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There's no way to sugarcoat it - Tuesday was a brutal day for Shore Conference baseball in the NJSIAA Tournament.

The silver lining is that two teams, Christian Brothers Academy and defending Group I champion Shore Regional, are still alive thanks to a pair of walk-off wins in the bottom of the seventh inning. Also, there is still some baseball to be played as the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals are this afternoon and tonight at Count Basie Park in Red Bank, with the championship game coming Monday night at FirstEnergy Park.

Check out the latest edition of the Shore Sports Network Journal

The bad news is that overall the Shore went 2-9 against nonconference competition on Tuesday, including losses by four home teams that were higher seeds and two teams that were seeded No. 2 in their respective brackets.

One year after the Shore crowned a conference-record three Group champions, only one public team has reached a sectional final (Shore) and one non-public team (CBA) has reached the sectional semifinals. It took late-inning heroics for both teams to make it, as Shore beat Florence 3-2 on a walk-off RBI single by Devin McLaughlin after an RBI single by Michael Jelliff had tied it in the sixth.

Defending Group I champion Shore Regional won a thriller over Florence in the bottom of the seventh inning to make it back to the Central Jersey Group I final. (Photo by Sport Shots WLB)

The Blue Devils have developed a nice rivalry with Middlesex in the last few years, and they will host the Blue Jays on Friday as they look to defend their Central Jersey Group I crown.

The Colts held off fellow state-ranked opponent St. Augustine 4-3 in Non-Public South A thanks to Will Morgan's second walk-off hit of the season, an RBI single in the seventh inning. CBA remains unbeatable with ace Luca Dalatri on the mound, as he is now a combined 19-0 over the past two seasons and 8-0 this year. Junior catcher Brandon Martorano also continues to rake, as he went 2-for-3 and slugged his eighth home run of the season.

Next up is ninth-seeded Immaculata in the semifinals at CBA on Friday. The Colts are in search of their first title since winning the overall Non-Public A championship in 2009 with the team led by current Boston Red Sox prospect and former Monmouth University star pitcher Pat Light.

Defending Group IV champion Jackson Memorial lost a 13-inning heartbreaker to Old Bridge after another one of its patented comebacks fell short, and a pair of No. 2 seeds, Toms River North and St. Rose, saw their seasons come to an end with losses at home in South Jersey Group IV and Non-Public South B, respectively. The underdog runs of No. 14 seeds Freehold Boro and Matawan ended in road losses, and Middletown South fell to state-ranked Northern Burlington on the road.

Toms River South battled Mainland the whole way in losing a 1-0 pitchers' duel thanks to a four-hitter by Mainland's Kyle Gerace, who struck out 12. Trevor Wagner took a tough loss in only allowing one run on two hits in five innings and striking out seven. The No. 2 team in the state, Bishop Eustace, ended Red Bank Catholic's state playoff run with a 5-1 win, and Mater Dei Prep saw its best season in 13 years come to a close with a loss to Marist in Non-Public South B.

For Jackson Memorial and RBC, tonight is a chance to get right back in the saddle and still compete for a tournament title, as they face off at 7 p.m. on RBC's home field, the pre-ordained site of the SCT semifinals. CBA will continue its drive for five titles when it plays underdog Manasquan, the No. 15 seed, in the first semifinal at 3:30. The Warriors were eliminated in the sectional quarterfinals, so they can throw the kitchen sink at CBA with both Sheehan brothers and Marc Galvan on the mound to try to advance to their first SCT final since 1993, while the Colts are trying to repeat as SCT champions and continue their push for the greatest season in their illustrious history.

Right now, CBA coach Marty Kenney, a Hall of Famer in his 42nd season, has to be considered a front-runner for Coach of the Year. Yes, the Colts have some big-time talent, but they have delivered on all fronts, putting together the most complete season of any team in the Shore thus far. If they win today and Friday, that means they will have already won division and county titles and have reached the finals in the sectional and Shore Conference tournaments.

LACROSSE

Rumson-Fair Haven will try to make program and Shore Conference history today when it takes on perennial power Mountain Lakes in the Group I final at Hopewell Valley. You can check out the full preview by Bob Badders here. A win by the Bulldogs would not only give them their first Group title, it would also be huge for putting Shore Conference lacrosse on the state map. The Shore has never had a team win an overall Group championship.

More on Wednesday: 

  • Former Rumson standout Shane McCarthy was named to the College Sports Madness All-Big East second team after a great freshman season on the mound for Seton Hall. CBA grad Ryan Ramiz also had a solid first season for the Pirates, becoming a starting outfielder.
  • With everybody watching, Ramsey's Ashton Bardzell delivered, tying Mike Trout's single-season state record with his 18th home run yesterday.
  • The heartbreaking story of the baseball prospect turned war hero.
  • A Yankees fan walked all the way from Tampa starting on March 2 to Yankee Stadium, where he arrived before the game yesterday. His walk raised more than $27,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
  • Former Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel is now the offensive coordinator at Don Bosco Prep, which is his alma mater.
  • The Minnesota Twins are honoring a teen who died when he was struck by a line drive in a game on Sunday.

On tap for today: There is the SCT semifinals in baseball, and the Group I final involving Rumson-Fair Haven in lacrosse.

I'll end with Kris Bryant hitting an absolute moonshot for the Cubs that nearly cleared the giant video board at Wrigley Field. That's like an old-school Darryl Strawberry bomb from the pre-steroid era.