Rick O'Brien: Talent marks middle infield

Neumann-Goretti's Mike Zolk , one of the area's top second basemen, tosses the ball to shortstop Marty Venafro.
Neumann-Goretti's Mike Zolk , one of the area's top second basemen, tosses the ball to shortstop Marty Venafro. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff photographer)
Posted: May 29, 2011

We're taking a break from an action-packed, Memorial Day-weekend Wiffle ball tournament to present you with our rankings of the best middle infielders in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Because the area is filled with top second basemen and shortstops, we've made this a top-20 list.

1. Mike "Zoom" Zolk, Neumann-Goretti, senior. Before Saturday's Catholic League semifinal vs. La Salle, the North Carolina-bound second baseman was batting .721 with 33 RBIs, 29 runs, and 7 home runs.

2. Andrew Amaro, Penn Charter, senior. A second baseman and Maryland signee, Amaro hit .406 with 15 runs, 13 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, and 11 walks.

3. Dylan Tice, Pennridge, senior. A fixture at shortstop for the Rams, Tice batted .390 with 18 runs, 13 RBIs, and 6 doubles. He had a .678 slugging percentage.

4. Joe DeCarlo, Garnet Valley, junior. The shortstop and Georgia recruit hit .400 with 17 RBIs, 14 walks, and 3 homers. He had a .563 on-base percentage.

5. Billy Fleming, Council Rock South, senior. Fleming, a strong-armed shortstop and leadoff man for the Golden Hawks, is ticketed for West Virginia.

6. Kyle McCrossen, Archbishop Wood, senior. Before Saturday's semifinal clash with Monsignor Bonner, the shortstop and Temple signee was batting .643 with 33 RBIs, 28 runs, 12 doubles, and 7 homers.

7. John Laprise, Devon Prep, junior. The smooth-fielding shortstop and Virginia recruit was hitting .492 with 29 RBIs, 23 runs, 14 stolen bases, and 3 homers.

8. Colin Pyne, La Salle, junior. Pyne, a shortstop and area rookie of the year in 2010, again earned first-team all-Catholic League Red Division honors.

9. Luke Alba, Downingtown East, senior. From the No. 3 hole, Alba, a shortstop, batted .406 with 28 runs, 16 RBIs, 6 doubles, and 4 homers.

10. Tyler Zeleny, Central Bucks East, junior. A second-year starter at shortstop for the Patriots, Zeleny hit .396 with a .521 slugging percentage.

11. Matt Peters, Upper Darby, senior. The Royals' catalyst, a shortstop, hit .468 and was a first-team all-Central League selection.

12. Ricky Gorrell, Spring-Ford, senior. The shortstop's play has been key in the Rams' drive to the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA semifinals.

13. Ryan Hartley, Council Rock North, senior. Seeing mostly off-speed pitches from the No. 3 hole, the poised shortstop was batting .349 with a .510 on-base percentage.

14. Eric Frain, Archbishop Ryan, senior. Boosted by Frain's play at shortstop, the Raiders placed second in the Catholic League Red Division.

15. Tom Spitz, West Chester East, senior. A shortstop and No. 3 hitter, Spitz, also a pitcher, is batting .464 with 27 runs, 20 RBIs, and 4 homers.

16. Drew Hayes, Malvern Prep, junior. For the Inter-Ac League champs, Hayes, a second baseman, was hitting .354 with a .458 on-base percentage.

17. Kevin Jewitt, West Chester Rustin, junior. A rising shortstop, Jewitt batted .549 with 28 RBIs, 27 runs, 13 doubles, and a .986 slugging percentage.

18. Dan Hull, Chestnut Hill Academy, junior. Through 27 games, Hull, a shortstop and No. 5 hitter, was hitting .410 with 27 runs and 26 RBIs.

19. Dylan Glassmire, Central Bucks South, junior. Glassmire, an up-and-coming second baseman, batted .492 with 27 RBIs and 10 doubles.

20. Dan Hoy, Germantown Academy, junior. The shortstop joined Amaro, Hayes, and Hull as coaches' first-team all-Inter-Ac infielders.

Fifteen others to watch, listed alphabetically: Jules Arici, La Salle, senior 2B; Mike Borelli, Prep Charter, junior 2B; Chris Coia, Central Bucks South, junior SS; Greg Corialos, West Chester East, senior 2B; Israel Diaz, Frankford, junior SS; Ryan Dolan, Germantown Academy, junior 2B; Kyle Gillen, St. Joseph's Prep, junior 2B; Jim Haley, Monsignor Bonner, sophomore SS; Rich Houck, Roman Catholic, senior 2B; Chris Keenan, Strath Haven, senior SS; Mike Kropnick, Wissahickon, senior 2B; Dan Quinn, Central, senior 2B; Spencer Stokes, Shipley, junior SS; Eric Tidwell, Abington, sophomore SS; and Marty Venafro, Neumann-Goretti, junior SS.


Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019 or robrien@phillynews.com.

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