Baseball – 2023 Shore Sports Network Coach of the Year: Buddy Hausmann, Red Bank Catholic
As both a player and a coach at Red Bank Catholic, Buddy Hausmann knows all about firsts.
At the end of his junior season at RBC back in 1997, he pitched the Caseys to their first ever NJSIAA group championship. Fourteen years later, he coached his alma mater to their first ever Shore Conference Tournament championship.
This last year, Hausmann and the Caseys chased several firsts and firsts-in-a-while and accomplished almost all of them. Expectations were sky-high heading into the season for the Caseys and by the end of it all, Hausmann guided RBC to its best season ever.
After his Caseys finished No. 1 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, No. 2 in the state and made history during tournament play, Hausmann is the Shore Sports Network Baseball Coach of the Year for the first time.
RBC opened the 2023 season ranked No. 1 in the state by NJ Advance Media and No. 2 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 behind Ranney and in the second week of June, the Caseys remained at least a full stride behind Ranney in the race for No. 1 in both the state and the Shore.
By the first week in June, RBC had earned its revenge vs. Ranney, advanced deeper in the NJSIAA Tournament and overtook the Panthers for No. 1 at the Shore. As for the No. 1 ranking in the state, it would take another first for RBC.
After losing to Ranney in a classic game in the Monmouth County Tournament championship game, 6-5, RBC bounced back and beat the Shore’s then-No. 1 team in the Shore Conference Tournament championship game, 2-0.
Not only was it the first and only loss Ranney suffered vs. a Shore Conference opponent during the season and not only did it snap a 20-game winning streak by the Panthers, but it clinched RBC its fourth consecutive Shore Conference Tournament title. The Caseys are the first program to win four consecutive SCT titles and while those four titles did come over the span of five years (the 2020 tournament was canceled), RBC is also the first team to ever win four SCT titles in a five-year span as well.
Although beating Ranney gave RBC a history-making win against an upstart rival, it was not the victory that meant the most to the seniors on this year’s Caseys team, which meant it was not the game Hausmann – as much as he and his team enjoyed it – wanted the most.
Heading into this year’s NJSIAA Tournament, Hausmann remained the last pitcher to ever pitch the Caseys to an NJSIAA sectional championship – a distinction he was hoping to pass on to one of his players this year. That honor would eventually belong to Alex Stanyek, who Hausmann used as his silver bullet on the mound all year. Stanyek only made five starts, but they were three of the Caseys’ biggest games of the season an Stanyek was sufficiently-rested for all of them. With a pitching staff stocked with talent, Hausmann made sure not to overuse Stanyek – who has been through two back surgeries.
Before he could hand the ball to Stanyek to pitch for the sectional championship, Hausmann had to lead on Declan Leary and Steve Svenson to get the Caseys into the South Jersey Non-Public A final. First, Leary pitched RBC past Pingry, 4-1 in the sectional quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Svenson and the offense were locked in during an 8-1 win over St. Augustine – a win that helped ease the pain of a 2021, 6-5, extra-inning loss to the Hermits in the sectional final.
Those two wins set the stage for Stanyek, who allowed a run in the top of the first inning against St. Joseph of Metuchen, then shut the Falcons down the rest of the way. RBC’s offense woke up in time to tie the game in the fifth inning and take the lead in the sixth, securing a 4-1 win and the program’s first sectional title in Non-Public A since 1986 and the first of any kind since Hausmann’s junior season in 1997.
Four off RBC's 2023 starters -- Stanyek, senior catcher Shane Andrus, senior first baseman Frank Scrivanic and junior third baseman Sean Griggs -- were starters on the 2021 team that came within one out of reaching the Non-Public A final. The current group of seniors have lamented that loss for two years and were desperate to get past that game before they graduated.
With a Class A Central division championship, SCT title and South Non-Public A championship, RBC was two wins away from becoming the third ever Shore Conference team to win every championship possible. The Caseys took a one-run lead into the bottom of the seventh of the MCT final before losing to Ranney, 6-5, and could not overcome a three-run inning in a 4-1 loss to Don Bosco Prep in the Non-Public A final.
In the championship game, Hausmann again refrained from calling upon Stanyek to pitch. While the Caseys ace was eligible, he had not had fewer than 10 days of rest between any of his starts during the season and would have been pitching on five days of rest had he taken the ball in the final on June 9. Stanyek made himself available to pitch in relief, but the game never got to the point at which Stanyek could make a difference on the mound, in Hausmann’s estimation.
While the Caseys had to settle for a No. 2 ranking in the state, it was their highest finish ever and it came in a year in which there was another powerhouse team from the Shore Conference that was a significant threat to finish No. 1. Factor in the fourth consecutive SCT championship and it was a banner year for a Caseys team that has racked up 10 straight 20-win seasons and has won either the Monmouth County or the Shore Conference Tournament in each of the past six seasons.
At the end of the school year, Hausmann was promoted to athletic director at RBC for the 2023-24 year, but will continue his post as the head baseball coach while also taking on his new position.
Matt Manley's Shore Conference Coach of the Year Ballot
1. Buddy Hausmann, Red Bank Catholic
2. Ryan McCabe, Middletown North
3. Owen Stewart, Rumson-Fair Haven
4. Ed Truitt, Southern
5. Pat Geroni, Ranney