Baseball – A North Outfielders Slug Shore Into Carpenter Cup Semis
Nick Hohenstein, Anthony Galason and Giovanni Ciaccio have been rivals in the Shore Conference Class A North division for the last three seasons, culminating in standout senior campaigns for all three outfielders in 2018 - Hohenstein at Christian Brothers Academy, Galason at Colts Neck and Ciaccio at Manalapan.
In Monday's Carpenter Cup quarterfinal round at F.D.R. Park in Philadelphia, the three sluggers combined forces to spearhead a second straight comeback win for the defending champion Jersey Shore squad and earned another chance to play at Citizen's Bank Ballpark.
Hohenstein hit the go-ahead single in the seventh, Ciaccio drilled a solo homer in the eighth and Galason capped the scoring in the eighth with a triple and a run scored to highlight the Shore's 8-6 win over Inter-AC Independents.
After falling behind, 3-0, in the bottom of the first, the Shore eventually came back to take the lead with a four-run sixth that included RBI singles by Wall junior Grant Shulman and a go-ahead RBI single by Toms River North senior Craig Larsen.
Inter-AC tied it up with a run in the bottom of the sixth by scoring a run off winning pitcher Matt Pickus of Jackson Liberty, but the Shore squad came right back with two runs on the top of the seventh on Hohenstein's RBI single and a second RBI single by Shulman.
Shulman - who verbally committed to Rutgers University earlier in the month - finished 2-for-3 with two RBI Monday after driving in the tying run in the top of the ninth during Friday's 6-2 Shore win.
With a now enjoying a two-run cushion, Ciaccio added another insurance run by cracking a solo home run in the eighth. The senior center fielder from Manalapan hit one home run during the season, but did smack 13 doubles and five triples for the Braves.
Galason later tripled with one out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Toms River North senior Jared Bellissimo, who finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored and is 3-for-5 with a double, two runs and two RBI in two Carpenter Cup wins.
After striking out seven in three scoreless innings on Friday, Wall junior left-hander Trey Dombroski tossed three more scoreless innings of relief with one hit, no walks and three strikeouts to stabilize the game and set the stage for a Shore comeback later on. After a dominant regular season in which he pitched to a 0.71 ERA, Dombroski has now allowed no runs on four hits and one walk while striking out 10 over six innings at the 2018 Carpenter Cup.
CBA left-hander Blaise Venancio gave up the three first-inning runs, but only one was earned. Venancio finished his two-inning outing having allowed three hits and no walks while striking out two.
After Pickus allowed a run in the bottom of the sixth and the Shore came back with two in the top of the seventh, Pinelands junior Noah Dean fired a scoreless seventh to keep the lead at two runs before Ciaccio, Galason and Bellissimo helped add two more to the lead.
Jackson Memorial sophomore left-hander Nick Beetel followed with a scoreless, hitless eighth and after Red Bank junior Jack Povey gave up three straight hits to start the ninth, Red Bank Catholic senior Austin Nappi came on to finish off the win and earn the save.
The Jersey Shore will take the field at Citizen's Bank Ballpark on Friday at 1 p.m. against fellow N.J. squad, Burlington County, in the Carpenter Cup semifinals. The Shore is trying to become just the second team to ever repeat as Carpenter Cup champions, which has not been done since Olympic Colonial won in both 1991 and 1992.
A championship would also pull Jersey Shore into a tie for the most Carpenter Cup championships (five) with Suburban One National/Bicentennial - the team the Shore squad eliminated in the opening round.