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Delbarton, under the direction of coach Bruce Shatel, are in the unfamiliar position of being a 10th seed for the upcoming Morris County Baseball Tournament as Morristown-Beard garnered the No. 1 seed in the 2014 tournament. (Photos by Todd

Morristown-Beard In No. 1 Pole Position
With An Intriguing MCT About To Start
By Steve Tober

MORRISTOWN- John Sheppard is not thinking about any upcoming motorsport race per se when he borrows the phrase ‘pole position’ in talking about his Morristown-Beard baseball team’s pole-setting No. 1 seed for the upcoming Morris County Baseball Tournament.

“We’re in the No. 1 pole position but we haven’t started the race yet,” said the Crimson’s 21st-year head mentor, whose team has had the best qualifying session to use another motorsport analogy, as it is off to the best first three weeks of any diamond squad in the MCT field. “It’s nice to have that many home games to look forward to but we know the tremendous challenge that is ahead of us with so many very good teams out there.

“We’re just excited to be starting out in a good position in the MCT, which I think is always one of the best tournaments in the state every year.”

Mo-Beard along with 2- Morristown, 3-West Morris, 4-Mendham, 5-Montville, 6- defending champion Randolph and 7-Morris Catholic have all received byes into the Round of 16. The Crimson will host the winner of 17-Pequannock and 16-Madison in the April 26 th first round.

Preliminary round action gets underway this Saturday. (see schedule below).

One interesting note is perennial MCT title contender Delbarton is a 10 th seed, which is certainly not a customary position for a Bruce Shatel-coached Green Wave diamond squad. This is a rare re-loading year for the Morris Township team, which is still always dangerous.

“Delbarton has a great tradition is one of those teams out there people have to worry about,” said Sheppard. “There are so many good teams to consider like Morristown and West Morris along with Randolph, which is still the defending champs with a lot of talent still there.”

Mo-Beard (5-1-1) is a predominantly young squad which starts three seniors, four sophomores and two juniors. The pitching rotation has been led by the trio of senior Ben O’Connell and sophomores Jeremy Westaway and Pat Davis.

“Hitting-wise we haven’t ridden any one guy and have really spread it out,” said Sheppard. “What I really like about this team is the fact that everyone contributes both at the plate and in the field and it’s a group of kids that get along real well and have a high regard for each other which is a great way to be for any team over the course of a season.”

Morristown-Beard suffered its first loss of the season on Thursday, falling to Lenape Valley, 6-3.

The 25-team MCT begins with nine preliminary round contests on Saturday at the higher seed. The semifinals are set for Saturday, May 3 at Delbarton. The title game will be held on Saturday, May 10 at Horseshoe Lake Park in Roxbury.


PRELIMINARY ROUND (Saturday, April 19)
20-Morris Knolls at 13-Mountain Lakes, 11
21-Hanover Park at 12-Whippany Park, 11
24-Chatham at 9-Roxbury, 11
22-Parsippany Hills at 11-Kinnelon, 11:30
17-Pequannock at 16-Madison, 12
18-Parsippany at 15-Butler, 12
19-Morris Hills at 14-Jefferson, 12
25-Boonton at 8-Mount Olive, 1
23-Dover at 10-Delbarton, 3:15

ROUND OF 16 (Saturday, April 26)
Pequannock/Madison winner at 1-Morristown-Beard.
Parsippany/Butler, winner at 2-Morristown.
Morris Hills/Jefferson, winner at 3-West Morris.
Morris Knolls/Mountain Lakes, winner at 4-Mendham. 
Hanover Park/Whippany Park winner at 5-Montville. 
Parsippany Hills/Kinnelon, winner at 6-Randolph. 
Dover/Delbarton, winner at 7-Morris Catholic. 
Chatham/Roxbury winner vs Boonton/Mount Olive winner.

QUARTERFINALS (Sunday, April 27)

SEMIFINALS (Saturday, May 3)
at Delbarton

FINAL (Saturday, May 10)
at Horseshoe Lake Park in Roxbury

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister

Randolph won the 2013 Morris County Tournament edging Roxbury, 2-1, in thrilling final


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