Courtesy of Bruce Johnson, Burlington County Times
RVL Notebook: It's 'Play ball" for RVL's 68th season
The long and winding road to “August in V-town” — the Rancocas Valley League playoffs — begins Monday night when Riverside travels east for an 8 p.m. game against the Vincentown Merchants. This will be the 68th season of the RVL, and the 117th consecutive summer of organized semipro baseball in Burlington County. Of course, winning the regular season and winning the playoffs have not been a match recently. In fact, over the last five summers, only the Burlington Mets in 2010 have won both titles in the same year. Vincentown and Burlington finished 1-2 in the regular season last year, then flip-flopped in the playoffs with Burlington beating Vincentown. The regular season ends July 29 and the playoffs are scheduled to start Aug. 2, when four games Saturday and four more Sunday start things with a bang. Here are the rosters, in order of last year’s regular-season finish, with comments.
Manager: Harry Thompson
Home field: Harry Thompson Field, Vincentown
Roster: Joe Argow, Zeke Boren, Jack Bujanowski, John Bujanowski, Kevin Carty, Mike Ferrara, Troy Foster, Adam Goldstein, Greg Miller, Jon Morrow, Jesse Pappler, Sam Pepper, Vern Powell, Eric Shugars, Al Smith, Bryce Sonberg, Dave Stieg, Ian Thomas, Billy Thompson, Harry Thompson, Damon Valloreo, Danny Williams, Ryan Williams, Rex Workman.
Outlook: Losing Greg Miller to the independent Camden Riversharks leaves a monster hole at third base and the cleanup spot. But Harry Thompson returns the rest of his lineup — with Rex Workman, formerly of Delran, replacing Jesse Pappler at first.
Manager: Ric Babula, Keith Babula
Home field: Life Center Academy, Florence
Roster: Keith Babula, Shaun Babula, Ryan Bell, Brandon Elliott, Matt Fischer, Dominic Gallone, Ronnie Grant, Paul Guerrieri, Kevin Gunter, Marshall Harden, John Harvey, Vinny James, Matt Jolly, Garrett Mull, Max Newill, Anthony Perez, Pedro Perez, Jon Reiner, Kyle Semmel, Zach Skidmore, Carl Taylor, Dave Viselli, Jon Wilkins.
Outlook: Mike Kerns opted for independent baseball and Jeff Vitale is now with Cinnaminson, but Burlington’s deep pitching staff — Shaun Babula, John Harvey, Carl Taylor, Pedro Perez, Jon Wilkins and Kevin Gunter — got deeper with the additions of Max Newill (Delran) and Marshall Harden.
Manager: Mike Stumpf
Home field: J.F. Kennedy Rec Center, Willingboro
Roster: Tyler Bayley, Bryan Bessinger, Justin Binder, Brian Camp, Fran Caruso, Kevin Faber, Kazon Godwin, Mike Gulli, Dan Hill, Mike Juckett, Jose Martinez, Wilbert Martinez, Connor McFarlane, Matt Moceri, Pat Moran, Sam Nocito, Craig Ricks, Jamie Schwantes, Matt Speckman, Rich Stronski, Mark Stumpf, Mike Stumpf, John Trotman, John Walls, Jon Wetzel.
Outlook: With slugger Matt Moceri back in the lineup and most of last year’s third-place team returning, this could be a big year for coach Mike Stumpf.
Manager: Dean Johnson
Home field: Babe Ruth Field, Delanco
Roster: Brandon Barnes, Brian Black, Kurtis Burnett, John Burns, Niko Celia, Mike Cooper, Ryan Derry, Kevin Diamond, William Di Curcio, Justin Ely, Ben Fadool, Connor Hall, Dean Johnson, Ken Kraft, Rich Leadbeater, Ryan McFadden, Jeff McGarry, Paul Meagher, Austin Papp, Cole Pewor, Andrew Shaefer, Trevor Sotell, Matt Szukics, Mike Tobia.
Outlook: Coach Dean Johnson might have his best team since 2007, when it lost in the playoff finals. Everybody is back, and it added speedy center fielder Ryan McFadden when Delran folded. It improved to 7-21-2 in 2012 to 15-12 last year.
Manager: Mike Hynes
Home field: Kenney Field, Riverside
Roster: Jeff Briggs, Frank Cerami, Dan Coughlin, Tyler DiPascale, Jesse Fante, Tyler Freeman, Joe Gutowski, Pat Hayduk, Dan Horniak, Alex Humes, Tim Kemmerle, Dante Keys, Brett Knazek, Joe Knazek, Matt Leith, Kevin Lovitte, Matt Mann, Kevin McAdams, Jonnie McGugan, Eric Oliver, Jason Sabol, Josh Sabol, Donnie Strain, Tyler Wolf.
Outlook: Another team that made a huge improvement, from 12-20-3 in 2012 to 13-16-1 last year. All the key players return, along with former player-coach Donnie Strain.
PINE BARRENS PHANTOMS
Manager: Gerry Lamola
Home field: Patty Bowker Field, Tabernacle
Roster: Mason Anderson, Matt Baer, Cameron Bahr, Alex Campbell, Anthony Coniglio, Matt Curry, Mike Follet, Jerry Gares, Vince Gares, Nick Henderson, Bryan Henry, Tyler Kaiser, Mike Kondrath, Ronnie Krankowski, Ryan Krupa, Gerry Lamola, Mike Lamola, Alec Marconi, Shane Pastore, Eric Sellito, Phil Shallenberger, Brandon Triantos, JT Triantos.
Outlook: The team went 4-30 in 2012 as Pemberton, then changed their name and went 10-19-1 last year. There was a massive roster overhaul, but many key guys — Nick Henderson, Bryan Henry, Mike Kondrath, Ron Krankowski, Eric Sellitto, JT Triantos — will be in Tabernacle.
Manager: Brett Miller
Home field: Memorial Park, Cinnaminson
Roster: Craig Carrol, John Dockins, Bill Dove, Dan Gavlik, Eric Gertie, Geoff Gilbert, Greg Gilbert, Jim Goodwin, Antonio Guido, Clinton Hart, Kyle Higgins, Matt Janulis, Chris McManus, John Meadus, Brett Miller, Dennis O’Hanlan, Christian Rahman, Alan Sanky, Greg Santora, Frank Sirolli, Joe Sirolli, Ryan Varga, Jeff Vitale, Tim Wasco, Mike Wasco.
Outlook: The Reds went from 25-10 in 2012 to 11-15 last year, finishing eighth and playing in the play-in game. There were some major roster losses, but manager Brett Miller expects to be in title contention.
BURLINGTON TWP. PIRATES
Manager: Ed Eifert
Home field: Viereck Field, Burlington Township.
Roster: Kyle Batie, Ken Brock, Ian Buluck, Dan Callahan, Nick Cancelliere, Joey Dash, Phil Dunbar, Brian Eifert, Eddie Eifert, Ed Eifert Sr., Wayne Feret, Zach Gould, Jazz Hendrick, Eddie Hoffman, Aaron Jones, Lucas Jones, Matt Klish, Charlie Lavin, CJ McNutt, Ryan Murtaugh, Joe Parzyck, Giancarlo Regni, Ace Robinson, Mike Zier.
Outlook: It was another long summer for manager Ed Eifert, but he has added a couple of veteran arms — Jazz Hendrick and Ace Robinson — to help Nick Cancelliere. Wayne Feret is solid.