Andy Noga p, Anthony Perez of, Pedro Perez ss, Jon Reiner 1b, Kyle Semmel of, Jon Wilkins p.

Outlook: Dom Gallone, Dan Hennigan, Zach Skidmore, Carl Taylor and Dave Viselli are gone. But Paul Guerrieri and Jon Reiner (injured last year) and Sean Gusrang (Independent ball the last two years) return. And adding Riverside High’s Sam Guckin to a pitching staff that already includes Shaun Babula, John Harvey, Ryan Bell, Jon Wilkins, Max Newill, Kevin Gunter, Marshall Harden, Andy Noga, Pedro Perez, Sean McNeil and Brandon Elliott is almost a 15-yard penalty for piling on.

Cinnaminson Reds

Manager: Brett Miller

2014: 23-4-1, first place; lost in playoff final

Home field: Memorial Park, Cinnaminson

Roster: Kyle Ballay if, Craig Carroll p, John Dockins ss, Bill Dove c, Eric Gertie p, Geoff Gilbert of, Greg Gilbert 2b, Jim Goodwin p;

Anthony Guido p, Connor Hall 1b, Clinton Hart p, Kyle Higgins 2b, Matt Janulis 1b, Brett Miller p, Dennis O’Hanlan 3b, Cole Pewor if; Christian Rahman p, Alex Sankey p, Greg Santoro p, Frank Sirolli of, Joe Sirolli of, Jeff Vitale if, Mike Wasco of-1b-dh, Tim Wasco if, Mark Wickersham 3b-p.

Outlook: Frank Sirolli will miss the 2015 season after an injury suffered in last year’s York Tournament, and the fleet center fielder is a big loss. In addition, side-armed righty Ryan Varga is not on an RVL roster for the first time since 1999, and slugger Dan Gavlik (.441, 24 RBI) did not return. But shed no tears for the Reds, because EVERYBODY else is back, and Brett Miller added Connor Hall and Cole Pewor from the defunct Mount Laurel team. Cinnaminson can nearly match Burlington in pitching depth, with Craig Carroll, Eric Gertie, Jim Goodwin, Anthony Guido, Clinton Hart, Christian Rahman, Alex Sankey and Greg Santoro.

Vincentown Merchants

Manager: Harry Thompson

2014: 11-15, tied for fifth place

Home field: Harry Thompson Field, Southampton

Roster: Joe Argow p, Jim Best of-c, Zeke Boren p-if, Jack Bujanowski of-dh, John Bujanowski of, Frank Cerami p-3b, Pat Donnelly 2b; Mike Ferrara dh, Dave Gibson p, James Hoff of, Stefan Kancylarz ss, Andrew Lydon if, Greg Miller 3b-p, Jesse Pappler 1b; Reid Pulford c, Allan Smith p, Dave Stieb p, Ian Thomas of-c, Harry Thompson dh, Damon Valloreo p, Scott Wilhelm p.

Outlook: A busy offseason saw nine players released, including veterans Kevin Carty, Troy Foster, Vern Powell, Danny Williams, Ryan Williams and Rex Workman. But Harry Thompson fully expects his 60th year in the RVL to be an improvement. The veteran manager expects the return of Stefan Kancylarz and Greg Miller to give him what could be the league’s best shortstop-third base combination. The acquisition of stud catcher Reid Pulford, who caught Merchants teammate Dave Stieb at West Chester University, will be an upgrade, too. And the pitching, with Stieb, Joe Argow, Zeke Boren, Dave Gibson, Allan Smith, Scott Wilhelm, Damon Valloreo and Riverside pickup Frank Cerami will be a strength.

Pine Barrens Phantoms

Manager: Gerry Lamola

2014: 17-10-1, third place

Home field: Patty Bowker Field, Tabernacle

Roster: Tyler Allison 2b-of, Mason Anderson p, Connor Arsenault if-of, Cameron Bahr c-1b, Kyle Brown p-of, Alex Campbell c-1b, Anthony Coniglio p, Mike Cogliano p; Matt Curry p, Ryan Derry p, Trent Fiori, Mike Follett cf, Vince Gares 2b-of, Nick Goetz, Nick Henderson p-of, Tyler Kaiser 3b;

Ronnie Krankowski p-of-1b, Ryan Krupa 2b, Austin Kurey, Mike Lamola of, Alec Marconi p, Dylan Mengal, Shane Pastore if-of, Eric Sellito rf.

Outlook: The Phantoms have two new sponsors — Mall Chevrolet and American Sheds — and they have to replace key players in Phil Shellenberger (.417) and Rich Powelson, and pitchers Mike Kondrath and Louis Aikins. But Gerry Lamola returns some top players, too, like Ronnie Krankowski, Tyler Kaiser, Eric Sellito, Nick Henderson, Mike Follett, Cameron Bahr and Alex Campbell. Mason Anderson was 7-1 last year as an RVL “rookie.”

