HOLMDEL – Evan Pietronico and many of his fellow seniors on the St. John Vianney baseball team have accomplished plenty on an individual level but still have a long to-do list in their final high school season together.

First among them: beat Shore Conference Class A Central division rival Red Bank Catholic.

St. John Vianney senior right fielder Evan Pietronico belted a two-run home run in the Lancers' 11-5 win over Red Bank Catholic Saturday. (Photo by Matt Manley)

The Lancers – ranked No. 5 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – checked off their first goal for the 2014 season by beating the No. 3 Caseys, 11-5, Saturday to give eighth-year coach Mike Morgan his 100th career win.

With a lineup full of seniors, St. John Vianney scored its first win over its rival since the 2010 Monmouth County Tournament, the year before this senior class entered the program. The two teams played in separate divisions in 2011 and 2012 and the Caseys won all three meetings last season, with ace and current University of Maryland starting infielder Mike Rescigno starting each time.

“Every guy who played the field for us today is a senior and that was by design,” Morgan said. “We had a couple guys playing in positions they weren’t used to, specifically the outfield, but I felt it was more important that the seniors get this opportunity. They know what it’s like to be on the wrong end of this game and that’s been driving them. I wanted to give them a chance to feel the other side.”

The Lancers showed plenty of emotion from the opening pitch and had added incentive to make their coach’s 100th win a special one.

“This was a milestone win for our coach and this was the game we wanted him to get his one hundredth,” Pietronico said. “We knew he was going to get it eventually, but we wanted to make it special.”

“This is all about the kids,” Morgan said. “It’s just a number, and I was going to get it sooner or later. The kids were talking about it before the game and they really wanted to get it today, so if it’s something that was important to them, then I’m glad they got it.”

Pietronico ignited the St. John Vianney offense with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning and the Lancers took advantage of eight Red Bank Catholic errors, seven of which came in an eight-run Vianney third inning.

Pietronico belted a 1-0 offering from Red Bank Catholic starter Tom Puza over the right field wall to make it 2-0 and the Lancers scored another in the third on an RBI infield single by senior left-fielder Chris Morris deep in the hole at shortstop.

2 - Evan Pietronico 2-run HR in the 1st from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

“I got a pitch middle of the plate in, and I turned on it like I am supposed to,” said Pietronico, who despite slugging over .800 last season during an All-Shore junior year, got off to a 1-for-7 start with no extra-base hits in the team’s first two games. “I just pay attention to the quality of my at-bats and in the first two games of the season, I didn’t have quality at-bats. Today I had three quality at-bats, which is all I’m looking for.”

After Red Bank Catholic scored two unearned runs against St. John Vianney starter Justin Chin, the Caseys then fell apart in the field and lost control of the game. Senior second baseman Drew Fisher, Morris and junior designated hitter Nick DeLuise – the lone junior in the lineup – had the only RBI hits in the eight-run inning, which put Vianney ahead, 11-2.

“We’ve been on the other end of those innings, so we know that when you make a couple of mistakes, you’re unsure about the ball being hit to you again,” Pietronico said. “At that point, our focus was to just keep doing what we were doing and hit the ball hard somewhere and make them catch the ball. It seems like a simple thing when things are going well, but when they aren’t going well, it can be tough.”

Red Bank Catholic chased Chin in the fifth when senior catcher Mike Alescio drew a bases loaded walk to make it 11-3. Junior Doug Facendo greeted junior reliever Dan Schirmacher with a two-run single to make it 11-5, but Schirmacher struck out Chris Bender to end the threat and retired the final six batters in order to close out the win.

Morris finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBI, while DeLuise and Devenney each went 2-for-3 and senior second baseman Drew Fisher 2-for-4. Chin earned his second win of the season and while he surrendered eight hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings, he kept the Caseys to three earned runs and struck out seven.

Drew Fisher RBI single scores Devenney from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Chris Morris RBI single scores Rotelli from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Both Chin and Puza were pitching on three day’s rest, Puza after having thrown seven innings in a 4-1 win over Monmouth on Tuesday. Chin threw four innings of a 10-1 win over Rumson Tuesday and Schirmacher threw 2 1/3 innings on two days of rest after firing four frames in a 6-4 win over Shore on Wednesday.

“There’s no question that this was a big game for us today, but that’s not why the pitching worked out the way it did,” Morgan said. “We’re still building up both guys, and they are on pitch counts at this point in the season. The schedule just kind of worked out that we could use both if we needed to today.

“It’s a long season, so we need those guys for the long haul, and we need to be prepared to play every game with this intensity. We had some letdown games last year, and it was the difference between losing the division by a lot and having a chance to compete for the division in those games with RBC. We got a big win today, but it’s only one game, and that’s the message we need to remember for now.”

 

Box Score

St. John Vianney 11, Red Bank Catholic 5

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

R

H

E

Red Bank Catholic (2-1, 2-1)

0

0

2

0

3

0

0

5

9

8

St. John Vianney (3-0, 3-0)

2

1

8

0

0

0

x

11

12

2

 

Red Bank Catholic

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Brendan Madigan, CF

4

1

2

0

0

0

Evan Madigan, 2B

4

1

1

0

0

0

Al Molina, SS

4

0

1

0

0

0

Matt Kurdewon, 3B

4

1

2

0

0

1

Tom Merlo, RF

3

2

1

0

1

1

Mike Alescio, C

2

0

1

1

1

1

Doug Facendo, 1B

3

0

1

2

0

2

Chris Bender, LF

3

0

0

0

0

2

Danny Sullivan, DH

1

0

0

0

1

1

-- Mike Spinelli, PH

1

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

29

5

9

3

3

8

2B: B. Madigan, Merlo, Alescio
Picked Off: B. Madigan

St. John Vianney

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Drew Fisher, 2B

3

1

2

1

1

0

Anthony Santoro, C

3

0

0

0

1

3

-- Vincent Durso, CR

0

1

0

0

0

0

Evan Pietronico, RF

2

2

1

2

2

1

Joe Rotelli, 1B

4

1

0

0

0

0

Chris Morris, LF

4

1

3

2

0

1

Anthony LaVigne, 3B

4

1

1

0

0

1

Nick DeLuise, DH

3

2

2

1

1

0

-- Stephen Adami, PR

0

0

0

0

0

0

Pat Devenney, SS

3

1

2

0

0

1

Chris Loney, CF

4

1

1

0

0

2

Totals

30

11

12

5

5

9

HR: Pietronico (1st inning off Puza, 1 on, 1 out)
IBB: Pietronico
SB: Fisher
CS: Fisher, Adami
Picked Off: Devenney

Red Bank Catholic

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Tom Puza (L, 1-1)

2.2

8

8

3

4

3

1

Joe Liddy

1.1

3

3

0

1

3

0

Tom Montano

1.0

0

0

0

0

2

0

Vin Viterelli

1.0

1

0

0

0

1

0

 

St. John Vianney

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Justin Chin (W, 2-0)

4.2

8

5

3

3

7

0

Dan Schirmacher

2.1

1

0

0

0

1

0

Hit by Pitch: Devenney (by Viterelli)
Pitches-Strikes: Puza 84-50, Liddy 35-23, T. Montano 14-9, Viterelli 11-6, Chin 84-57, Schirmacher 27-19
Groundouts-Flyouts: Puza 3-0, Liddy 0-0, T. Montano 0-1, Viterelli 0-0, Chin 3-0, Schirmacher 1-3