Baseball – Manalapan’s Bernardini, Howell’s Furlong Reel In Week 1 Player and Pitcher of the Week
Ocean County Sports Medicine Week 1 Player of the Week
Cristian Bernardini, Manalapan
Manalapan started its season 0-3 start as a team, but it was not because the Braves’ best hitter went cold. Bernardini made as many outs as his team had losses in those first three games, going 7-for-10 with four doubles, a triple and four RBI in two games against unbeaten Howell and on the road at Hamilton West (6-2).
That production represents five of the six extra-base hits Manalapan had hit as a team in those first three games and the four runs he has driven in accounted for more than half of the Braves’ total runs scored the first three games (7).
With 27 percent of the vote, Bernardini beat out a trio of players bunched up for second place: Jackson Memorial's J.R. Osmond (17.4 percent), Brick Memorial's Anthony Martino (17) and Donovan Catholic's Gavin Degnan (15.6).
Ocean County Sports Medicine Week 1 Pitcher of the Week
Dan Furlong, Howell
Not only did Furlong start 2-0 on the mound to this season, but he went 2-0 after squaring off against two of the Shore’s best returning starting pitchers from 2021.
On opening day, Furlong outlasted Manalapan ace Tyler Kane, with Howell scoring four runs against the Braves bullpen in the seventh inning and Furlong sealing the 5-3, complete-game win with a perfect seventh inning.
In his second start, Furlong again went the distance, pitching an 80-pitch, four-hit shutout with eight strikeouts to beat Middletown North ace Colin Dowlen.
On top of his two impressive outings to open the year, Furlong also started 5-for-13 (.385) with a double and three RBI in the batter’s box during the season's first 10 days.
Furlong ran away with the first Pitcher of the Week award in 2022 by collecting 46 percent of the vote -- 32 percent more than runner-up Ryan Kulpa of Barnegat.
For winning the Player and Pitcher of the Week awards, both Bernardini and Furlong will receive a Player of the Week shirt courtesy of Ocean County Sports Medicine.