Baseball – RBC Blasts Freehold Boro to Capture Second MCT Crown
LAKEWOOD - The Red Bank Catholic baseball team had tasted defeat during the tournament season more times than they would care to remember in recent years, so when the Caseys had a chance to seal the Monmouth County Tournament championship on Tuesday against Freehold Borough at FirstEnergy Park, they did not pass up the opportunity.
JonMichael Rotondo and Aidan Supp each homered on first-pitch fastballs and the Caseys blew open the game with five runs in the bottom of the sixth to beat the Colonials and claim the Monmouth County Tournament championship for the second time ever - both since 2013.
RBC was playing in the MCT final for the fifth time in seven years and Monday marked its second win. They lost to Luca Dalatri and Christian Brothers Academy in the Monmouth County final and Shore Conference Tournament semifinal last year and lost to Dalatri in the 2014 SCT semifinals as well. CBA also beat RBC in the 2015 Shore Conference Tournament final.
PHOTO GALLERY: RBC vs. Freehold Boro by Paula Lopez
Tuesday night, there would be no close call - not after the Caseys put the game away with their five-run sixth.
"It meant a lot (to win the title)," Supp said. "The last three years here have been brutal. Being here almost every year, competing, getting our butts kicked and our hearts broken. We really wanted it this year. In the end, we came, we conquered and we finally got the championship back where we wanted it to be."
Red Bank's last tournament championship was a Monmouth County championship that the Caseys expected would be one of five championships on the season. Unlike the 2013 team, this year's Caseys team celebrated with a dogpile near the pitcher's mound to celebrate a title that has narrowly evaded them in each of the past three seasons.
"I thought about that on the way here," RBC coach Buddy Hausmann said. "I remember those guys were like, 'This is the second (championship), but we're looking for five. That was the mentality. We had won two championships and the thought was, 'Well, let's win three.' They didn't celebrate, they didn't pile on. They just walked right off the field like it was just another win.
"I've been on the other side of this the last couple of year and so have a few of these guys. It's much better being on this side and I'm glad they get a chance to enjoy this."
Red Bank Catholic led from the jump Tuesday night and took advantage of four Freehold Borough errors, including one in the first inning that set runners up at first and second with none out. A fly out moved leadoff man Mike Veit to third and shortstop Aaron Ahn stole second to put runners on second and third with two out for catcher Brian Sheehy.
Sheehy lifted a high pop-up on the infield that twisted in the wind and dropped just out of the reach of Freehold Boro first baseman Pat White.
On the very next pitch, Rotondo launched the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first well over the left-center field fence to give RBC a 4-0 lead.
"It was a fastball right down the middle," Rotando said. "Once it hit the bat, I didn't even feel it come off, so I knew it was gone."
After Freehold scored three in the top of the third, Supp led off the bottom of the inning with a towering shot that cleared the fence in left and extended the lead to 5-3.
"I wanted to be aggressive," Supp said. "The first pitch was a fastball and I was looking fastball. I got a hold of it and as soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to go out. I put the hand up, ran around the bases, turned to (Hausmann) and said, 'I told you it was gone.'"
"I don't think I've seen two homers hit here ever," Hausmann said of the way the ball carried Tuesday at FirstEnergy Park. "We talked a lot before the game about how we knew he was going to throw a lot of first-pitch fastballs and a lot of fastballs, period."
Supp's blast turned back a momentum swing in the Colonials' favor after they cut their deficit to one run in the top of the third. Freehold starter Tom Holdorf drilled a two-run double off the base of the fence in right to cut the 4-0 deficit in half and scored on an RBI single by Nick Aiello.
Holdorf went the distance and allowed just two earned run on 10 hits while walking one and striking out five on 98 pitches.
Austin Nappi picked up his third win of the tournament for RBC by working four innings. Nappi entered the game eligible to throw 72 pitches after throwing 68 on Saturday and threw 65 on Monday night. He allowed three earned runs on six hits before giving way to Vin Bianchi, who allowed just one hit in three scoreless innings. Bianchi also struck out four and walked three.
One of the key at-bats in the game came in the top of the sixth inning, when Holdorf came to the plate as the potential go-ahead run with one out in a 5-3 game. He fouled off two 2-2 pitches from Bianchi and took ball three to work the count full, then lofted a high fly ball to right field that Caseys sophomore David Glancy secured for the second out. Bianchi induced a tapper in front of home plate on the next batter to end the threat.
"It was a good at-bat on both ends," Hausmann said. "Holdorf was getting good swings and Vin just kept challenging him. He showed a lot of courage in that spot."
In the bottom of the inning, David Glancy singled home the sixth run and a two-out error on a ground ball hit by Connor Caizza to third base scored the seventh run of the game for RBC and opened the door for three more runs in the inning.
Mike Veit singled in a run, Aaron Ahn drove him in with a double to left-center field, and Ahn scored on the third Freehold error of the inning.
Nappi was named the tournament MVP and Veit was named game MVP for going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
(3) Red Bank Catholic 10, (5) Freehold Boro 3
|Tom Holdorf (L, 3-2)||6||10||10||2||1||5||98|
|Austin Nappi (W, 6-1)||4||6||3||3||0||1||65|
|Vin Bianch (S, 2)||3||1||0||0||3||4||53|
|Tom Holdorf||2-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI|
|Chris Cassandra||2-3, R|
|Nick Aiello||1-3, RBI|
|Isaiah Howard||1-2, BB, R|
|Aidan Supp||2-4, HR, RBI|
|JonMichael Rotondo||1-3, HR, 2 RBI|
|Mike Veit||3-4, 2 R, RBI|
|Aaron Ahn||1-4, 2 R, 2B|
|Brian Sheehy||1-3, BB, 2 RBI|