LAKEWOOD - Christian Brothers Academy left-handed pitcher Blaise Venancio knows about seizing an opportunity, which he did as a junior during the 2017 season with the Colts baseball team. The first-time varsity hurler grabbed an open rotation spot on an inexperienced team, became the team's steadiest starting pitcher and performed at a level high enough to earn him a spot on the Shore Sports Network All-Shore Second Team.

On Monday, in the first ever Monmouth-vs.-Ocean Underclass All-Star Game, Venancio got only 10 pitches to show what he could do and just as he did during the season, he took advantage.

Venancio struck out the side on 10 pitches in the top of the fifth inning Monday, a precursor to an eight-run bottom of the inning that propelled Monmouth County to a 9-3 win over Ocean in the first ever installment of the Underclass All-Star Game. Venancio was named the game's Most Valuable Player for his perfect inning.

"It's an honor to be recognized the first year they're doing this game," Venancio said. "There are so many good kids out here. Everyone out here on both sides had a really good year and everyone wanted to be at their best tonight. I just wanted to go out and do my best and it turned out to be a good night for me and a lot of other guys on our team."

With his Monmouth team trailing Ocean 2-0, Venancio struck out Central Regional junior outfielder Tyler Aires on three pitches and set down Pinelands sophomore pitcher Noah Dean on four. He finished off his perfect inning with a strikeout of Point Pleasant Beach junior infielder Josh Yates.

"I was really amped up," Venancio said. "I haven't come in relief this year so the first time was one inning, in and out. I just tried to throw hard, throw strikes and get three outs."

Venancio was representative of CBA's team this year, which won 18 games after losing two All-Shore players in Luca Dalatri and Brandon Martorano, who left for the University of North Carolina, and two more key pieces in the form of No. 2 starter Kenny Campbell and center fielder Cid Porter.

"I think we're going to be very good next year," Venancio said. "We have everyone coming back. Our pitchers are coming back and we're solid. Our hitting should be solid. Our defense should be solid. We have a chance to be good, so I'm excited."

Freehold Township junior outfielder Nick Lodispoto started the fifth-inning rally with a single, the first of four straight trips in which he reached base. Keansburg outfielder Liam Meyer got Monmouth County on the board with a bases-loaded RBI single before Middletown South sophomore shortstop Aurellio Licata worked a bases-loaded walk to tie the game.

Monmouth took the lead on a ground ball by CBA senior third baseman Andrea Dalatri, one that was played into an error to keep the bases loaded with one out. Raritan sophomore outfielder Tyler Bruno followed with a line-drive double into the left-field corner to chase home two runs and put Monmouth ahead, 5-2.

Two more runs scored on a slow-roller, infield single by Freehold Borough junior catcher Phil Marcantonio that was thrown away to allow Bruno to score from second after Dalatri scored from third. St. Rose junior infielder Will Gannon ran for Marcantonio and scored on an error to cap the run-scoring in the busy fifth.

Monmouth added a run in the seventh on an RBI double by Raritan sophomore first baseman Jake Tennant that chased home Lodispoto.

Ocean scored a run each in the first and second innings off of Middletown North junior right-hander Garrett French, who started the game and was the only pitcher on Monday to pitch more than one inning. Toms River North junior first baseman Jared Bellissimo delivered a two-out, RBI single in the top of the first to open the scoring and classmate Alex Klalo plated Brick catcher Joe Guerra with an RBI ground out in the second after Guerra singled and advanced on an error and a wild pitch.

Klalo also knocked in a run in the eighth inning with an RBI single against Red Bank Catholic junior right-hander Austin Nappi.

Monday's game also served as a fundraiser for the P4 Foundation, which raises money and provides aid for families affected by childhood cancer.


Box Score

Monmouth 9, Ocean 3




Brendan Mullins100010
Matt Pickus110000
Noah Dean100021
Nick DeGennaro100000
Tyler Suydam (L)158621
A.J. Smith110001
Tom Spiwak111121
Matt D’Amore120002
Jon Poplawski100012
Garrett French232100
Mike Walsh100010
Bryan Reed100000
Blaise Venancio (W)100003
Ryan Napolitano110011
Logan Marter100020
Austin Nappi111101
Dane Della Valle100001


Top Hitters

OceanGame Stats
Alex Klalo1-2, 2 RBI
Craig Larsen1-2, BB
Jared Bellissimo1-2, RBI
Joe Guerra1-2, R
Mike Sullivan1-1, HBP
MonmouthGame Stats
Tyler Bruno2-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Nick Lodispoto1-2, 2 BB, 2 R, 3 SB
Jake Tennant1-3, 2B, BB, R, RBI
Andrea Dalatri1-3, R, RBI
Will Gannon1-1, BB, R
Liam Meyer1-3, R, RBI
Cristian Corcione1-2, 2B
Evan Perrette1-3, BB, R
Joe Sprake1-1


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