South Jersey may still be feeling the last few punches of old man winter, but sports fans are hoping to turn the page into the spring high school sports season.

One local athlete is as ready as anyone; Joe Gatto is hoping to write his name into the record books in 2014. The St. Augustine Prep standout is part of an incredibly talented Hermits group that's focused on capturing a state title this season.

Aside from reaching the pinnacle with his teammates, Gatto is individually ranked as one of the top pitching prospects in the entire country (more than 20 professional baseball scouts showed up for an early season scrimmage game to watch the 37th-ranked senior player in the nation).

While taking it one game at a time, Gatto is also investing in his long-term future; the 6-foot-5, 210-pound right-hander is committed to the University of North Carolina. Listen in below to find out what went into his college decision, why he's taking pride in perfecting his game off the mound, and what he thinks about the future of baseball here in South Jersey.

Here's our conversation with the Hermits' senior leader on the South Jersey Sports Report:

 

Here’s a preview of some of the other interviews from this week’s edition of the South Jersey Sports Report:

  • Four girls that built the foundation for the basketball program at Cedar Creek High School have wrapped up their senior season with another South Jersey title. Aside from being champions, they're also sisters. Check out our conversation with all four Stefanskis, including the latest on their college decisions and which sisters earned sibling bragging rights during pick-up games growing up
  • Press of Atlantic City sports reporter Mike McGarry breaks down the heart-stopping finish in one South Jersey sectional final, and previews which athletes might find their names in the newspaper's annual awards page
  • Courier-Post sports writer Kevin Minnick recaps some of the high school basketball state championship games, including which player helped his team capture the Group I title and a big upcoming challenge for one of the few teams still alive in South Jersey
  • One local wrestler has made it to Boardwalk Hall three times in his high school career, and now his 12-month countdown is on to reach the State Championships in 2015. We spoke with a Holy Spirit Spartan about his incredible success, and what he says he needs to improve on to become a champion next season
  • Press of Atlantic City sports reporter John O’Kane says he's getting ready for baseball here in South Jersey, but not before putting a bow on what was a historic 2014 high school wrestling season

 

 

Listen to this week's show:

John O'Kane, Press of Atlantic City sports reporter

Pat D'Arcy, Holy Spirit junior wrestler (this week's South Jersey Athlete of the Week winner)

Kevin Minnick, Courier-Post sports reporter

Eric LeGrand, Former Rutgers football player and motivational speaker (interview originally aired September 22, 2012)

The Stefanski quadruplets, Cedar Creek Pirates basketball

Mike McGarry, Press of Atlantic City sports reporter

 

We'd also like to congratulate the South Jersey Athlete of the Week:

Pat D'Arcy

Wrestling, Holy Spirit

The senior earned a second-place finish in the 113-pound bracket at the state wrestling tournament, held in Atlantic City.

 

It’s all right here, on The South Jersey Sports Report. Listen every Saturday, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on 97.3 ESPN-FM or 973espn.com, and catch the expanded edition every Thursday night from 6-7 p.m.

 

Follow Tyler Donohue on Twitter @TDsTake