St. Augustine player to watch: Righthander Kevin Baxter is 9-1 with a 1.08 ERA.
Gloucester Catholic player to watch: Second baseman Pat Kane is batting .393 and is 34 for 34 in steals.
Side note: Both teams are defending state champions; the Hermits in N-P A, the Rams in N-P B.
NON-PUBLIC SOUTH B FINAL
No. 2 Sacred Heart (17-8) vs. No. 1 Marist (22-5)
Where: Overbrook High School, Pine Hill.
Road to the final: Sacred Heart beat Wardlaw-Hartridhe (10-9) and Moorestown Friends (10-1); Marist beat St. Joseph of Hammonton (1-0) and Mater Dei (4-3).
Sacred Heart player to watch: Holvin Figueroa leads the Lions with five home runs.
Marist player to watch: Derek Edge hit a walk-off RBI single in the win over Mater Dei.
Side note: Sacred Heart is seeking its first appearance in the state finals since 2000.
GROUP 1 STATE SEMIFINAL
Audubon (22-6) vs. Florence (14-10)
Where: The College of New Jersey, Ewing Township.
Road to the state semifinal: Audubon beat LEAP (16-0), Pitman (4-3), Pennsville (4-3), and Haddon Township (3-2); Florence beat East Brunswick Tech (10-0), Highland Park (5-0), South River (16-3), and Point Plesant Beach (4-2).
Audubon player to watch: Third baseman Keith Michalski has five home runs and 10 doubles.
Florence player to watch: Shortstop Heath Fillmyer is batting .456 with 10 doubles.
Side note: Audubon is seeking its third consecutive appearance in the state finals.
GROUP 2 STATE SEMIFINAL
Buena (24-7) vs. Raritan (16-10)
Where: Rider University, Lawrenceville.
Road to the state semifinal: Buena beat West Deptford (5-2), Cinnaminson (3-1), Sterling (6-2), and GCIT (14-5); Raritan beat Delaware Valley (1-0), Summit (9-2), Voorhees (9-4), and Robbinsville (4-2).
Buena player to watch: Righthander Justin Geri is 7-1 with a 1.84 ERA.
Raritan player to watch: Righthander Dan Gutch retired all eight batters in relief in the Central Jersey title game.
Side note: Buena runners are 57 for 64 (89.1 percent) in stolen bases.
GROUP 3 STATE SEMIFINAL
Hammonton (20-6) vs. Freehold Boro (17-12)
Where: Monmouth University, West Long Branch.
Road to the state semifinal: Hammonton beat Lacey (1-0), Oakcrest (8-6), Central (12-6), and Ocean City (6-1); Freehold Boro beat Woodbridge (5-1), Wall (4-2), Hopewell Valley (9-5), and Monmouth (3-0).
Hammonton player to watch: Righthander George Read has a 2.61 ERA.
Freehold Boro player to watch: Lefthander Mike Bolton pitched a four-hitter in the Central Jersey title game.
Side note: Hammonton has never appeared in a state final.
GROUP 4 STATE SEMIFINAL
Cherokee (23-5) vs. Manalapan (16-11)
Where: Rutgers University, Piscataway.
Road to the state semifinal: Cherokee beat Egg Harbor (10-0), Eastern (6-4), Toms River South (3-1), and Lenape (3-0); Manalapan beat Brick (4-1), Jackson (5-2), Middletown South (12-2), and Steinert (7-6).
Cherokee player to watch: Righthander Sean Kelly has a win and two saves in the tournament.
Manalapan player to watch: Third baseman Billy Moed hit a two-run home run and made a game-saving defensive play in the Central Jersey final.
Side note: Cherokee's only state-final appearance: 1985.
- Phil Anastasia