By Brian Deakyne
EATONTOWN – With a loss in the championship series fresh in their memory, the Jersey Shore Bucks will look to go a step further in 2013.
In their inaugural run through the Jersey Shore Baseball League last season, the Bucks opened the season out quick and faded late. They won the last game of the season over the Jersey Shore Marlins to squeak into the playoffs and upset the Colts Neck Braves and Point Merchants en route to the championship series.
Now, with the bulk of their lineup returning with JSBL experience, the Bucks are hoping to establish themselves again as one of the premier teams in the league.
The Bucks are bringing back two of their biggest players from last season: pitcher Cory Hawes and catcher Keith Weinkofsky. Hawes was Jersey Shore’s go-to ace last year, finishing with a 14-4 record over the two-and-a-half month season. Weinkofsky was just as big at the plate, as he hammered 16 home runs with 31 RBI.
The Bucks have plenty of new faces joining the roster in 2013, as well. Christian Brothers Academy ace and Wake Forest recruit, John McCarren will join the Bucks pitching staff this summer. The staff will also include Rutgers University pitcher Nate Roe, who joined the team last season as he was rehabilitating his arm after Tommy John surgery. Roe became valuable toward the end of the season last summer, and the Bucks are hoping that he can be just as important this time around.
Red Bank short stop Ross Gisondi is joining the Bucks’ infield this year, along with Point Beach catcher Dan Pfefferkorn. The Bucks added youthful talent in Monsignor Donovan third baseman James Meyreles, Monsignor Donovan pitcher and right fielder Rich Power and Brick Memorial first baseman Kyle Skoog.
The Bucks opened the season on June 1 with a 5-1 win over the Point Pirates. They lost back-to-back games to Ocean Baseball, 5-2, and the Pirates 1-0, to fall to 1-2. They will play the Jackson Blue Jays at 1 p.m. on Sunday and the Toms River Tigers at 6 p.m. on Monday in a rematch of last year’s championship series.
Jersey Shore Baseball Club is a baseball program based out of Eatontown that features one-on-one instruction, team training, and a weight room.