Baseball – Marcantonio’s 400-Foot Blast Gives Freehold Win Over Marlboro in Opener
MARLBORO - In more than a decade coaching baseball at Marlboro, Mustangs head coach Jim Ferraro has only seen one player clear the 12-foot centerfield wall on his team's home field and that was current Cincinnati Reds pitcher and former Colts Neck star Anthony DeSclafani.
In a Friday game against Freehold Boro, it took a once-in-a-decade blast for the Colonials - ranked No. 9 in the Shore Sports Network Preseason Top 10 - to hand Marlboro its first loss of the season.
With one out, one on and his team trailing by a run in the top of the seventh, Freehold Boro catcher Phil Marcantonio stepped up and socked a fastball from sophomore Josh Schleifman over that 12-foot-high wall in dead center on a line to catapult the Colonials into the lead, 4-3.
Marcantonio's 400-foot lined shot proved to be the game-winner in Freehold's 4-3 win over the Mustangs Friday and is the fourth home run by the Colonials catcher over the past two seasons. Two of those four home runs have come against Marlboro, who had no answer for Marcantonio last season, when the senior backstop went 4-for-6 with a triple, a home run and seven RBI in two games vs. the Mustangs in 2017.
The seventh-inning heroics served as redemption for Marcantonio, who struck out in his previous at-bat in the top of the fifth inning and committed a throwing error that allowed the tying run to cross home plate for Marlboro in the bottom of the fifth.
As a junior last season, Marcantonio was fifth among Shore Conference catchers with a .635 slugging percentage and tied for fourth in the Shore Conference with 12 doubles.
Freehold Boro scored a run each in the second and third innings, with senior shortstop Mark Costanzo knocking in one with a single and senior right fielder Nick Aiello doubling another one home.
Marlboro answered with three in the fifth, which started with a long double to right field by junior second baseman Anthony Brienza. The three runs scored on two errors and a bases loaded walk.
The Mustangs threatened in the bottom of the seventh when the first two batters of the inning reached on an error and a catcher's interference, but senior Matt Granato - who came in from his starting spot at second base to pitch in the sixth inning - struck out back-to-back hitters and induced a game-ending pop-up to strand the tying a winning runs.
Freehold Boro 4, Marlboro 3
|Freehold (1-0, 1-0)||0||1||1||0||0||0||2||4||9||6|
|Marlboro (2-1, 1-1)||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||3||5||2|
|Matt Granato (W, 1-0)||2||1||0||0||0||3||26|
|Josh Schleifman (L, 0-1)||3||4||2||2||3||6||61|
|Phil Marcantonio||1-3, HR, BB, R, 2 RBI|
|Nick Aiello||2-3, 2B, BB, RBI|
|Matt Granato||2-3, R|
|Vin Ferrigno||2-3, 2B, BB|
|Gurkaran Singh||1-4, 2B, BB|