SJ Group 1: Audubon, which has won eight state titles since the advent of NJSIAA playoffs in 1971, appears ready to return to prominence after a few years of early playoff exits. Senior Andrew Fehr, who won his first six decisions is a major mound presence for Audubon. Defending state champion Pennsville is the expected No. 2 seed and is playing its best baseball and will be a formidable competitor.
SJ Group 2: Delran is the top seed and a couple of Colonial Conference schools Haddonfield and West Deptford are No. 2 and No. 3. West Deptford is the defending state champion. Two teams from Ocean County, Manasquan and Manchester Township, are also threats.
SJ Group 3: This looks like a section that could be dominated by the Tri-County Conference. Four of the five projected top seeds are from the Trico – No. 1 Hammonton, No. 2 Highland, No. 4 Deptford and No. 5 Delsea, who have one of the more dominant pitchers in Brad Dobzanski, a Kentucky recruit and candidate for the Major League Baseball Draft.
SJ Group 4: Eastern is the top seed and the Vikings are among many contenders, many from the Olympic Conference American Division. The others are Shawnee, Washington Township and Lenape. Yet there are so many contenders in this Group that nobody should be a prohibitive favorite. Teams such as Vineland, surging Clearview, Toms River North and Southern Regional. Eastern junior outfielder Jack Herman, a Maryland recruit is among the top players in the state and a difference maker.
SJ Non-Public A: Bishop Eustace is the projected top seed but St. Augustine, the first team to beat Gloucester Catholic this year, is a major threat. Two other teams to watch are No. 3 seed Red Bank Catholic and No. 4 Christian Brothers Academy. Eustace has a deep pitching staff, led by sophomore Matt Orlando, who is among the top two-way performers in Group 4.
SJ Non-Public B: Gloucester Catholic is a perennial contender and this year is no different. The Rams are the projected No. 1 seed with St. Rose of Belmar at No. 2. Don’t be surprised if this is the sectional final matchup. Holy Cross, the defending state champion, also bears watching.
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