Baseball – Jersey Mike’s Week 7 Team of the Week: Red Bank Catholic
When Red Bank Catholic walked off the field at Brookdale Community College on May 10 as Ranney celebrated beating the Caseys in the Monmouth County Tournament championship, the RBC players believed it to be a certainty that they would have their revenge 11 days later.
That is not cockiness, either. It is something that has become a given: In the Shore Conference Tournament, Red Bank Catholic runs the show.
For the fourth straight season that the Shore Conference Tournament has been held, Red Bank Catholic has run the table, this time closing it out by handing Ranney its first loss in 20 games and its first loss of the season to a Shore Conference opponent.
After taking down the No. 1 team in the state and becoming the first ever team to win four consecutive Shore Conference Tournament titles, Red Bank Catholic reeled in another Jersey Mike's Team of the Week Award -- which has become an annual achievement for Red Bank Catholic that coincides with winning the Shore Conference Tournament.
Prior to RBC's win on Sunday, no program had ever won four consecutive Shore Conference Tournament championships, nor had any team ever won four championships in a five-year stretch.
Sunday's win was also a milestone for RBC coach Buddy Hausmann, who reached the 300-win mark for his career with the championship victory.
For the second straight season, Alex Stanyek got the ball to start the Shore Conference Tournament final on the mound at ShoreTown Ballpark in Lakewood. Last year, he pitched five innings in an SCT final win over Jackson Memorial and in Sunday's SCT final vs. the state's No. 1 team, Stanyek fired 6 2/3 shutout innings while allowing two hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts.
Stanyek pitched the MCT championship game vs. Ranney as well and after giving up four runs (two earned) in the first two innings, he pitched four scoreless innings to finish off his outing and allow RBC to take the lead in the top of the seventh before Ranney won it in the bottom of the inning.
In Sunday's final, Stanyek was one out away from completing the game on his own, but a six-pitch walk with two out pushed Stanyek to 110 pitches, meaning he had to come out of the game with the Caseys still one out from closing out the Panthers.
Senior Ethan Marzo got the call from the bullpen to get the last out and if he could not retire the first batter he faced, then he would have to deal with Ranney star A.J. Gracia as the potential winning run. Gracia hit the game-tying RBI double in the bottom of the seventh of the MCT final and scored the winning run on Ryan Costello's single. He also hit the tiebreaking home run in the SCT semifinals against Rumson-Fair Haven -- a 2-1 Ranney win.
Marzo made sure Gracia would not have a say in the seventh inning. He struck out the only batter he faced, setting off the celebration after a 2-0 Caseys win.
Red Bank Catholic's offense came in the fifth inning, when Shane Andrus collected his third leadoff hit of the game and sophomore Dylan Passo followed with a first-pitch, line-drive double down the rightfield line to score courtesy runner A.J. Sciametta. Junior Matt Brunner then came through with an RBI double one batter later and extended the lead to 2-0.
RBC made it back to Lakewood with a 3-1 win over Christian Brothers Academy in the semifinals, with Stanyek belting a home run and Andrus knocking in a run in the win while junior Declan Leary went the distance for the victory on the mound.
The Caseys' week began with an SCT quarterfinal win over Middletown North, with Steve Svenson pitching RBC to a 4-2 win while Passo was the offensive star, going 2-for-3 with a two-run single and a pop-up that was dropped, allowing two runs to score.
Looking ahead, Red Bank Catholic will open up the NJSIAA Tournament on Friday as the No. 1 seed in the South Jersey Non-Public A bracket. The Caseys have not won a sectional or group championship since 1997 and have never won a state title in Non-Public A.
Jersey Mike's 2023 Team of the Week Winners
Week 1: Southern
Week 2: Shore
Week 3: Jackson Memorial
Week 4: Ranney
Week 5: Donovan Catholic
Week 6: Middletown North
Week 7: Red Bank Catholic