Shore Conference Tournament Bracket

RED BANK – While Christian Brothers Academy sophomore right-hander Luca Dalatri said he had every intention of pitching a potential ninth inning in Wednesday’s Shore Conference Tournament semifinal against Red Bank Catholic and senior flame-thrower Al Molina, he also acknowledged that exceeding 130 pitches might have been where he and his coaching staff drew the line.

It never came to that, because before Red Bank Catholic could push Dalatri to his limit, CBA finally pushed Molina to his.

CBA sophomore Luca Dalatri outdueled RBC ace Al Molina to improve to 10-0 in 10 appearances this season. (Photo by Matt Manley)

On a bases-loaded ground ball to first by designated hitter Trey Nelson, courtesy runner Brendan Shaw slid home with the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat a wide throw to the plate and the Colts beat the Caseys, 2-1, in a classic pitching showdown. CBA will now take on Barnegat in the SCT championship game at 8 p.m. on Sunday at FirstEnergy Park.

Dalatri emerged the winner among the two aces, tossing an eight-inning complete game while allowing five hits and three walks to go with 10 strikeouts.

“It’s every pitcher's dream to compete in a game like that in an environment like this,” said Dalatri, referring to the packed perimeter at Count Basie Park for the second game of the SCT double-header between Monmouth County non-public rivals. “No pitcher wants to pitch in 10-0 games all the time. You want to pitch in those 1-0 and 2-1 games where every pitch is important and one pitch can mean the game.”

Molina struck out his 13th batter of the game to begin the bottom of the eighth on his 112th pitch, but battled control problems the rest of the way. CBA loaded the bases with one out on two walks that book-ended a hit batter. Nelson – the No. 9 hitter – worked the count to 3-and-1 and punched a ground ball to first base, but Doug Facendo's throw home was low and to the outside of plate, too much so for catcher Mike Alescio to handle it.

“When you see a guy warming up in their bullpen and you see the way he was starting to lose his control, he probably didn’t have a whole lot left,” said Colts junior Griffin Arnott, who was hit twice by Molina and drove in the Colts' first run in the second. “He was so good all game long and we all know the kind of competitor Al is that he was going to take the ball until someone ripped it out of his hands. We still didn’t really hit him, but he lost the plate just long enough to give us a chance.”

CBA wins from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Molina allowed only two hits to go with the 13 strikeouts, but also hit four batters and walked five in 7 1/3 innings.

“I was never going to take him out (in the eighth),” said Red Bank Catholic coach Buddy Hausmann, who went to the mound to visit Molina once in the seventh and again in the eighth with the bases loaded and Nelson coming up. “I was just out there to talk to my defense. We all knew this was his game and that’s the way he wanted it. He’s a senior, and he’s been a great player for us. He deserved the ball there.”

Dalatri threw 113 pitches for the complete game and ended his night in resounding fashion – a swinging strikeout of Caseys clean-up hitter Matt Kurdewan to end a 20-pitch eighth inning and give him his 10th punchout.

“Coach (Marty Kenney) told me going out for the seventh that this was going to be it and when he came to me before the eighth, I said ‘There’s no way I’m coming out of this game,’” said Dalatri, who has completed eight of his nine starts after Wednesday’s complete game. “This is the reason I put in the work that I do in the offseason. I want to be strong so I can finish games like this.

Dalatri K ends the 7th from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

“It’s hard not to get caught up in the moment and sometimes it’s better to just let it all out, especially in a situation like that. I felt really strong all game, especially in the eighth inning. That last batter was probably my best fastball all day.”

Molina made his biggest pitch of the game one half-inning before Dalatri’s 10th strikeout. CBA got runners to second and third with two out and first baseman and clean-up hitter John Moschella coming up. Moschella battled to a 3-and-2 count, but Molina broke off a slider down and in that induced a swinging strike three from the left-handed hitter.

“With the way he (Moschella) has been swinging the bat, I was figuring they might walk him,” Kenney said. “When they didn’t, I’m thinking to myself, ‘Well, this is the guy we want up here.’ I trust John Moschella a lot in those situations, but Molina made a tough pitch in a situation where we tell our guys to be ready to hit.”

