TOMS RIVER - The Christian Brothers Academy baseball team has juggled tournament games without dropping the ball for nearly a full month. After Thursday's Shore Conference Tournament championship game against Red Bank Catholic at Toms River High School North, there is only one ball left to reach out and grab.

Junior right-handers Kenny Campbell and Joe Gargana combined on a three-hit shutout and CBA beat Red Bank Catholic, 4-0, to capture its second straight SCT title and move within one victory of winning all five possible championships for a Shore Conference team in this season alone.

Photo by Matt Manley

CBA has now won a Class A North division championship, a Monmouth County Tournament championship, a Shore Conference Tournament title and an NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A championship this season and will play for the overall Non-Public A title at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Toms River East against unbeaten Don Bosco Prep.

"We are all ready for Saturday, but RBC is a big rivalry game and we were gunning for this one all season," Campbell said. "It felt good to get this one."

If CBA knocks off the 29-0 Ironmen Saturday, the Colts would join the 2004 Wall team as the only Shore Conference teams to win division, county, conference, section and overall Group championships in the same season.

"Finally, I got a chance to tell them to take the next day-and-a-half to enjoy what they have accomplished," said CBA coach Marty Kenney, whose team has now won 13 straight. "It seems like you are rolling from one game to the next with each win. Even if it's not a championship game, it's like the next day you're back out on the field playing again in some kind of tournament or championship game. You want to tell them to enjoy it, but at the same time, you are preparing for somebody else.

"They've been able to do that. They've been able to focus on the team that's next and not look too far ahead. That's what's been somewhat unusual about this team."

Gargana got the start on Thursday and threw two scoreless innings while facing 10 batters before passing the ball to Campbell, who finished the game with five scoreless innings to earn the win and improve to 5-2. Campbell allowed two hits, walked two and struck out two.

"I play summer ball with a lot of the guys (on Red Bank Catholic) and my approach was pretty much to just hit spots and throw strikes," Campbell said. "I wasn't trying to gas anybody up or anything like that."

Junior Luca Dalatri went 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the bottom of the first and senior shortstop Matt D'Angelo was also 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored in the bottom of the second. Dalatri dropped a single into right-center field to chase home Cid Porter to open the scoring in the first and D'Angelo scored on an RBI single through a drawn-in infield and into center by James Miller to make it 2-0 in the second.

Senior right fielder Will Morgan worked a bases-loaded walk to push CBA's lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth and Porter scored the Colts' fourth run with a heads-up baserunning play later in the inning, scoring on a shallow pop-fly to center off the bat of junior catcher Brandon Martorano.

Red Bank Catholic put two runners on base in each of the first, second, fourth and fifth innings, but the two CBA junior hurlers worked out of trouble each time. CBA second baseman Andrew Buccellato started a 4-6-3, inning-ending double play to get Campbell out of a first-and-second jam in the fifth.

Campbell then coasted through the sixth in order, including the only two strikeouts by CBA pitching in the game. The Colts made two errors in the field, but they also converted 18 of 23 balls in play into outs for the two pitchers.

"When Luca is not on the mound, we know the ball is going to be in play a lot more, and we know our defense has to be a big part of our game," D'Angelo said. "We've played well in the field during this stretch, and we expected to have a lot of chances to make plays, and outside of a couple mistakes, we were able to help our pitchers out and they picked us up today as well."

RBC second baseman Mike Spinelli reached on an error to start the seventh, but Martorano threw him out when Spinelli attempted to take second on a wild pitch. After a ground out to Miller at third, Campbell induced a ground ball back to the mound and flipped the ball to Dalatri at first for the final out of the game.

CBA pitching has now combined for 14 straight scoreless innings between four different pitchers over the last two games - both of which were combined three-hitters. Dalatri accounted for only two of those innings.

"Coach (Kenney) told all of us at the beginning of the week to just be ready," Campbell said. "It was going to be a staff week and a lot of us could end up throwing. Luca did his job, (Mike) Garvey did his job, Joe did his job and I did my job, and the offense came through as always."

"With the pitching, I have to give a nod to my son (Marty Kenney Jr.) for the job he has done with the staff," Kenney, Sr. said. "He's taking the reins and managed the staff all year, and he's done a great job keeping everyone fresh figuring out the best way to use what we have."

Dalatri will take the ball Saturday against Don Bosco looking to improve to 9-0 on the mound. The Gatorade N.J. Player of the Year takes in a 0.98 earned-run average over 64 innings this season with 110 strikeouts and only six walks. He recorded a two-inning save Wednesday against Bishop Eustace to close out a 2-0 victory for senior Mike Garvey, who threw five one-hit innings.

"This a great feeling and it's good to know we only have one more to go," Dalatri said. "Facing a team like Don Bosco is never a relief, but it's a relief to know that it really does just come down to one game. We're going to have a good practice (Friday) and hopefully I can go out there and pitch as well as Mike did."

 

Box Score

CBA 4, Red Bank Catholic 0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

R

H

E

Red Bank Catholic (20-9)

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

1

CBA (26-5)

1

1

0

2

0

0

x

4

8

2

 

Red Bank Catholic

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Evan Madigan, SS

4

0

1

0

0

0

Chris Bender, LF

2

0

0

0

0

0

Tom Merlo, RF

2

0

0

0

1

0

Doug Facendo, C

3

0

1

0

0

0

Mike Ianelli, DH

3

0

0

0

0

1

Aaron Ahn, 3B

3

0

0

0

0

0

Anthony DeRosa, 1B

3

0

1

0

0

1

Mike Spinelli, 2B

2

0

0

0

1

0

Dom Caraballo, CF

2

0

0

0

1

0

Totals

24

0

3

0

3

2

GIDP: Facendo

 

CBA

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Cid Porter, CF

4

2

1

0

0

0

Andrew Buccellato, 2B

2

0

1

0

0

0

Will Morgan, RF

2

0

0

1

2

0

Brandon Martorano, C

3

0

0

1

0

2

Luca Dalatri, 1B

3

0

2

1

0

0

Shane Turk, LF

3

0

0

0

0

1

Matt D'Angelo, SS

3

1

2

0

0

0

Trey Nelson, DH

3

1

1

0

0

0

James Miller, 3B

3

0

1

1

0

1

Totals

26

4

8

4

2

4

2B: D’Angelo
SAC: Buccellato
SF: Martorano

 

Red Bank Catholic

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

John Poccia (L, 5-2)

6

8

4

3

2

4

0

 

CBA

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Joe Gargana

2

1

0

0

1

0

0

Kenny Campbell (W, 5-2)

5

2

0

0

2

2

0

 

HBP: Bender (by Gargana), Buccellato (by Poccia)
Pitches-Strikes: Poccia 87-58, Gargana 45-28, Campbell 62-38
Groundouts-Flyouts: Poccia 3-9, Gargana 4-2, Campbell 6-1