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PHILADELPIA -- Gavin Degnan played his high-school home games at a hitter-friendly home field during his career at Donovan Catholic High School and he played at another hitter-friendly park with he Jersey Shore Carpenter Cup Teammates on Monday morning.

Monday's venue, however, is friendly to Major League hitters. For the high-school hitters who occupied the home of the reigning National League champion Philadelphia Phillies for the Carpenter Cup semifinals, the outfield wall looks much farther away.

The Big-League dimensions of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia could not contain Degnan, who blasted a game-tying, opposite-field, two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to jumpstart the Jersey Shore squad in a 9-4 win over Olympic-Colonial in the semifinals of the Carpenter Cup Tournament.

Degnan finished 2-for-2 with a double, two runs scored and the two-run blast, which pulled Jersey Shore even at 4-4 in the top of the fourth inning after the Shore had surrendered the lead in the bottom of the third. After Red Bank Catholic catcher Shane Andrus walked with one out in the fourth, Degnan worked the count to 3-1 against Cherry Hill West right-hander Ryder Garino and crushed an elevated fastball toward the rightfield seats.

Degnan's opposite field shot carried over the high wall in rightfield and crashed down in the second row of seats, tying the game at 4.

In his first plate appearance, Degnan laced a double to the left-centerfield gap to set the Shore up with runners on second and third in the top of the second inning. St. John Vianney rightfielder Andrew Zottar followed with an RBI groundout to second base that scored Andrus and moved Degnan to third and a sacrifice fly by Central Regional shortstop Dom Masino chased home Degnan to state the Shore to a 2-0 lead.

Red Bank Regional left-hander Nathan Ruth was the pitching star of the game for the Shore. The Felician University signee took over for Southern junior and Jersey Shore starter Brady Lesiak with a runner on third and one out in the bottom of the third and Olympic-Colonial ahead, 4-2.

Ruth halted the threat with a strikeout, a walk and a fly out to end the inning and set the stage for the Shore's rally in the top of the fourth. Ruth finished with three shutout innings, during which he allowed four hits, one walk and struck out five. He ended his day on the mound by winning a 10-pitch battle with Gloucester third baseman Chris Ruggieri, striking him out for the first out of the sixth inning.

After Degnan's home run in the fourth, the Shore kept hitting and added two more runs in the inning to take a 6-4 lead. Masino ripped a single into left, stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch and came home on a bloop double to rightfield by Rumson-Fair Haven second baseman Reece Moroney, giving the Shore a 5-4 lead.

Moroney's hustle into second base with two out paid off when Howell designated hitter Braden Walsh punched a 2-2 slider from Garino into centerfield to bring in Moroney with Jersey Shore's sixth run.

Ruth posted zeroes in each of his two full innings and Rumson-Fair Haven right-hander John Goodes took over in the bottom of the sixth with one out and none on. Goodes set down the first two batters he faced to send the game to the seventh inning, when the Shore did more damage at the plate.

Marlboro's Alex D'Ambrosio took over at DH and led off the seventh with a line-drive single to right. Red Bank Catholic junior and Alabama commit Sean Griggs worked a walk and Middletown North third baseman Ryan Frontera stepped to the plate initially looking to bunt.

After two failed attempts by Frontera at a sacrifice bunt, D'Ambrosio stole third base anyway. With a 2-2 count, Frontera made the most of his inability to drop down the bunt by scalding a two-run double into right-center, chasing Griggs home all the way from first base.

Frontera's Middletown North classmate, R.J. Kernan, followed with a chopper through the middle that scored Frontera from second with an RBI single, making the score 9-4.

Armed with a five-run lead. Goodes pitched a one-two-three seventh, walking the second batter of the inning, but inducing a game-ending double-play to Wall shortstop Gabe Cavazzoni.

With scattered thunderstorms in Monday's forecast and possible over the next two days, the two semifinal games were shortened to seven innings each -- down from the usual nine.

The Jersey Shore squad will return to Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. to take on Tri-Cape in an All-New-Jersey final. With a win, the Jersey Shore would take over the all-time lead with its sixth Carpenter Cup championship. The Shore and Olympic-Colonial both have five titles heading into the 2023 final.

Box Score

Jersey Shore 9, Olympic-Colonial 4

Jersey Shore0204003991


Brady Lesiak2.13445154
Nathan Ruth (W)34001561
John Goodes (SV)1.20001021
Jack Kirchner32220441
Ryder Garino (L)0.24441241
Matt Augustin2.13332456
Dane Samartino1000007

Top Hitters

Jersey ShoreGame Stats
Gavin Degnan2-2, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Shane Andrus1-1, BB, 2 R
Dom Masino1-1, R, RBI, SB
Reece Moroney1-2, 2B, R, RBI
Ryan Frontera1-2, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Braden Walsh1-2, RBI
R.J. Kernan1-2, RBI
Alex D’Ambrosio1-1, R, SB
Olympic-ColonialGame Stats
Shane McKenna1-2, 2 RBI
Ethan Haddock1-2, 2B, R, RBI
Sam Winsett1-2, 2B, BB, R, SB


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