PHILADELPHIA - The term "closer" in baseball is typically reserved for pitchers, but in the 2017 Carpenter Cup, the Jersey Shore team's closer was the second unit of position players.

For the second straight day, the second string provided a wave of offense, this time leading the Shore to a 7-2 win over Delaware North Saturday at Citizens Bank Park to capture the Shore's fifth ever Carpenter Cup championship - tied for the most ever by one program.

Toms River North first baseman Jared Bellissimo drove in the tying and winning runs with a two-run single in the fifth, the final line on his tournament resume that earned him Carpenter Cup Most Valuable Player honors.

Photo by Matt Manley
Photo by Matt Manley


Bellissimo was 7-for-10 with six RBI in four games, including six RBI over the last two days and hits in six consecutive at-bats spanning the quarterfinals and the championship game on Saturday. He went 4-for-4 with four runs scored and four RBI in the Shore's 12-7 semifinal win over Olympic-Colonial on Friday.

"It felt good," Bellissimo said of his hot streak. "I was just trying to make good solid contact with the ball and drive the ball up the middle."

The Shore's second unit accounted for the go-ahead runs in three of the four Carpenter Cup wins. The group scored 11 runs on 14 hits in the last five innings on Friday and accounted for six runs on six hits on Saturday. Toms River South outfielder T.J. Scuderi also hit a tie-breaking two-run home run in the sixth inning of the opener - a 4-2 Jersey Shore win.

"It was awesome to be part of that group," Bellissimo said. "We really bonded. Most of us knew each other already coming into it, but we came together as a team."

Scuderi also contributed a long RBI double on Saturday that the Toms River South junior blasted to deep center field. The two-bagger chased home Toms River North shortstop Mike Nyisztor with the game's final run in the sixth inning. He also singled in the fifth inning by lining a single over the head of shortstop Nathan Thomas despite only taking a half swing.

Nyisztor also doubled, scored two runs and drove one in for the Shore in a 1-for-3 day at the plate. Red Bank Catholic sophomore outfield David Glancy had the Jersey Shore's other double - a long drive that one-hopped the outfield wall in left field and scored Toms River North infielder Craig Larsen from first to give the Shore a 4-2 lead.

Glancy spent Friday with the first group but a wrist injury to Colts Neck outfielder Anthony Galason opened up a spot with the second group, which Glancy filled. St. John Vianney junior Logan Marter got the start in left field with the first group.

"Coach Yorke told me I would be in that second group with Galason hurt, so I was pretty excited," Glancy said. "It was a great opportunity. I know the rest of those guys in there have my back and they are going to give me a chance to drive runners in and give me a chance to score runs if I can get on."

While the offense again finished strong for the Jersey Shore squad Saturday, its pitching returned to top form after allowing seven runs on Friday. Wall sophomore left-hander Trey Dombroski allowed two runs in the first inning - one of which was earned - before bouncing back to strike out four consecutive batters. He struck out the last batter of the first, then fanned the side in order in the second.

Jackson Liberty junior right-hander Matt Pickus tossed a scoreless fourth while stranding a couple of runners and Freehold Borough left-hander Dan Chiusano fired two scoreless, no-hit innings with three strikeouts to advance the game to the sixth.

Toms River South senior left-hander Justin Fall served as the conventional closer on Saturday, finishing off the game with three innings. Fall started Friday's semifinal with three innings and came back Saturday to allow one hit and one walk while striking out three.

"They were going to throw me for one and I sailed through the first one and got through the second one fine so I went out for the third," Fall said. "It meant a lot because this is my last high school game."

Fall, Chiusano and Dombroski all pitched on Friday and Saturday and would not have been eligible to pitched as much as they did under the NJSIAA pitch count regulations, which state that a pitcher may not throw more than 50 pitches on consecutive days. Dombroski threw 58 pitches in the two games, Chiusano threw 59 and Fall blew past the mark with 96.

Fall made sure manager Mike Morgan, who was away from the team the last two games and left the squad under the direction of Colts Neck head coach Mike Yorke, knew the 6-foot-5 St. John's signee was good to go in the final.

"I texted coach Morgan last night and told him 'Make sure the coaches who are here know I'm good to go,'" Fall said. "It meant a lot. Most of the guys, myself included, we never know when we're going to get to play on a Major League field again. There is some World Series history here, so it's a good feeling."

After falling behind, 2-0, the Shore cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a two-out throwing error that kept the inning alive. After Holmdel first baseman Sal Monticciolo walked with one out, Don Zellman reached on an overthrow to first to set up runners on first and third with two out. Manalapan infielder Steven Bullen then delivered a two-out RBI single to right-center on a 0-2 pitch to push across the Shore's first run.

Jersey Shore's fifth Carpenter Cup championship pulls the program even with Olympic-Colonial for the most in the 32-year history of the tournament. The four-game sweep through the field also gives the Jersey Shore the most wins (46) and best winning percentage (.687) in the history of the tournament. The title is the second in four years and third since 2010.

"From the first practice, coach (Morgan) talked about how we got beat in the first game last year and his message to us was he wanted us to jell as a team," Fall said. "We really came together in everything - hitting, fielder, pitching - we came together and did a really good job."


Box Score

Jersey Shore 7, Delaware North 2

Delaware North200000000233
Jersey Shore00012400X7104



Kyle Maxwell33001344
Ryan Bradigan (L)1.14321046
Wyatt Nelson13431031
Ryan Speed1.20001119
Michael Deery1000007
Trey Dombroski31212450
Matt Pickus11001119
Dan Chiusano (W, 2-0)20001331
Justin Fall31001348


Top Hitters

Delaware NorthGame Stats
Keith Russo1-3, 2B, R
Oliver Campbell1-1, BB, SB
Anthony Madonna0-1, BB, RBI, SB
Nathan Thomas1-2
Jersey ShoreGame Stats
Jared Bellissimo1-2, 2 RBI
T.J. Scuderi2-2, 2B, R, RBI, SB
Mike Nyisztor1-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI
David Glancy1-2, 2B, R, RBI
Steven Bullen1-2, RBI
Logan Marter1-1
Giovanni Ciaccio1-1, BB, SB
Craig Larsen1-2, R
Don Zellman1-2


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