While many towns struggle to get enough players to field summer baseball teams, South Brunswick did its best to pick up the slack.
South Brunswick had four summer teams for players of high school age. In addition to an American Legion team, South Brunswick also had three teams in the Greater Middlesex Coaches Summer Baseball League. One team played as a U-16 squad, the other two at U-17.
"I believe South Brunswick has always been a baseball town," said Ryan Webb, who managed the South Brunswick Black team in the U-17 league. "We have a great system with the rec league. Kids do a lot of camps. Baseball is still very big in South Brunswick."
It's so big, in fact, one of the last games of the summer season featured two South Brunswick teams facing off against each other on July 11.
South Brunswick Black defeated South Brunswick Gold, 4-3, behind a complete game effort by Jeremy Brent, who will be a sophomore this upcoming school year.
"It was a well played game and a good test for our guys," Webb said. "You're basically playing your own squad. We'll be battling these guys next year. There will be decisions to make to figure out who will be playing what position next year."
South Brunswick Black's season ended this past Monday with a 7-4 loss to East Brunswick in the playoffs. The team finished 4-9-1.
In addition to the win against its classmates, South Brunswick Black also defeated Freehold, Woodbridge and Manalapan.
"I thought the team as a whole played well," Webb said. "They played small ball and did a good job of manufacturing runs. The defense and the pitching got better over the course of the season."
Brent, Nick Montagna (a sophomore that also played shortstop), Kyle Klemas (a junior that also played short), Dan Giampietro (a junior that also played outfield) and Brett Kurkella (a sophomore that also played outfield) are the pitchers on the team.
Juniors Dan Pesser, Jared Cohen, Jared Man and Scott Dunleavy play the outfield. Alex Gibbons, also a junior in the fall, is the catcher. Anythony Cima (a sophomore first baseman), Austin Morse (a junior that played third) and Nick Klimkewicz (a junior that played second) are the other members of the team.
Having shown what they can do this summer, these players will combine with South Brunswick's other summer league teans to offer up a very good talent pool. As Webb noted, there will be some tough decisions to make in the high school season. That depth and talent is what makes a good program, though.
"Baseball is alive and well in South Brunswick," Webb said.