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PHILADELPHIA – Colts Neck junior Chris Murphy is a grade older than Barnegat sophomore Jason Groome, but Murphy admitted after Thursday’s Carpenter Cup semifinal between Jersey Shore and Delaware County, Pa., that he hopes to be just like the Barnegat left-handed ace by this time next year.

Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, Murphy was just like Groome as the two left-handed flamethrowers combined for six no-hit innings to lead another solid pitching performance by the Jersey Shore in a rain-shortened, 5-3 win over Delaware County in eight innings. The Shore will play Burlington County Friday at 10 a.m. back at Citizens Bank Park, seeking its first title since 2010 and its fourth overall.

Colts Neck junior Chris Murphy threw three dominant innings as part of a 5-3 Jersey Shore win in the Carpenter Cup semifinals on Thursday. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Groome began the game by striking out five and walking one on 41 pitches over three no-hit innings before Delco scored two runs – one earned – in the bottom of the fourth inning against Rumson-Fair Haven right-hander Shane McCarthy. The Shore struck for five runs in the top of the fifth and Murphy locked down the next three innings with a line almost identical to that of Groome: five strikeouts, one walk on 34 pitches over three hitless innings.

“It’s an incredible rush of adrenaline to be out there on that mound,” Murphy said. “You’re in a big league ballpark playing in a game full of Division I players. It’s a great honor to compete with and against players like that and also to have an opportunity to represent the Shore and try to bring back a championship for the area.”

Both left-handers also faced the minimum nine batters, with Groome picking off the lone base-runner he allowed in the first and Murphy inducing an inning-ending double play in the seventh after issuing a one-out walk.

In a tournament dominated by the Jersey Shore pitching staff to this point, Murphy threw the team’s most dominant inning of work in the bottom of the sixth. Against the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 spots in the Delco order – all of which were replacements taking their first at-bat – Murphy struck out the side on 10 pitches.

“I was able to keep my arm up and get on top of my pitches, especially my curveball,” Murphy said. “That helped me locate the ball and then the rest is just adrenaline.”

Chris Murphy strikeout from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Thursday marked the first time this season in which Murphy has thrown a full three innings. Used as a relief specialist by Colts Neck this year, Murphy never pitched more than 2 1/3 innings this season but did throw 28 2/3 innings over 17 appearances. Murphy finished the season 4-1 with a 2.69 ERA, 37 strikeouts and six saves in seven chances.

“I was disappointed that I didn’t get to start this year, but the team needed me to be the closer, so I did the best job I could with it,” Murphy said. “Obviously, I pitched out of the bullpen all year, so it’s been an easy adjustment in this tournament. It hasn’t really been an adjustment at all. It’s really just the same thing as the high school season: I’m just trying to help my team win a championship however I can.”

Groome, meanwhile, continued to breeze through opposing lineups, just as he has done throughout his sophomore year of high school. Over two appearances at the Carpenter Cup, Groome has pitched six shutout innings while allowing three hits and one walk while striking out 11. During his season with Barnegat, the sophomore left-hander struck out 107 over 61 1/3 innings while allowing only 14 walks and pitching to a 0.57 ERA.

Jason Groome strikeout to end the 1st from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

“My fastball felt really good today,” Groome said. “I felt like I had good life on it and I located it pretty well for the most part. My curveball wasn’t really spinning like I wanted it to, so I didn’t throw it as much as I would have liked.”

Just like Delco could not mount any offense against Groome, the Shore struggled to solve Delco starter Rob Brown of Penncrest High School over his three innings of work. The Shore went hitless with three strikeouts and just one walk over the first three innings against Brown and after Brick Memorial senior Kyle Cala tallied the team’s first hit with a two-out fourth inning single, the Shore came away empty again.

After Delco scored twice in the bottom of the fourth, the Shore offense came to life in the top of the fifth. Howell senior Ryan Wares drew a leadoff walk and Red Bank Catholic senior Matt Kurdewan ripped a single into left field to set up runners on first and second with none out. After a pop-up by Christian Brothers Academy catcher and strikeout by Freehold Township junior Joe Silvestrone, Red Bank Catholic senior second baseman Brendan Madigan delivered a two-out RBI single to right on a 3-2 pitch to score Wares from second and push Kurdewan to third.

Brendan Madigan RBI single from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Russell Messler RBI single in the 5th from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Toms River South senior Russell Messler followed with a game-tying RBI single to left to plate Kurdewan and RBC shortstop Al Molina gave the Caseys representatives their third big hit of the inning with a two-run double to deep left-center to score Madigan and Messler and put the Shore ahead, 4-2.

“I thought it was going out,” Molina said of his double. “I hit it pretty good, but this is a Major League ballpark and the conditions today weren’t great for hitting, so that could have affected it. Still, it felt good to come up with a big hit when my team needed it.”

Al Molina long two-run double from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Cala then delivered his second hit of the game, an RBI single through the middle to score Molina and cap the Shore scoring.

“This lineup is dangerous,” Molina said of the Shore batting order, which has now scored 29 runs in three games. “Every lineup here is deep, but so far, it just seems like with us, everybody in the order, whether it’s the starters or the subs can beat you. We weren’t as good today as the first two games, but we put some hits together when we needed to.”

