If you haven’t noticed, an amazing amount of teams are currently riding timely hot streaks as the county tournaments begin to heat up. Here is a look nine squads currently tearing up and it’s no coincidence they are doing so with a combination of pitching and hitting depth.
Don Bosco (15-3) Current win streak: 13
The Ironmen, No. 1 in the MSG Varsity New Jersey Top 15, have spent the last three weeks wearing out opposing pitchers behind a lineup that offers no easy out. Grant Van Orden has wracked up 21 RBI over the last 13 games. Don Bosco roughed up three New York squads last weekend en route to claiming the Northeast Elite Tournament. Anticipate senior ace Tommy Burns to get the ball on Sunday when it tangles with South Jersey powerhouse Gloucester Catholic (13-2) at Provident Bank in Pomona, NY.
Emerson (12-4) Current win streak: 7
Joe Juri (3-1) has accounted for two of the victories during this stretch while Joe Buono has provided an offensive spark. What makes Emerson so effective is that a different hero can emerge on any given day. Frank Parisi (6 doubles), Tyler Pavone (3 doubles), Joe Fisco (2 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs) and Nick Smith have all had big games offensively during the season.
Seton Hall Prep (15-1) Current win streak: 15
The Pirates can credit a quality pitching staff that’s yielded just 34 runs all season. Mike Sheppard III has won four successive decision since suffering a 1-0 loss on Opening Day to Millburn. Bobby Morgenroth (4-0, two shutouts) and Cody McCallum (3-0) bolster the rotation. Nick Mascelli has been absolutely on fire since mid-April, going 12 for 21 with 12 RBI over the last six outings.
Dunellen (14-2) Current win streak: 9
The Destroyers brought No. 5 Middlesex’s run of 17 straight wins to an end on Tuesday courtesy of a 12-6 decision. Casey Wenzel, who has been magnificent on the mound with a 5-0 mark, including a perfect game against Cardinal McCarrick, has collected 39 strikeouts against just 16 hits over 29 innings. Jeff Puckett has nine multiple-hit games.
Metuchen (12-3) Current win streak: 8
A pitching staff that takes pride in recording quality starts takes its lead from Stephen Fortuna (5-0). Fortuna has fired five complete games, setting the tone in the season opener when he needed 69 pitches to fashion an 11-1 victory over South River. Michael Redshaw (4-2) and Jon Petrakakos (3-1) are equally formidable on the hill and these pitchers have an uncanny way of supporting the cause with the bats.
Perth Amboy (13-3) Current win streak: 9
A terrific blend of pitching and hitting has fueled Perth Amboy. Wonder Ortega, Fernando Rosa and Jose Hernandez make a dynamite foundation on the mound while Ismael Paulino, Francis Munoz and Tilson Brito offer plenty of run support.
West Milford (12-3) Current win streak: 8
Senior right fielder Garvin Jones and senior catcher Brady Penvy carry themselves with confidence at the plate, especially with runners on base. Jones has driven in four runs on three different occasions during the string of eight wins. Brian Sondergard and Aidan Stewart have performed exceptionally on the hill.
Cranford (12-2) Current win streak: 8
Traditionally strong, Cranford features a pair of standout hurlers in Kurt Rutmayer and Ryan Williamson, who also happens to wield a dangerous bat. Sean Feeney, Eric Garguilo, Chris Folinusz, Tommy Trotter and Andrew DiFrancesco have all been consistent contributors offensively.
Westfield (12-3) Current win streak: 8
Revered coach Bob Brewster collected his 400th victory on Opening Day for last season’s Group 4 runner-up. Matt Varakian is batting a team-best .500 with Brett Ryan (.461) and James O’Rourke (.403), a top-flight defensive center fielder, in hot pursuit.
Gregg Lerner covers baseball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner