first_imgThe Monmouth Rangers shut out the Monmouth Falcons 6-0 on Sept. 8 in the Monmouth County Garden State Baseball League playoff final at Laird Field in Colts Neck. Their fourth victory without a loss in the playoffs gave the Rangers the undisputed state championship crown for the league, which began its season in May. The Garden State League, run by commissioner Ed DeFrancesco, is a competitive, unlimited age league that includes participants who have played college and professional baseball, as well as some of the area’s top high school players. The Rangers’ well-balanced roster included members who graduated or are still playing at several Monmouth and Ocean County high schools. Ace pitcher Rich Colangelo (Raritan High School and Kean College), whose experience includes pitching in the Division III College World Series, started and won all four playoff games for the Rangers, including two shutouts. A potent hitter, Colangelo tied with Jeff Karpel (Fairleigh Dickinson University) for the team lead in home runs with five. Karpel, currently the jayvee baseball coach at Rumson-Fair Haven High School, led the team in hitting with a .575 average and played centerfield. The other Ranger outfielders were Paul Carlet (Ramapo College), P.J. Kapsales (Holmdel High School) and Dave Orroyo (Middletown North and Fairleigh Dickinson). Colangelo led a deep pitching staff that included Don Adams (Toms River South) and Bryan Malko (Minnesota Twins New Britain AA team and the Newark Bears). Both Adams and Malko provided outstanding relief pitching throughout the playoffs, and were quality starting pitchers throughout the season. Malko, who was recovering from arm surgery, left the Rangers after the first playoff victory to sign with the Newark Bears, where he is resuming his professional career, and boasted a team-leading 2.63 earned run average in 11 appearances after joining the Bears. He was also the Rangers’ clean-up hitter. Additional pitching support for the Rangers was provided by Paul Carlet, Matt Miller (Middletown South), Jason Long (Mater Dei), James Bello (Middletown North) and Kapsales. The pitching staff was handled by catchers Brett Thayler (Rumson-Fair Haven) and Brendan Ferris, with Thayler catching all the playoff victories. The team was rounded out with a strong infield, which included Miller, Jason Long, Bello, Travis Evernham (Brookdale Community College), Tom Long (Ramapo) and Mike Rovira (Neptune High School), Bello led the team in hits with 31, followed by Carlet with 30. The team’s manager, Dave Long, had a solid all-around team and was pleased with the team’s success in the postseason. “We were a well-balanced and deep team, offensively, defensively and with our pitching,” he said. “Also, we had a great mix of young high school players who provided energy and enthusiasm, while when combined with experienced college and pro players, resulted in a tough team to beat. It was a great experience for everyone, but I think the high school players benefitted greatly from the level of competition of the opposing teams, plus the high level of play of their teammates.last_img read more