LAKEWOOD – Nothing about the history of the Christian Brothers Academy baseball program warrants an underdog complex, but this year’s Colts squad has developed a chip on its shoulder and one it used to regain its familiar spot among Monmouth County baseball programs Wednesday night at FirstEnergy Park.

CBA – the No. 8 seed in the Monmouth County Tournament – jumped out to an early lead and wore out No. 3 Colts Neck to beat the Cougars, 9-5, and capture the sixth MCT championship in the history of the program and the first since 2008.

“With all of the seniors we lost from last year’s team, I don’t think people were expecting a lot from us this year, but we knew we had capable players, and we wanted to show that this was a CBA team that could win a championship,” junior left fielder Griffin Arnott said.

In a 13-hit attack against three Colts Neck pitchers, eight of the nine CBA starters had at least one hit and the top four hitters in the order combined for nine of the 13 hits. Right fielder and No. 3 hitter Will Morgan went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, while leadoff hitter and center fielder Ryan Ramiz, catcher Brandon Martorano and clean-up hitter Pete Papcun all had two hits apiece.

Despite beating Freehold Township on Monday to reach the championship, CBA entered Wednesday’s game with question marks stemming from losing three games in a row last week and from a 4-5 record in games started by a pitcher other than sophomore Luca Dalatri, who won tournament MVP honors.

“We know what kind of team we have and we know what kind of pitcher Luca is, but this team is more than just one player, and I’m sure some people were doubting that last week,” Morgan said. “We knew we would get back in the right direction, we just needed to start playing to our capability."

“In our recent losses, it’s really just been one or two plays that lose the game for us, and our approach was to just stay positive and try to avoid that one crucial mistake that changes the game,” CBA coach Marty Kenney said. “We gave out some walks today, but we cashed in on some two-out RBI opportunities and defensively, we were solid.”

Junior Mike Garvey gave the Colts 5 2/3 innings before giving way to Morgan with two on and one out in the sixth inning, and CBA’s lineup gave Garvey plenty of early offense. CBA scored seven runs over the first three innings to chase Colts Neck senior submarine-style pitcher Robbie Warendorf. CBA ripped eight hits in those three innings, including a two-run double by Arnott, an RBI triple by Ramiz and an RBI single by Martorano that gave CBA a 7-2 lead by the end of the third.

Mike Garvey K ends the 1st from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Wednesday marked the second time CBA had seen Warendorf this season, including a 3-2 win over the Cougars on April 17.

“I definitely think it helped our guys a lot that they had seen (Warendorf) before,” Kenney said. “He has an unorthodox delivery, but he generates a lot of movement on his pitches, which leads to a lot of ground balls.”

“Our plan today as a team was to let his pitches travel and take them the other way, especially the lefties in the lineup,” said Ramiz, one of four left-handed hitters in the CBA lineup. “His fastball tails away from lefties, so we had to see the ball a little longer and look to take it to left field.”

CBA’s four left-handed hitters – Ramiz, Morgan, Moschella and Arnott – combined to go 5-for-7 with two walks, a double and a triple against Warendorf. Both extra-base hits went to dead left field, while the three singles were all ground balls up the middle.

Colts Neck responded to CBA’s 3-0 start to the game with two runs in the top of the third on a two-out RBI double to right-center field by junior catcher Jordan Gonzalez. Arnott came to the plate with runners on first and second and no one out in the bottom of the inning and drilled a 1-1 pitch deep into the right field corner. The ball slammed off the right-field wall, but on the foul side of the foul line. Although Warendorf and Colts Neck momentarily dodged a bullet, Arnott fouled off two pitches to stay alive and then slapped a two-run double inside the third-base bag to score first baseman John Moschella and Dalatri.

“It was pretty deflating to watch that ball go foul, but you just have to get back in the box and look for the next one,” Arnott said. “After I turned on that pitch, I figured they weren’t going to throw it there again, so I just looked to take something the other way.”

Against a Colts Neck team that is 8-2 in one-run games this season and has made a habit of rallying from early deficits, CBA could have lost any momentum it had with Arnott’s long foul ball in the corner. Instead, Arnott battled for a two-run double that helped the Colts break the game open.

