MIDDLETOWN – Joe Stanzione can now set his sights on a state record after he broke the Shore Conference single-season home run record Wednesday afternoon.
A first baseman for Middletown High School South, Stanzione hit his 15th homer of the season in the bottom of the third inning in the defending NJSIAA Group 4 champion Eagles’ 8-1 win over Princeton in a Central Group 4 first-round game against Princeton at Walter Woods Field.
Marc Fink, a 1994 Jackson Memorial graduate, held the previous Shore record of 14 set in 1994. Stanzione, a bridge-year player who is enrolled at Brookdale Community College, had tied the record last Saturday in the Eagles’ game against Steinert.
Stanzione is now three away from tying the state record of 18 set by by current Los Angeles Angels’ star Mike Trout of Millville in 2009 and equaled by Ashton Bardzell of Ramsey in 2014.
The two-run shot to left, which came in his second at-bat, gave Middletown South a 3-0 lead.
It was also the 100th hit of Stanzione’s career. He now has 42 hits, 41 RBI on the season and 21 homers for his career. Stanzione hit six homers last season, when he had some key hits Middletown South’s run to the Group 4 title.
Middletown South ace junior right-hander Ben Schild remained unbeaten for his career by hurling a two-hitter with 14 strikeouts. Princeton’s run was unearned.
After giving up a hit to open the game, Schild retired the next 14 batters.
Schild also had three RBI, including a two-run single in the fifth when Middletown South (21-9) broke the game open with four runs.
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