Baseball – South Jersey Non-Public B Championship Preview
NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public B Final
Wednesday, June 7, 4 p.m.
At Monmouth University
No. 1 Gloucester Catholic (26-3) vs. No. 2 St. Rose (24-3)
Tuesday's rain moved the originally-scheduled South Jersey Non-Public B final to Wednesday, which means both St. Rose and Gloucester Catholic will have no restrictions on any of their pitchers, other than the single-game 110-pitch limit imposed by the state this year.
St. Rose has hit its share of highs and lows over the course of the season, an up-and-down ride considering its 24-3 record. That ride was all about getting to this point: a showdown with the No. 6 team in the state for a sectional championship and a spot in Saturday’s Non-Public B final in Toms River.
The Purple Roses are 4-2 in tournament games this season and in their two state tournament wins were both shutouts. No. 1 starter and senior right-hander Brandon Mology fired 6 2/3 shutout innings in a first-round win over Trenton Catholic and Riley Maypother and Will Gannon combined on a two-hit shutout against Somerset County Tournament champion Rutgers Prep on Friday. Both Maypother and Gannon are now available without restriction should St. Rose need either on Wednesday.
With a South Non-Public B title on the line Wednesday at Monmouth University, Mology will take the ball again looking to silence a dangerous Gloucester Catholic lineup. Mology is 5-0 and has pitched exclusively against teams outside of St. Rose’s Shore Conference Class B Central. In his five starts and one relief appearance, only Red Bank knocked him around. He pitched shutout ball against Manasquan, Rumson-Fair Haven and Trenton Catholic and allowed one run in five innings in a Shore Conference Tournament win over Marlboro. Against Red Bank, Mology allowed four earned runs on five hits in four-plus innings, but his offense backed him up with seven first-inning runs.
St. Rose’s offense has been solid since losing to Marlboro, 2-0, just before the start of the Shore Conference Tournament. On top of beating Red Bank sophomore standout Jack Povey in a 9-7 win over Red Bank, the Purple Roses also scored an 8-2 win over North Jersey Non-Public A finalist Pope John and a 9-0 shutout of Christian Brothers Academy. Gannon and Maypother have continued their strong years at the plate during this stretch, as have Brody Maypother, Joe Volpe, Brendan Hueth and John Crowley.
Gloucester Catholic does not have an obvious No. 1 starter, but now has its entire staff fully eligible for Wednesday after the original date set for Tuesday was postponed due to rain. Junior left-hander Andrew Vail threw two innings Friday against Holy Spirit after senior Angelo DeAngelis pitched the first five and both will have no restrictions. Senior Brendan Bean would have had no restrictions if the game were on Tuesday. Those three pitchers each logged at least 25 innings and are three of eight Gloucester Catholic pitchers to pitch at least 10 innings this year.
Facing a 5-0 Mology, Gloucester Catholic will run out a lineup that is averaging 10 runs per game against an overall tougher schedule than the one St. Rose (10.6 runs per game) plays. The Rams’ only losses this year came against Bergen Catholic and twice to St. Augustine, which is playing for a South Jersey Non-Public A title on Tuesday. The Rams also have notable wins over Steinert, Deptford, West Deptford, St. Mary’s of Rutherford, and twice over Holy Spirit. St. Mary’s is a potential opponent in the Non-Public B final.
Sophomore Lillo Paxia leads the Rams offense with a .522 average with 13 doubles, three triples, three homers, 38 runs scored and 38 RBI, not to mention 24 walks. Paxia whacked a grand slam Friday in Gloucester Catholic’s 9-1 win over Holy Spirit and Bean added an inside-the-park homer in the win. Bean is hitting .439 with three doubles, two triples and three home runs. Senior Alex Persichetti is hitting .468 with eight doubles and junior Evan Giordano leads the team with four home runs.
St. Rose is seeking its first trip to a state final since the Purple Roses won the Non-Public B championship for the second consecutive year in 2009. The last time St. Rose was in a sectional final, Gloucester Catholic beat the Purple Roses, 4-2, in 2010. The Rams won four straight state championships from 2010 to 2013, including two Non-Public A championships in 2012 and 2013, but have not been to a state final since winning the fourth straight. This year is their first year back in Non-Public B since winning the group in 2011.