Gautier hopes to pitch this week

Posted: April 12, 2010

Pennsauken Rolando Gautier left a lasting impression at the end of his junior year by pitching a scoreless inning in the Carpenter Cup, striking out two while competing for the Olympic Colonial.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound pitcher/centerfielder who bats and throws left, has yet to appear this spring because of what he said was a minor elbow sprain. Gautier says that he is hoping to be cleared to play this week.

If so, Gautier hopes there will be enough time to show Major League Baseball scouts that he is healthy. He is considered among the top prospects in South Jersey.

"I would like to get drafted, that is a goal of mine," Gautier said. "The scouts are telling me to just get better and they will come see me when I get back."

Last season, Gautier batted .500 with three home runs and 26 RBIs. Recruited as a pitcher and centerfielder, he has accepted a scholarship to Austin Peay.

Gautier says it has been difficult not being able to help his team. Pennsauken is a deceptive 0-5, with two of the losses by one run, by 1-0 to No. 1 Seneca and by 6-5 to Hammonton.

"I can't wait to get back," he said. "Our guys are competing so hard and I just want to go out there and contribute."

Strong lefty. Last season, Pitman senior lefthander Steve Schuler didn't get to pitch much for two reasons. First, he suffered a high ankle sprain that caused him to miss 10 games. Plus Pitman had two strong senior pitchers, Rob Cressman and Adam Sataroff, who handled the bulk of the duty.

Now, Schuler is the ace and he's gotten off to a 2-0 start while also drawing some attention both for his mound exploits and as a centerfielder.

He has made a visit to St. Joseph's University and had a coach from Temple watch him pitch in last Monday's 15-0 win over Clayton.

Philadelphia University is another school that Schuler has been considering.

"The Division I schools I have talked to are looking at me as a pitcher, but if I go to a Division II school, there is a chance I could play both positions," Schuler said.

Right now, he's happy to get his chance on the mound.

"It was tough last year with the injury and everything," Schuler said. "It feels great to be on the mound."

Hot start. Cherokee senior first baseman Eric Barbieri is off to a fast start, even by his high standards. He is batting .500 (7 for 14) with five home runs, 10 RBIs, and eight walks. The walk total shows that he is getting pitched around, but his teammates are making opponents pay for that strategy. The Chiefs (4-1) are averaging 13 runs a game.

"Anybody in our lineup is capable of hitting it out," Barbieri said. "We have no easy outs."

Barbieri hasn't made a college choice and has been getting interest from all levels - junior college to Division I.

He credits his quick start to the work he did during the off-season.

"I worked a lot on my swing and it has paid off because I'm seeing the ball well," Barbieri said.

The next few days are big for Cherokee. Ranked No. 4 in South Jersey by The Inquirer, the Chiefs visit No. 9 Washington Township on Monday in an Olympic Conference American Division showdown. On Wednesday, the Chiefs meet No. 1 Seneca.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com

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