COLTS NECK – Four teams are slotted to play in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals at Count Basie Field on May 27, and Red Bank Catholic made sure it would be in the mix on its home turf with a 16-8 quarterfinals upset of top-seeded Colts Neck on Wednesday.
“That was a big incentive for us today,” Red Bank Catholic coach Buddy Hausmann said of the Caseys hosting the tournament semifinals. “I said to the guys, either you’re going to be playing there on Wednesday, or you going to have to watch someone else play. It’s you choice…Don’t let anyone else play on your field.”
The eighth-seeded Caseys (18-7) answered their manager’s challenge by recording 16 runs on 12 hits, including a seven-run top of the seventh inning that broke open a one-run game.
After Colts Neck (21-4) scored four times in the bottom of the sixth, cutting the Caseys advantage to 9-8, Red Bank Catholic kick-started a one-out rally in its half of the seventh when singles by Anthony DeRosa and Dom Carabello, and a walk by Mike Spinelli loaded the bases for Evan Madigan, who delivered an RBI single.
Two more RBI singles by Tom Merlo – who finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and a pair of runs – and Doug Facendo, as well as four more runs on past balls extended the lead to 16-8 in the top of the seventh and secured the upset bid for the Caseys, following a pair of losses to Colts Neck in two meeting prior.
“Playing a team for the third time is never easy,” Hausmann said. “It happened to us with St. John Vianney last year. They smacked us the first time, the second game was extra innings and the third game we won. It was the same situation here.”
“It’s never easy to beat team for a third time in high school baseball and that’s the idea we sold our guys on. You have a shot every time you come out and we battled. You have to put your best effort out there, and you never know what can happen.”
Red Bank Catholic battled a pair of previously undefeated Colts Neck lefties in Mario Ferraioli – who allowed six runs on five hits, two walks, and two hit batters over four innings – and Chris Murphy, who entered in relief and worked into the seventh inning, before Tim Cavrak closed out the seven-run affair.
And Spinelli, who proved to be an offensive catalyst for Red Bank Catholic, was pleased with this group’s effort.
“Colts Neck is the number one team in the Shore for a reason,” said Spinelli, who went 2-for-2 with a walk, an RBI double, a triple, and three runs scored, “and you can’t let a team like that hang around. You have to constantly tack on more runs because they’re a smart baseball team and no lead is safe.”
“I’m happy with the way we responded. This is a very tough-minded group, and from the beginning of the season we knew a lot of people were doubting us because we didn’t have the big name guys out there anymore. And I think that makes us better. We don’t have one guy to rely on, but we’re tough one-through-nine.”
John Poccia made the start for Red Bank Catholic and allowed eight runs (four of which were earned) on six hits, and three walks, while striking out four over five and one-third innings to record the victory, before Jack Ipsen entered to record the five-out save.
A four-run bottom of the second provided Colts Neck a 4-2 lead and was highlighted by an RBI triple from Sam Devitis, who went 2-for-4 with a run scored, and a run-scoring single via Andrew Conforti.
The Cougars four-run sixth was capped by a two-run single from Tim Cavrak.
With the victory Red Bank Catholic will meet Jackson Memorial in the conference quarterfinals.
CBA 6, Midd. South 5: Brandon Martorano’s one-out single down the right field line in the bottom of the eighth scored James Miller with the winning run, capped a rally from a 5-1 deficit entering the bottom of the seventh and gave the No. 3 seed Colts (20-5) the win over the No. 6 seed Eagles (20-8).
It was the second straight game and third time in the last four, Martorano has had the game-winning hit.
Bunt singles by Miller and Cid Porter started the eighth.
Martorano also started a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh with a solo homer, his second of the game and seventh of the season.
Matt D’Angelo had an RBI double in the seventh and scored the tying run on a wild pitch.
CBA, which will play No. 15 seed Manasquan in the semifinals Wednesday at Count Basie Field, Red Bank, is currently playing without senior outfielder Will Morgan because of illness, coach Marty Kenney said.