Shore Conference Tournament Bracket

RED BANK – Ever since losing the Ocean County Tournament championship game to Central Regional on May 13, the Barnegat baseball team has been reaching uncharted territory with each of its seven straight wins.

While rolling through a number of program firsts on the way to Wednesday’s Shore Conference Tournament semifinal against Wall, there is one first that has continued to elude Barnegat: a loss to a team outside of its division.

Barnegat junior right-hander John Corbett pitched a five-hit shutout Wednesday against Wall to propel the Bengals into their first ever Shore Conference Tournament final. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Junior John Corbett threw a five-hit shutout after his offense jumped on Wall for two unearned runs in the top of the first and the Bengals held off the Crimson Knights, 2-0, to win their eighth straight and advance to their first SCT final on Sunday at FirstEnergy Park against Christian Brothers Academy.

The win also clinches Barnegat its first 20-win season (20-8) and improves the Bengals’ record against teams outside of the Shore Conference Class B South division to 11-0.

“We’ve said all along that this group has a chance to be special,” Barnegat coach Dan McCoy said. “The only thing we lacked was the experience in big games. We’ve had to take some tough losses, and we went through a bad stretch for about two weeks, but the important thing is our guys learned from it and never stopped believing in their ability.”

Barnegat wins from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Prior to this season, Barnegat – which played its first season of varsity baseball in 2007 – had never reached a tournament championship game of any kind. With Wednesday’s win, the Bengals guaranteed an appearance in a third championship game this season. In addition to the SCT final and the loss in the OCT final earlier this month, Barnegat will host Buena in Friday’s NJSIAA South Jersey Group II championship.

“There were definitely some nerves in the OCT final against Central, and I think they probably got the better of us,” Corbett said. “Since that game, we’ve been playing our best baseball of the season and now we’re going into these games knowing what a championship game is like and knowing exactly how we have to approach it.”

The Bengals have been nearly perfect this tournament season despite a 7-7 record in Class B South, which tied them for fourth place with OCT champion Central. They are 13-1 overall outside the division, with a 2-1 record in tournament games against fellow B South teams.

Corbett kept his defense busy by walking only one and not recording a strikeout. The Bengals made two errors, but also picked up Corbett a number of times, most notably on a play by freshman shortstop Aaron McLaughlin in the bottom of the sixth. Wall third baseman and No. 3 hitter Ryan Orender drilled an eye-level line drive back toward Corbett to lead off the Wall sixth. Corbett deflected the line drive just enough to slow it down and redirect it toward the shortstop side of second base, where McLaughlin flagged it down and threw out Orender on the run for the first out of the sixth.

“That was a key inning for us to get through the heart of their order, so to get that first out was huge,” Barnegat junior catcher Nik Fraim said. “We knew they had a good hitting team, and we focused on moving the ball in and out to their hitters and keeping the ball down. Corbett executed the pitches like he always does and the defense made the plays.”

Aaron McLaughlin nice play of deflection by Corbett from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

While sophomore left-hander Jason Groome has garnered most of the acclaim for his dominant performance this season, Corbett has also established himself as a solid starter on a 20-win team. With his shutout Wednesday, the junior right-hander improved to a team-best 6-1 (tied with Groome) while lowering his earned-run average to 1.53 and his walks-plus-hits-per-innings pitched (WHIP) to 1.11.

“I was hurt for a lot of last year and I only pitched a little bit,” Corbett said. “We knew we had Jason and (junior) Seamus (Brazill), and I just wanted to show the coaches that I could be someone who goes out and gives the team a chance to win. We have a lot of those guys right now and I’m glad I get a chance to be one of them.”

“He didn’t have his curveball today,” McCoy said of Corbett. “Usually, that curveball is the big pitch for him because he can get an out with it and also keep guys off balance, but today, he had to pitch without it at times and that speaks volumes of his composure and his competitiveness. To go out and shut out a team like that without a full arsenal is impressive.”

Barnegat scored twice in the first inning thanks to four Wall errors that followed back-to-back singles by center fielder Ryan Ulrich and Fraim to start the game. Sophomore Jared Kacso chopped a misplayed grounder to the left side to score Ulrich with the game's first run.

Barnegat scores on an error from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Wall got an out on the play when catcher Dan Wondrack threw out courtesy runner Max Rittner attempting to advance to third, but Barnegat added another run when Wondrack's throw to third on a double-steal went into left field, allowing Kacso to score.

Jared Kacso steals 3rd, scores on error from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Wall seniors Tim Willey and Matt Tancredi both singled in the bottom of the seventh, but Corbett induced a fly out from leadoff hitter and shortstop Chris Barcas to end the game with the tying run on first. Wall did not advance a runner farther than second base against Corbett.

Wall senior right-hander Tyler Swiggart allowed only one infield hit and a hit batter after the two singles by Ulrich and Fraim. After an infield single by Fraim to lead off the third, Swiggart retired the final 15 batters he faced, finishing with no earned runs on three hits, no walks and two strikeouts.

“For the last couple of weeks, we’ve come to play every game,” McCoy said. “We’re not always going to score a ton of runs, especially against a quality pitcher like (Swiggart), but we’re competing hard, our pitchers are throwing strikes and we’re making the plays. With the way we’re playing, if we score runs, I like our chances.”

 

 

Box Score

Barnegat 2, Wall 0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

R

H

E

Barnegat (20-8)

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

3

2

Wall (21-6)

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

4

 

Barnegat

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Ryan Ulrich, LF

3

1

1

0

0

0

Nik Fraim, C

3

0

2

0

0

0

-- Max Rittner, CR

0

0

0

0

0

0

Jared Kacso, 3B

3

1

0

0

0

1

Ed Rogan, 1B

2

0

0

0

0

0

Matt Owens, DH

3

0

0

0

0

0

Conner Hoeler, 2B

3

0

0

0

0

0

Joe Letinski, CF

3

0

0

0

0

1

Aaron McLaughlin, SS

3

0

0

0

0

0

Collin O'Conner, RF

2

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

25

2

3

0

0

2

SB: Kacso, Rogan

Wall

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Chris Barcas, SS

4

0

0

0

0

0

Branden Biegert, 2B

3

0

2

0

0

0

Ryan Orender, 3B

2

0

0

0

1

0

Dan Wondrack, C

3

0

0

0

0

0

Jack Gifford, 1B

3

0

0

0

0

0

Brendan Barcas, LF

3

0

1

0

0

0

Tim Willey, CF

3

0

1

0

0

0

Brendan McGregor, DH

3

0

0

0

0

0

Matt Tancredi, RF

3

0

1

0

0

0

Totals

27

0

5

0

1

0

2B: Biegert
GIDP: McGregor

Barnegat

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

John Corbett, W (6-1)

7.0

5

0

0

1

0

0

 

Wall

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Tyler Swiggart, L (7-3)

7.0

3

2

0

0

2

0

HBP: Rogan (by Swiggart)
Pitches-Strikes: Corbett 83-51, Swiggart 82-62
Groundouts-Flyouts: Corbett 12-7, Swiggart 7-3