Baseball – Leary, Red Bank Catholic Turn Tide vs. Rumson to Reach Third Straight SCT Final
RED BANK -- For four straight games in the head-to-head matchup between the two Shore Conference Class A Central division rivals, Red Bank Catholic could not figure out how to beat Rumson-Fair Haven.
Over the past two weeks, the Caseys found their secret weapon.
For the second time in the last 15 days, sophomore Declan Leary outdueled Rumson-Fair Haven senior ace and Wake Forest commit Charlie Jones to help the Caseys beat the top-seeded Bulldogs, this time 10-0 in six innings to advance to the Shore Conference Tournament championship game for the third straight season.
Leary pitched a four-hit shutout in a 3-0 Red Bank Catholic win over Rumson on May 10 -- the first loss of the season for the Bulldogs -- and with his six scoreless innings on Tuesday, Leary has now held Rumson without a run in 13 innings this season.
"It helps to have confidence (from the last game), but at the same time, it's a new game," Leary said. "I was trying to work the fastball more than I did the last time, because they were probably going to be sitting on the breaking stuff."
Leary's shutdown pitching has helped RBC reverse its course against Rumson, which went 2-0-1 against Red Bank Catholic last season and won the first meeting between the teams in 2022.
"I think the main thing is establishing the breaking stuff to keep them off balance," Leary said. "That and just trusting my defense and today, they were great."
With just one strikeout and one walk on Tuesday, Leary relied on his defense, which committed two errors, but also made several key plays to help its starter out of innings. Junior catcher Shane Andrus threw out three runners on the base paths -- one on an attempted steal and two more on pickoff throws -- and Leary picked another off at second base in the fourth.
"We were really defensively sound today," Andrus said. "Being able to make those plays, that's another key to winning these games against good teams. We make those plays and we win, because we have the offense to put runs on the board against anybody."
"We saw it last year too with him," Hausmann said of Andrus. "He controls the running game, he throws behind runners, he knows what to call, he keeps balls in front of him and the pitchers are very confident in him. If he could catch Shane (Panzini) as a sophomore last year, they figure, 'Well he can definitely catch me.'"
Leary also started one of two double-plays turned by the Caseys, with that one notching the first two outs of the bottom of the second inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Bulldogs senior Johnny Bruno led off with a single, but was erased when senior shortstop Matt Scrivanic started a 6-4-3 double-play.
Scrivanic also made a leaping catch to end the fourth inning and his younger brother, junior Frank Scrivanic made a diving stop at first base for an unassisted putout one batter earlier.
"The defense was amazing today," Leary said. "I can't even describe how much confidence it gives me to see guys making plays like they did today, especially Matt Scrivanic out there at shortstop making a couple really nice plays. It's huge."
Leary needed only 22 pitches to work through the last three innings, throwing just six pitches in both the fifth and sixth innings.
"His ball moves a ton," Hausmann said. "It's dipping and diving. His two-seamer moves in on the righties and then his slider moves the other way and he can throw a changeup in there."
Red Bank Catholic got a runner to second base with none out against Jones in the first but struck out three straight times against the 6-foot-6 senior to squander the early threat.
The Caseys would not let their subsequent opportunities get away. Freshman Dylan Passo opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly and sophomore Matt Brunner plated another by beating out an infield single while senior Jack Meyers scored from third for a 2-0 RBC lead.
"We knew we were going to get a couple runs off him, just based off the last time we played," Andrus said. "We just put the ball in play, made them try to play defense and that's what we did. We got him out of the game early to get to their bullpen, which is really good for us."
Jones was making his second start of the year vs. RBC and third of the last two years against the Caseys, who have six starters in the lineup who faced Jones last year.
"Seeing him for the third time now, it's a lot easier to know what's coming, especially when he is going to be more curveball-focused, which he was most of the day," Andrus said. "We knew to sit curveball and when he threw a fastball, just pound it somewhere."
"I think we started to figure him out in the middle of the last game," Hausmann said of Jones. "We changed our approach and we started to see the ball a little better against him. Going into today we knew not to chase the breaking ball, which we did last time the first time through the order and he struck out six or seven in three innings. Today, we had a better approach."
Senior Nico Gonzalez made it 3-0 by beating out a potential inning-ending double-play ball for an RBI fielder's choice and Passo followed with an RBI single to left, although Rumson capped the damage at two runs in the inning when Bruno threw out Gonzalez at home plate to end the top of the third.
Matt Scrivanic singled home a run to make it 5-0 in the fourth and the Caseys blew the game open with five in the sixth. Frank Scrivanic tripled home his brother on a ball that turned Rumson centerfielder Brian Doherty around and went off his glove. Gonzalez added an RBI single and Brunner plated his second RBI on a groundout to make it 8-0.
Junior Alex Stanyek capped the scoring with a two-out RBI single to left and Leary fired a one-two-three inning -- his first of the game without yielding a base-runner -- to end it.
"They did a great job today, especially some of those guys near the bottom of the order," Hausmann said. "They've done a pretty good job for us all year. You can't just rely on four or five hitters, you need other guys to step up. The top of our order figured it out later in the game, but we needed those guys at the bottom to get us going today."
Red Bank Catholic will go for its third straight Shore Conference Tournament title, which covers the 2019 and 2021 seasons since the 2020 campaign was canceled due to COVID-19, on Sunday at ShoreTown Ballpark in Lakewood. The Caseys will take on No. 7 Jackson Memorial, with the Jaguars likely to start senior left-hander and Auburn University commit Zach Crotchfelt.
Hausmann is happy for his team but worried for his left shoulder. The former Seton Hall standout and New York Mets draft pick throws live batting practice when his team his likely to face hard-throwing left-handers and he plans on breaking out the full arsenal later this week.
"I'm going to have to move a lot closer to the plate than 60 feet, six inches," Hausmann joked. "He's throwing in the mid-90's so I'm going to get a workout this week."
RBC had success against Jones on two occasions this season, but was also quieted by Middletown South ace Ben Schild in the Monmouth County Tournament and scored only one run against CBA ace Colin Reilly in the MCT before eventually winning in extra innings.
If they can crack Crotchfelt and get another strong performance from junior right-hander Alex Stanyek -- who pitched a one-hitter in a 7-1 win over Wall in Friday's quarterfinal round -- RBC will be in position to continue its championship run in the Shore Conference Tournament rolling with a team that has both experience back from last year and a core of players who will be on the roster for at least one more season.
"There is a lot of team chemistry going right now," Andrus said. "We are just very determined to try and get that three in a row for RBC."
Red Bank Catholic 10, Rumson-Fair Haven 0
|Red Bank Catholic||IP||H||R||ER||BB||SO||PC|
|Declan Leary (W, 7-2)||6||4||0||0||1||1||69|
|Charlie Jones (L, 4-2)||3||5||4||4||4||4||60|
|Red Bank Catholic||Game Stats|
|Alex Stanyek||2-4, BB, R, 2 RBI|
|Frank Scrivanic||3-4, 3B, 3 R, RBI|
|Dylan Passo||1-1, 2 BB, 2 RBI|
|Matt Brunner||2-4, 2 RBI|
|Matt Scrivanic||2-4, 2 R, RBI|
|Nico Gonzalez||1-3, R, 2 RBI|
|Rumson-Fair Haven||Game Stats|
|Owen Kenney||2-2, SB|
|Spencer Hobson||1-2, 2B|