Molina big K to end the 7th from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

RBC threatened in the top of the seventh when Alescio led off with his second single of the game and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by designated hitter Tom Merlo. Facendo smacked a line drive to right field with one out, but Colts right fielder Will Morgan tracked it down for the second out. Dalatri responded by striking out left fielder Chris Bender to end the threat.

CBA scored first on an RBI fielder's choice by Arnott in the second inning. RBC tied it in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Merlo that scored Molina. Alescio went 2-for-2 with a walk against Dalatri and singled to right field on a hit-and-run to push Molina to third base during the fourth-inning rally.

Griffin Arnott drives in a run from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Al Molina infield 1B from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Mike Alescio single in the 4th from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Tom Merlo sac fly scores Molina from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Dalatri had one of the two CBA hits and the other was a bunt single by Moschella, who also walked and flied out to the edge of the warning track in right field.

Before they can worry about the SCT final, CBA and Barnegat will host NJSIAA Tournament games on Friday, with CBA playing St. John Vianney in the South Jersey, Non-Public A semifinals and Barnegat taking on Buena in the South Jersey Group II championship.

“I just think we’re playing like a team that wants to keep playing,” Kenney said. “When we weren’t playing well during the middle of the season, you could just sense that there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm to go out and play every day, and as a coach, you don’t know if it’s ever going to show up. Since we’ve been playing in the tournaments, we’ve had that energy that’s been missing.”

“Any chance we have to put more balls on the wall, we’re going to go for it with everything we have,” Arnott said, referring to the baseball-shaped banners that the Colts hang on the outfield fence at their home field to commemorate a championship. “We already got one with the Monmouth County Tournament and as long as we’re alive for two more, our mentality is to get ready for the next game and try to stay alive.”

 

 

Box Score

CBA 2, Red Bank Catholic 1 (8 Innings)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

R

H

E

Red Bank Catholic (20-7)

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

5

4

CBA (17-7)

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

2

0

 

Red Bank Catholic

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Brendan Madigan, CF

4

0

1

0

0

2

Evan Madigan, 2B

3

0

1

0

1

0

Al Molina, P

3

1

1

0

1

0

Matt Kurdewan, 3B

4

0

0

0

0

3

Mike Alescio, C

2

0

2

0

1

0

Tom Merlo, DH

1

0

0

1

0

1

-- Griffin Keller, 2B

0

0

0

0

0

0

Doug Facendo, 1B

3

0

0

0

0

1

Chris Bender, LF

3

0

0

0

0

2

Mike Spinelli, RF

3

0

0

0

0

1

Totals

26

1

5

1

3

10

SF: Merlo
SAC: Merlo
SB: Alescio 2
Picked Off: B. Madigan

CBA

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Ryan Ramiz, CF

3

0

0

0

1

2

Brandon Martorano, C

3

0

0

0

0

2

Will Morgan, RF

3

0

0

0

1

2

John Moschella, 1B

3

1

1

0

0

1

Pete Papcun, 3B

4

0

0

0

0

2

Luca Dalatri, P

3

0

1

0

1

2

-- Brendan Shaw, CR

0

1

0

0

0

0

Griffin Arnott, LF

2

0

0

1

0

1

Andrew Buccellato, 2B

3

0

0

0

1

0

Trey Nelson, DH

3

0

0

0

1

1

-- Mark Mancuso, SS

0

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

27

2

2

1

5

13

Batter Interference: Martorano
CS: Moschella

Red Bank Catholic

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Al Molina, L (2-1)

7.1

2

2

1

5

13

0

 

CBA

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Luca Dalatri, W (10-0)

8.0

5

1

1

3

10

0

HBP: Moschella (by Molina), Arnott 2 (by Molina), Martorano (by Molina)
Pitches-Strikes: Molina 132-73, Dalatri 113-76
Groundouts-Flyouts: Molina 5-2, Dalatri 8-4