Photo Gallery by Doug Bostwick

*Video Highlights*

 

PHILADELPHIA – After watching his starting pitchers dominate for the first three games of the Carpenter Cup, Jersey Shore manager Cip Apicelli had any number of options for starting pitchers in Friday’s championship game against Burlington County at Citizens Bank Park.

Instead of making the difficult decision for himself, he decided to let his eventual starter – Brick senior Evan Lobato – make it for him.

“I was at our end-of-season pool party last night and I got a text from Evan telling me he really wanted the ball to start the game tomorrow,” said Apicelli, who is the head coach at Ocean Township. “Our assistants were there so I showed them the text, and I said to them, ‘This kid really wants the ball. I’ve got to give it to him.’ And then he goes out and shoves it for three innings and that paves the way for what we do.”

Photo by Doug Bostwick.

Apicelli’s decision paid off, but then again, any of his many choices was likely to pay off with the way the Shore pitching staff performed over the four games of the tournament. Lobato pitched the first three innings of the second Jersey Shore shutout of the tournament, a 2-0 win over Burlington County Friday that gave the club its first Carpenter Cup championship since 2010 and fourth overall. The shutout also marked the first time in the 29-year history of the Cup that a team threw two shutouts in the same tournament.

“This is one of the best groups I’ve ever been around, especially at the high school level,” Apicelli. “Kid after kid has good velocity and the ability to get guys out. It’s so impressive to watch because we’ve got (Jason) Groome and (Luca) Dalatri, who you’ve heard about all year, but then there’s Wares, Serreino and you could just go down the line. They’re all (good).”

Lobato’s three shutout innings to begin the game made him the fourth Shore pitcher to throw three shutout innings in a single game, with Barnegat’s Jason Groome and Howell’s Ryan Wares each doing it twice. Lobato struck out five while allowing just a walk and a hit, making it the fourth time in the four tournament games that a Shore pitcher struck out at least five in three shutout innings. In addition to Lobato, Colts Neck left-hander Chris Murphy struck out five in three innings during Thursday’s semifinal win over Delaware County and Groome did it twice, including a six-strikeout outing in the team’s opening-round win.

“Pitching on this staff has been unbelievable,” Lobato said. “You have faith in everyone that comes in and you know they’re not going to let up a run. Four runs in 36 innings against this competition is one of the best runs you’re ever going to see. It’s unreal.”

Lobato’s lone challenge from Burlington came in the top of the second inning when Northern Burlington’s Zach Gakeler and Florence’s Mike Muchowski began the frame with a single and a walk. Red Bank Catholic shortstop and Phillies 29th-round draft pick Al Molina then snared a line drive for the first out and Lobato ended the threat by striking out the next batter and inducing an inning-ending foul out to Colts Neck first baseman Tyler Kapuscinski.

“I was really amped up out there, and I was just trying to focus and make my pitches,” Lobato said. “I didn’t feel like I had my best fastball today, so I made some adjustments and focused more on hitting some spots. (Wall catcher Dan) Wondrack did a great job calling pitches for me, and we just found a way to get it done.”

Brick senior Evan Lobato struck out five in three innings of one-hit ball to lead the Jersey Shore's second shutout of the Carpenter Cup. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Wares followed Lobato with his second three-inning scoreless outing of the tournament, both of which came in the two Shore shutouts. The Rutgers University recruit needed only 28 pitches to navigate through the nine outs he recorded and the right-hander allowed one hit and did not walk a batter while striking out one.

Groome fired two scoreless innings over the seventh and eighth to cap a spotless tournament. The 6-foot-5 sophomore left-hander allowed a hit and a walk while striking out two less than 24 hours after throwing three hitless innings with five strikeouts in Thursday’s semifinal. For the tournament, Groome allowed four hits and two walks while striking out 13 in eight scoreless innings.