Willingboro Townsends

Manager: Mike Stumpf

2014: 11-15, tied for fifth place

Home field: J.F. Kennedy Rec Center, Willingboro

Roster: Bryan Bessinger ss, Justin Binder if-of, Nick Cancelliere p, Jorge Clavo p, Erik Danser 1b-p, Kevin Faber p, Jordan Glover of, Kazon Godwin of;

Mike Gulli c, Aiden Hernandez p, Dan Hill if-p, Mike Juckett p, Jose Martinez c, Wilbert Martinez p, Connor MacFarlane p, C.J. McNutt p; Kellen Peter 1b-dh, Drew Rodriguez of, Jamie Schwantes dh-1b, Matt Speckmann ss-of, Rich Stronski of, Mark Stumpf 2b, John Walls of, Jon Wetzel of-dh.

Outlook: Change was in the air in the RVL offseason, but the Boro Boys return almost their entire starting team and most of their pitchers. That means Willingboro will be a tough opponent, especially come “August in V-town” — the RVL playoffs.

Riverside Patriots

Manager: Kodi Byrnes, Mike Hynes

2014: 12-15-1, fourth place

Home field: Bob Kenney Field, Riverside

Roster: Brandon Barnes of, Chaz Briggs 2b, Jeff Briggs of-1b, Cullen Carter 3b, Harry Cicale of, Dan Coughlin p, Tyler Dipascal ss, Jesse Fante p-1b, Alex Forte p;

Joe Gutowski p, Dan Hornyak p, Kevin Joo p, Brett Knazek 3b-1b, Joe Knazek c, Brett McLaughlin c, Jon McGugan c, Eric Oliver of;

Jacob Reeder 1b, Jason Sabol of, Josh Sabol ss, Donnie Strain of, Tyler Wolf of, Taylor Zackman of.

Outlook: Another basically-the-same roster, with the solid addition of Mount Laurel outfielder Brandon Barnes. The Knazek brothers, Brett and Joe, are dirty-uniform guys at third base and catcher, while 2014 saw big-time performances by cf Jeff Briggs, lf Eric Oliver and ss Josh Sabol. Pitching, as it does in baseball at every level, will be the difference, and the return of lefty Kevin Joo immediately improves the staff.

Burlington Township Pirates

Manager: Ed Eifert

2014: 1-26, eighth place

Home field: Viereck Field, Burlington Twp.

Roster: Ian Biluck c-if, Matt Chimiego p-1b, Phil Dunbar 1b-p-dh, Brian Eifert if-p, Ed Eifert of, Eddie Eifert if, Wayne Feret of, Luke Hendricks of-p; Eddie Hoffman if-p, Matt Horton p-1b, Jake Kaighn of-p, Matt Klish if-p, Eddie Kotch of, Zach Lang p-1b, Devin McDermott c-1b-dh; Eli Mireles of, Joe Parzyck c-of, Zack Schuyler p-if, Dennis Stewart 1b-of-p, Jeremy Swanson of, Dave Torres if-of, Mike Zier of-if-p.

Outlook: A busy offseason saw Eifert clear house, releasing nine players from the roster. Wayne Feret and Mike Zier return to supply the offense for the Pirates. The Eifert brothers, Eddie and Brian, are solid guys, and Burlington Township High star Zack Schuyler should provide an infusion of youthful enthusiasm.


Upcoming Games

Monday,  May 25
RVL 2015
Burlington Mets @ Vincentown Merchants 7:00pm Harry W. Thompson Field
Wednesday,  May 27
RVL 2015
Vincentown Merchants @ Cinnaminson Reds 7:30pm Cinnaminson Memorial Park
Thursday,  May 28
RVL 2015
Cinnaminson Reds @ Riverside Patriots 6:15pm Bob Kenney Field
Willingboro Townsends @ Burlington Mets 6:15pm Life Center Academy
Pine Barrens Phantoms @ Burlington Twp Pirates 6:30pm Pinewald Field
Sunday,  May 31
RVL 2015
Vincentown Merchants @ Burlington Twp Pirates 6:00pm Pinewald Field
Burlington Mets @ Cinnaminson Reds 7:00pm Cinnaminson Memorial Park
Monday,  Jun 1
RVL 2015
Riverside Patriots @ Burlington Mets 6:15pm Life Center Academy
Pine Barrens Phantoms @ Vincentown Merchants 8:00pm Harry W. Thompson Field
Tuesday,  Jun 2
RVL 2015
Riverside Patriots @ Willingboro Townsends 6:15pm Kennedy Recreation Center Field
Cinnaminson Reds @ Burlington Twp Pirates 7:00pm Pinewald Field
Wednesday,  Jun 3
RVL 2015
Pine Barrens Phantoms @ Cinnaminson Reds 7:00pm Cinnaminson Memorial Park

For a complete schedule listing, click here!