Colts Neck again battled to within striking distance, this time cutting CBA’s lead to 7-5 on a two-run single by junior first baseman Tyler Kapuscinski in the fourth inning and an RBI single on the seventh pitch on an at-bat by second baseman Sam DeVitis in the top of the sixth.

CBA tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth when those top four hitters in the lineup combined for four-consecutive singles to lead off the inning. Martorano’s hit was the result foggy conditions that caused Cougars right fielder Lou Rondinella to lose the ball in the air.

Brandon Martorano fog single from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Papcun later knocked in a run with a bases-loaded single into left field between shortstop and third base. Arnott was hit a by curveball from left-handed reliever Chris Murphy to force in a ninth CBA run and give Arnott his third RBI of the game.

Moschella opened the Colts scoring for the second straight game, grounding a two-out RBI single to center field that scored Morgan from second. Morgan later made it 3-0 with a two-run single to center field with two out in the second.

Will Morgan 2-run single from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Morgan needed just one pitch to get out of some sixth-inning trouble left for him by Garvey and overcame two walks in the seventh to pitch a scoreless inning and nail down a save.

“That’s not really a position I’m used to being in, but I liked having the ball in my hands with a chance to win a championship,” said Morgan, who is in his first year as a pitcher. “I had some trouble finding the zone to a couple of batters, but I just told myself I had to go right after them.”

CBA wins the MCT from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Colts Neck and CBA will play again on Thursday with Colts Neck looking to win the outright Shore Conference Class A North championship with a win. CBA, meanwhile will line up its pitching for the Shore Conference Tournament, which continues Saturday against Shore Regional with Dalatri scheduled to pitch.

"You never want to give away a game," Arnott said. "It doesn't matter if it's a championship game in Lakewood or just another game over at CBA. We want to play to win, not just to play spoiler, but to make sure we're playing our best baseball when it matters."

 

Box Score

CBA 9, Colts Neck 5

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

R

H

E

Colts Neck (14-4)

0

0

2

2

0

1

0

5

8

1

CBA (12-5)

1

2

4

0

0

2

x

9

13

0

 

Colts Neck

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Paul Marinello, SS

3

1

0

0

1

0

Sam DeVitis, 2B

3

0

1

1

1

1

Tyler Kapuscinski, 1B

3

1

2

2

1

0

Gianni Magliaro, DH

3

1

1

0

1

0

Jordan Gonzalez, C

3

0

1

2

1

0

-- Tim Cavrak, CR

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mike Antico, CF

3

0

0

0

1

1

Kyle Murrin, 3B

4

0

0

0

0

3

Lou Rondinella, RF

4

1

2

0

0

0

Guiseppe Varile, LF

3

1

1

0

0

1

Totals

27

5

8

5

6

6

2B: Gonzalez
SB: Cavrak 2

CBA

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Ryan Ramiz, CF

3

3

2

1

1

1

Brandon Martorano, C

3

0

2

1

1

0

Will Morgan, RF-P

4

2

3

2

0

1

Pete Papcun, 3B

4

0

2

1

0

0

John Moschella, 1B

3

1

1

1

1

1

Luca Dalatri, DH

4

1

1

0

0

1

-- Mike Garvey, P

0

0

0

0

0

0

-- Shane Turk, RF

0

0

0

0

0

0

Griffin Arnott, LF

3

1

1

3

0

0

Andrew Buccellato, 2B

4

1

1

0

0

2

Mark Mancuso, SS

3

0

0

0

0

2

Totals

35

9

13

9

3

8

2B: Arnott
3B: Ramiz

Colts Neck

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Robbie Warendorf, L (4-2)

2.2

8

7

7

3

3

0

Matt Schaeffer

2.1

5

2

2

0

3

0

Chris Murphy

1.0

0

0

0

0

2

0

 

CBA

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Mike Garvey, W (3-1)

5.2

8

5

5

4

5

0

Will Morgan, S

1.1

0

0

0

2

1

0

Schaeffer pitched to four batters in the 7th.
HBP: Arnott (by Murphy)
Pitches-Strikes: Warendorf 64-34, Schaeffer 45-32, Murphy 17-12, Garvey 106-69, Morgan 26-13
Groundouts-Flyouts: Warendorf 5-0, Schaeffer 2-2, Murphy 1-0, Garvey 8-3, Morgan 1-2