The Shore pitching staff was also without Christian Brothers Academy sophomore Luca Dalatri, who is away visiting several colleges, including the University of Kentucky, the University of South Carolina and Clemson University, according the Carpenter Cup staff.

“From playing to coaching, I don’t know if I’ve seen a kid better than that kid (Groome),” said Apicelli, who is a 2001 Ocean graduate and a former infielder at Monmouth University. “And Dalatri is not far behind him. But even the other guys (on the staff); they don’t get the same recognition, but they’re all awesome. I’ll gladly take any one of them on my team.”

Dan Serreino strikeout wins the Carpenter Cup for Jersey Shore from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Jackson Liberty right-hander and Seton Hall recruit Dan Serreino closed out the tournament with his second save in as many days. Burlington put the tying run on first base with two out, but Serreino sealed the game with a called strike three on a curveball. The two baserunners were the first allowed by Serreino, who struck out six over his four tournament innings and did not walk a batter.

Toms River South senior center fielder Russell Messler had a hand in each Jersey Shore run, which came in consecutive innings. The senior ripped a double down the left-field line to lead off the fourth, and after advancing to third on a ground out by Molina, he scored on a passed ball to give the Shore the first run of the game.

Russell Messler double leads off the 4th from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Messler then drove in the second Shore run with a sacrifice fly to deep center field in the bottom of the fifth after Kapuscinski singled to lead off the inning, Manasquan second baseman Tommy Toole walked and both advanced a base on a wild pitch with one out.

“I just took advantage of fastballs over the plate,” Messler said. “With runners on second and third in that (third) at-bat, I was just trying to get a piece of the ball, get it somewhere and get a run in.”

After battling a hamstring injury for the majority of his senior season, Messler came alive over the final two games of the Carpenter Cup. He ripped an RBI single in his final at-bat in Thursday’s semifinal, and after grounding out in his first at-bat Friday, squared two balls up in his final two at-bats.

“It felt good to do this with this group,” Messler said. “I played travel ball over the summer with a lot of these guys and even the guys who didn’t know each other came together and formed a good bond. A lot of us played against great pitchers during the year. I know I saw a lot of great pitching in the A South, playing with (Coach) Kenny (Frank), so this was something that was pretty exciting, but I was ready for it.”

Messler hit .500 or better in each of his first two varsity seasons in 2012 and 2013 while earning first-team All-Shore honors in each campaign. With his ailing hamstring Messler posted career-lows in nearly every major offensive category, but those career lows still exceed the numbers of nearly any high school outfielder. He hit .375 with four home runs, six doubles, three triples, 19 runs, 18 RBI and eight stolen bases. Only his four home runs were better than his previous career-low, but despite the injury troubles, he did not miss time in the lineup and spent just a brief stint as the designated hitter.

“It was an up-and-down year for me,” Messler said. “It’s not something I’m used to, but it happens. That’s life. You just get over it and try to get better.

“Even though my hamstring was the way it was and it hurt a lot, this was my last year and I’ve got to play no matter what and see what happens. I’m not going to worry about how good I do. Just go out and play.”

After initially committing to Rutgers University, Messler is set to attend Howard College, a junior college in Texas with a strong baseball program.

“I was looking forward to Rutgers, but this is just a better fit for me right now,” Messler said. “From everything I’ve been told, there is a lot of exposure down there and my goal is to go work hard and have a couple of good years and if all goes well, maybe I can come back up here and end up at Rutgers or somewhere else.”

The Shore catchers also helped out their pitching staff, with Wondrack and Christian Brothers Academy sophomore Brandon Martorano each throwing out a potential base-stealer at second on the only attempt they faced.

Kapuscinski went 2-for-2 in his two plate appearances with a double to the right-center gap and a run scored.

The Carpenter Cup began in 1986 and has since provided a forum in which the top players in the tri-state area of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware could showcase their talents in a tournament setting. With its fourth championship, Jersey Shore trails only Olympic Colonial of South Jersey (five titles) for the most Carpenter Cup titles. The Shore entered this year’s tournament with the top all-time winning percentage of ay team and built on it with its four wins in four games. Jersey Shore is now 39-19 (.672 winning percentage) all-time, and after allowing only four runs in four games, the 2014 version of the Shore has a case as the best of the four championship teams.