Kyle Cala RBI single from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Molina’s key hit at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark was fitting considering the Phillies drafted the RBC infielder in the 29th round of the Major League Baseball Draft on June 7. The three-year starter for the Caseys finished Thursday 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, two RBI and a run scored and is 3-for-7 with two doubles a triple and four runs scored for the tournament.

“It’s obviously special for me to come play here after the Phillies drafted me,” said Molina, who has not signed with the Phillies and has a scholarship offer from Coastal Carolina. “I played on the field before when I came for the pre-draft workout, but this was the first time I got to play a live game on this field, so it was special. Every ballplayer has dreams of playing on a big league field and hopefully, I’ll be playing here in the future.”

Delco threatened to overcome the deficit in the bottom of the eighth when it drew three straight walks to start the inning. Jackson Liberty right-hander Dan Serreino then entered the game and recorded a strikeout on a 3-2 fastball, induced an RBI ground out, and coaxed one last ground out to Rumson-Fair Haven first baseman Morgan Maguire to end the inning. Following the bottom of the eighth, the grounds crew determined the worsening conditions and the persistent rain were reasons enough to call the game early.

Also in the win, Toms River North sophomore Joey Rose picked up his team-leading fourth hit of the tournament with an eighth-inning single and is now 4-for-7 with three doubles in the tournament.

The fourth-inning runs scored by Delco snapped a scoreless streak of 20 2/3 innings for Jersey Shore pitching, which has now allowed three earned runs in three games during the tournament.

“There’s just a lot of confidence out there knowing that you have a lot of good pitching,” said Groome, who was part of a Barnegat pitching staff that had three starters who threw at least 40 innings with an ERA under 2.00. “One guy throws one or two or three innings and you know you’re giving the ball to another great pitcher.”

 

Box Score

Jersey Shore 5, Delaware County 3

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

R

H

E

Jersey Shore (3-0)

0

0

0

0

5

0

0

0

5

7

1

Delaware County (2-1)

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

1

3

3

0

 

Jersey Shore

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Brendan Madigan, 2B

3

1

1

1

0

0

-- Dan Wondrack, C

0

0

0

0

1

0

Russell Messler, CF

3

1

1

1

0

0

--Evan Pietronico, LF

0

0

0

0

1

0

Al Molina, SS

2

1

1

2

1

0

--Morgan Maguire, 1B

1

0

0

0

0

0

Kyle Cala, RF

3

0

2

1

0

0

-- Will Morgan, RF

0

0

0

0

1

0

John Moschella, 1B

3

0

0

0

0

0

-- Tommy Toole, 2B

1

0

0

0

0

1

Ryan Wares, 2B

1

1

0

0

1

1

-- Matt Cosentino, CF

2

0

0

0

0

1

Matt Kurdewan, 3B

2

1

1

0

0

1

-- Joey Rose, 3B

2

0

1

0

0

1

Brandon Martorano, C

2

0

0

0

0

1

-- Jon Meola, SS

2

0

0

0

0

2

Joe Silvestrone, DH

2

0

0

0

0

1

-- Tyler Kapuscinski, DH

1

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

30

5

7

5

5

9

2B: Molina
CS: Rose

Delaware County

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Kevin Mohollen, C

3

1

1

0

0

2

-- Bill McCarthy, C

0

0

0

0

1

0

Jimmy Pisani, CF

1

1

0

0

1

0

-- Corey Ziring, CF

2

0

0

0

0

2

Seth Bower, 1B

2

0

0

1

0

1

-- Matt Briner, 1B

2

0

0

1

0

1

Ben Faso, LF

2

0

0

0

0

1

-- Tom Leonard, LF

2

0

0

0

0

1

Nick DiGregorio, DH

2

0

1

1

0

1

-- C.J. Pruitt, DH

1

0

0

0

0

0

Sean Menold, 3B

2

0

1

0

0

0

-- Andrew Turner, 3B

0

0

0

0

1

0

Steven Moppert, RF

1

0

0

0

0

1

-- James Kantner, RF

2

0

0

0

0

0

Nathan Sides, SS

1

0

0

0

0

1

-- Ryne Ogren, SS

1

1

0

0

1

0

Liam Bendo, 2B

2

0

0

0

0

1

-- Ricky Collings, 2B

0

0

0

0

1

0

Totals

26

3

3

3

5

12

GIDP: Kantner
SB: Pisari
Picked Off: Pisari (by Groome)

Delaware County

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Rob Brown

3.0

0

0

0

1

3

0

Ashton Rains, L (0-1)

1.2

5

5

5

1

1

0

Sean Conelli

0.1

1

0

0

0

0

0

Brendon Little

3.0

1

0

0

3

5

0

 

Jersey Shore

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Jason Groome

3.0

0

0

0

1

5

0

Shane McCarthy, W (1-0)

1.0

3

2

1

0

1

0

Chris Murphy

3.0

0

0

0

1

5

0

Anthony Arneth

0.0

0

1

1

3

0

0

Dan Serreino, S (1)

1.0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Arneth pitched to three batters in the eighth.