Shore Conference Tournament Bracket

COLTS NECK Advancing to the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals was enough motivation for the Red Bank Catholic baseball team to put its best foot forward in Wednesday’s SCT quarterfinals against top-seeded Colts Neck, but earning a semifinal game on their home field and the chance to finally beat a Cougars team that won both regular-season meetings made it feel like a make-or-break game for the Caseys.

Red Bank Catholic scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning to thwart a comeback attempt by the Cougars and advance to the SCT semifinals with a 16-8 win over the Cougars. RBC will play in the SCT semifinals next Wednesday against Jackson Memorial at Count Basie Park, which is the predetermined site for the semifinals.

The last three hitters in the RBC order - sophomore Anthony DeRosa, junior Mike Spinelli and sophomore Dom Caraballo - combined to go 7-for-11 on Wednesday with a walk, two doubles, a triple, two RBI and seven runs scored. DeRosa finished 3-for-5 with two runs, Spinelli was 2-for-2 with a double, triple, three runs and an RBI, and Caraballo was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI.

Mike Spinelli was 2-for-2 with a double, triple and three runs scored Wednesday against Colts Neck. (Photo by Mark Brown, B51 Photography)

“I think we were all really motivated to play today,” Spinelli said. “You never want to lose to any team three times in a season, especially when it’s a tournament game, and we’ve got a chance to get a game on our home field. We knew Colts Neck was tough, we knew their pitchers have been tough on us, but we made good adjustments and put up some good at-bats against them.”

Wednesday’s performance from the bottom third of the order follows a similar effort in a round-of-16 win over Toms River South on Saturday in which the same three players went a combined 6-for-8 – 9-for-11 when factoring in sophomore Aaron Ahn out of the No. 6 spot in the order.

“All three of those guys have been hitting pretty much all year,” Red Bank Catholic coach Buddy Hausmann said. “They are not at the bottom of the lineup because they can’t hit. They are there because they are young and somebody has to hit at the bottom. It’s nice when you can have that kind of production that deep in the lineup, plus those guys get us to (leadoff hitter) Evan (Madigan) and give him a chance to do damage.”

Madigan also went 2-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored, as well as an RBI in the seven-run seventh. Senior Tom Merlo also finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Colts Neck scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull to within 9-8. Tim Cavrak hit a 2-run single to headline the rally, which ended when RBC junior Jack Ipsen took over for starter John Poccia and recorded three straight outs to preserve the Caseys' lead.

“Poccia was throwing strikes like he needed to with a lead, but the defense didn’t do him any favors,” said Hausmann, whose team allowed six unearned runs Wednesday. “Ipsen came in a tough spot and did the same thing we asked Poccia to do, which was throw strikes and try to get an out at a time to limit the damage.”

The Cougars took a 4-2 lead with a four-run second inning, keyed by a two-run double by Mike Antico. Sam Devitis also had an RBI triple to open the Colts Neck scoring and Andrew Conforti tied the game with an RBI single in the inning.

Spinelli and Caraballo hit back-to-back doubles in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 4, and Chris Bender gave Red Bank Catholic the lead for good with a sacrifice fly later in the inning. Merlo tacked on a run with an RBI single to cap the four-run inning for RBC.

Red Bank Catholic scored 13 of its 16 runs off Colts Neck’s top two pitchers – senior left-handers Mario Ferraioli and Chris Murphy – and all 13 runs were earned. The loss was the first of the season for Ferraoili, who pitched in relief in each of Colts Neck’s last two games – an SCT win over Freehold on Saturday and an NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV loss to No. 16 West Windsor-Plainsboro South on Monday.

Chris Bender scores on one of the five Colts Neck wild pitches that allowed a run to score on Wednesday. (Photo by Mark Brown, B51 Photography)

Despite an offensive outburst that included 13 hits and pushed across 14 earned runs, the Caseys recorded only seven RBI, with the other nine runs scoring on  five wild pitches, two passed balls, an error and a steal of home on a double-steal with runners on the corners.

“We felt like it was important to play aggressive on the base paths against them,” Hausmann said. “We’ve got some speed and we’re facing two tough lefties with good breaking pitches, so if we got a ball in the dirt, we want to get to the next base.”

Red Bank Catholic will be the visitor on its own home field for the second straight year in the SCT semifinals after losing a 2-1, extra-inning game to Christian Brothers Academy in last year’s semis. After losing to the Monmouth County Tournament champions last year, the Caseys will welcome this year’s Ocean County Tournament champions.

“Getting that game at home with a chance to go to the finals was a big deal for us,” Spinelli said. “We lost a tough game last year, and we definitely want another shot at it.”

 

 

Box Score

Red Bank Catholic 16, Colts Neck 8

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

R

H

E

Red Bank Catholic (18-7)

2

0

0

4

0

3

7

16

13

3

Colts Neck (21-4)

0

4

0

0

0

4

0

8

7

2

 

Red Bank Catholic

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Evan Madigan, SS

3

3

2

1

2

1

Chris Bender, LF

2

2

0

1

2

1

Tom Merlo, RF

4

2

2

2

1

1

Doug Facendo, C

3

0

1

1

1

0

--Joe Luff, CR

0

1

0

0

0

0

Mike Ianelli, DH

4

0

1

0

1

2

Aaron Ahn, 3B

3

1

0

0

0

2

Anthony DeRosa, 1B

5

2

3

0

0

1

Mike Spinelli, 2B

2

3

2

1

1

0

Dom Caraballo, CF

4

2

2

1

0

2

Totals

30

16

13

7

8

10

2B: Spinelli, Caraballo
3B: Spinelli
SAC: Spinelli
SF: Facendo, Bender
GIDP: DeRosa
IBB: Madigan (by Ferraioli)
SB: Madigan, Merlo 2, Luff 2

 

Colts Neck

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

Mike Antico, CF

5

1

1

3

0

1

Tim Cavrak, SS-P

3

0

1

2

1

1

Tyler Kay, RF

2

0

0

1

1

0

Jordan Gonzalez, 1B

3

1

0

0

1

0

--Jack Tirrell, PR

0

0

0

0

0

0

Sam Devitis, 2B

4

1

2

1

0

0

Jake McTigue, DH

3

1

1

0

0

0

--Mario Ferraioli, P

0

0

0

0

0

0

--Chris Murphy, P

0

0

0

0

0

0

--Nick Umbro, SS

0

0

0

0

0

0

Jeremy Slad, C

2

0

0

0

2

1

--Lou Rondinella, CR

0

1

0

0

0

0

Brendan Clarke, 3B

4

1

1

0

0

2

Andrew Conforti, LF

3

2

1

1

1

0

Totals

29

8

7

8

6

5

2B: Antico
3B: Devitis
SAC: McTigue
SF: Kay
Picked Off: McTigue

 

Red Bank Catholic

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

John Poccia (W, 4-1)

5

7

8

2

4

4

0

Jack Ipsen (S)

2

0

0

0

2

1

0

 

Colts Neck

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

Mario Ferraioli (L, 7-1)

4

6

6

6

2

5

0

Chris Murphy

2.1

5

7

7

4

4

0

Tim Cavrak

0.2

2

3

1

2

1

0

 

John Poccia pitched to five batters in the sixth inning.

HBP: Ahn 2 (by Ferraioli, by Ferraioli), McTigue (by Ipsen)
Pitches-Strikes: Poccia 99-61, Ipsen 29-18, Ferraioli 79-48, Murphy 54-28, Cavrak 14-9
Groundouts-Flyouts: Poccia 6-4, Ipsen 1-3, Ferraioli 3-4, Murphy 2-0, Cavrak 0-1