“When I looked at the names we picked, my first thought was, ‘How many of these kids are we actually going to get to play?’” Apicelli said. “When all of them said that they were in, and we laid out what the pitching was going to look like, I thought this had a chance to be the best team to ever come out of the Shore Conference. After seeing what these guys did over these four games, I think there’s a strong case to be made that they are actually the best.”

 

Box Score

Jersey Shore 2, Burlington County 0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Burlington County (3-1)

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

1

Jersey Shore (4-0)

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

x

2

7

0

 

Burlington County

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Tyler O'Dell, 3B

3

0

1

0

0

1

-- Brennan Taylor, 3B

1

0

0

0

0

1

Ryan Shinn, RF

3

0

1

0

0

2

-- Garrett Mahon, RF

1

0

1

0

0

0

Christian DeLuca, CF

2

0

0

0

0

1

-- Nick Thevanayager, CF

2

0

0

0

0

1

Zach Gakeler, 1B

2

0

1

0

0

0

-- Zach Joseph, 1B

1

0

0

0

0

0

Mike Muchowski, DH

1

0

0

0

1

0

-- Isaiah Hall, DH

2

0

0

0

0

2

Joe Paolini, SS

2

0

0

0

0

0

-- Connor Milley, SS

0

0

0

0

1

0

Evan Powell, LF

1

0

0

0

0

1

-- Collin Stringham, LF

2

0

0

0

0

0

Nick Corbi, 2B

2

0

0

0

0

0

-- Matt Lutz, 2B

1

0

1

0

0

0

Matt Rykaczewki, C

1

0

0

0

0

1

-- Adam Rapp, C

2

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

29

0

5

0

2

10

CS: O’Dell (by Wondrack), Shinn (by Martorano)

 

Jersey Shore

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Brendan Madigan, LF

3

0

0

0

0

0

-- Morgan Maguire, 1B

1

0

0

0

0

1

Russell Messler, CF

2

1

1

1

0

0

-- Will Morgan, RF

1

0

0

0

0

1

Al Molina, SS

3

0

0

0

0

0

-- Brandon Janofsky, 2B

1

0

1

0

0

0

Kyle Cala, RF

2

0

0

0

0

2

-- Matt Cosentino, CF

2

0

1

0

0

1

Dan Wondrack, C

1

0

0

0

1

1

-- Joey Rose, 3B

2

0

0

0

0

1

John Moscella, DH

2

0

1

0

0

0

-- Joe Silvestrone, DH

2

0

1

0

0

0

Matt Kurdewan, 3B

2

0

0

0

0

0

-- Jon Meola, SS

1

0

0

0

1

0

Tyler Kapuscinski, 1B

2

1

2

0

0

0

-- Evan Pietronico, LF

1

0

0

0

0

1

Tommy Toole, 2B

1

0

0

0

1

0

-- Brandon Martorano, C

1

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

30

2

7

1

3

8

2B: Kapuscinski, Messler
SF: Messler
SB: Janofsky

 

Burlington County

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Sam Guckin

3.0

1

0

0

0

2

0

David Viselli, L (0-1)

2.0

3

2

2

2

1

0

Martin McDonald

0.1

2

0

0

1

0

0

Scott Zimmer

1.2

1

0

0

0

4

0

Brian Marconi

1.0

0

0

0

0

1

0

 

Jersey Shore

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Evan Lobato

3.0

2

0

0

1

5

0

Ryan Wares, W (1-0)

3.0

1

0

0

0

1

0

Jason Groome

2.0

1

0

0

1

2

0

Dan Serreino, S (2)

1.0

1

0

0

0

2

0

HBP: Joseph (by Serreino)