RED BANK - Spencer Bauer had to watch helplessly from the dugout as his Manasquan baseball team lost the first of its two biggest Shore Conference Class A Central division games of the season and even when he returned for the second of two games against Red Bank Catholic on April 22, he was not yet ready to take the mound for the Warriors.

On Sunday at Count Basie Park, Bauer toed the rubber for the first time since Manasquan's first game of the season and more than made up for lost time.

The senior right-hander pitched a one-hit shutout Sunday against fourth-seeded Red Bank Catholic to catapult No. 5 Manasquan into the Monmouth County Tournament semifinals with a 1-0 victory.

In three meetings this season, Manasquan and Red Bank Catholic have combined for only four runs, with RBC winning the two regular-season meetings last week, 1-0 and 2-0. There was not much room for improvement on the mound from what seniors Mike Anthony and James Harmstead, plus junior Alex Galvan, did against RBC but Bauer was the difference between effective and nearly-perfect.

Manasquan senior Spencer Bauer (24) gets congratulations from senior catcher Alec Wells. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Manasquan senior Spencer Bauer (24) gets congratulations from senior catcher Alec Wells. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

"It was tough being out and watching those games because I felt like I could do something to help us win them," Bauer said. "I just couldn't wait to get back out there."

In his first start of the season, Bauer pitched a four-hit shutout against Monmouth Regional but came down with a hamstring injury the following week. After it didn't improve, coach Brenan Gordon and Bauer decided to shut Bauer down for a week, brought him back to the batting lineup during the course of this past week, and unleashed him on RBC on Sunday.

"We had him at a certain (pitch count) and he went a little over," Gordon said. "He felt comfortable. He worked him back slowly at practice and he could barely run, so we had no intention of him going that far but he ended up feeling great. He never really had a tough inning, so it was a smooth seven innings."

For the first four innings, sophomore Shane Panzini matched Bauer on the mound and continued the dominance he displayed on April 18, when he shutout the Warriors with 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 Red Bank Catholic win. Manasquan finally broke the ice in the top of the fifth when junior shortstop Will Hopkinson tripled home Anthony.

Armed with a lead, Bauer mowed through the final two innings and retired the Caseys in order in the seventh to end his gem.

"Coming into today, I was just just trying to get people out early in the count so I could stretch out longer into the game," Bauer said. "I felt my slider worked really well today. I could throw it for a strike in any count so that was kind of what I pitched off of - instead of the fastball."

As a sophomore at Christian Brothers Academy, Bauer pitched a no-hitter against Neptune but Sunday's performance, it is safe to say, was the defining one of his short career to date. He was CBA's No. 3 starter as a sophomore and after transferring to Manasquan before last season, he missed 30 days while sitting out to honor the NJSIAA transfer rule, then missed the remainder of the season due to injury.

Next Saturday, Bauer will have a chance to top both of those starts when he, in all likelihood, takes the ball again against his former team. Manasquan will host No. 8 seed CBA with a trip to FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood for the Monmouth County Tournament title game on the line.

"I know all of those kids so it should be fun to face them," Bauer said. "Coming into the season, we expected to win all the tournaments and it means a lot to have a chance to now. These are all my childhood friends and games like this one and the one we have coming up are the reason I came here."


Box Score

Manasquan 1, Red Bank Catholic 0

Manasquan (9-2)0000100160
RBC (11-3)0000000010


Spencer Bauer (W, 2-0)710027 82
Shane Panzini (W, 3-1)53112681
Vincent Bianchi23000232

Top Hitters

Red Bank CatholicStats
James Harmstead2-3
Alex Galvan2-3
Will Hopkinson1-4, 3B, RBI


More From Shore Sports Network