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RED BANK -- Shane Andrus, Alex Stanyek and Sean Griggs have been key players for the Red Bank Catholic baseball team for the last three seasons and all three were key figures on plays that cost Red Bank Catholic its best shot at its first ever NJSIAA state championship in the Non-Public A field.

On Wednesday at Count Basie Park, facing the team that denied them that 2021 state championship, those three Caseys mainstays plus fellow three-year starter Frank Scrivanic, cashed in on their shot at redemption.

Andrus highlighted a four-run first inning with a two-run home run and right-hander Steve Svenson fired a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead the Caseys to a cathartic, 8-1 win over the St. Augustine -- ending the reign of the six-time defending South Jersey Non-Public A champion.

Andrus, Stanyek, Scrivanic and Griggs were starters as underclassmen in 2021, when St. Augustine rallied to stun RBC, 6-5, in extra innings in the South Jersey Non-Public A championship game.

"All the seniors and some of the juniors, we have been waiting for this moment for two years now," Andrus said. "We wanted this game for so long and finally got it.

"When we were sophomores, it really hit us hard and we have been waiting two years to get this back against them. We put it all on the line to beat them and we did."

Stanyek was on the mound and Andrus behind the plate in the 2021 South Non-Public A final at St. Augustine when Hermits No. 9 hitter Josiah Ragsdale reached on a two-out error in the bottom of the seventh, stole both second and third base and then straight stole home with two strikes on the batter to tie the game.

In the bottom of the eighth, Kyle Neri won the game with a long single to the leftfield fence, where Griggs -- normally an infielder but playing leftfield to get his then-freshman bat in the lineup -- could not haul it in while running into the fence.

"It’s been in my head ever since we lost," Griggs said. "Sending us home, sending our seniors home, we played hard all year and it was a COVID year. It was everything we wanted that year and I have been living with it for two years. These seniors have been living with it for two years. We just came in locked-in today."

Scrivanic did not factor into the back-end of the game but helped RBC get out to a lead against the defending champs with an RBI knock, as did Stanyek.

After losing at home to Christian Brothers Academy in last year's sectional quarterfinals, RBC's core of 2023 seniors made a pact to make their last run at a championshipa successful one.

"The offseason was totally different," Red Bank Catholic coach Buddy Hausmann said. "They did not want that result again or to show up that way in this tournament. They were talking from day one: ‘That will not happen this year. We want to be there at the very end.’ And we’re capable of it. We know what we have and now, we’ve got to do it."

Flash forward to Wednesday, when the Caseys jumped in front early and did not let the Hermits get back in the game thanks to the efforts of its 2021 holdovers, as well as some new faces.

After he made two defensive plays in the top of the first inning -- one on the back-end of a rundown to catch a lead-runner going from second to third on a fielder's choice grounder to shortstop Max Dantoni and the other a slick, charging play on a slow-hit grounder for the final out -- Griggs jumpstarted the first Caseys rally with a line-drive, hustle double into right-centerfield. That came after Stanyek stung a ball to leftfield for a lineout and out No. 1.

"That definitely fired me up a little bit, setting the tone," Griggs said of his early involvement on defense. "Runner on second, got the job done. That play two years ago was a tough play, playing left field, where I wasn’t really used to playing. Getting the job done this time was a really good feeling."

Scrivanic then opened the scoring with a groundball single into rightfield that plated Griggs from second base. Next up was Andrus, who zeroed in on the first pitch and lined it over the leftfield fence for a 3-0 Caseys lead.

Sophomore Dylan Passo followed with a walk and junior Matt Brunner kept the inning going with a single, setting up an RBI single through the middle by Brendan Kopec that extended RBC's lead to 4-0.

A wild pitch made it 5-0 in the second inning, but St. Augustine got that run right back on a two-out RBI single by Jake Meyers in the top of the third.

Griggs led off the fourth by ripping an infield single off pitcher Matt Kouser and on Scrivanic's third single of the game, he held up at second base. Andrus then hit a shallow flyout to right-centerfield and with Meyers drifting to his left, a tagging Griggs took a chance to running to third. Meyers unleashed a strong throw, but it bounced past third baseman Manny Aponte and out of play, allowing Griggs to score the sixth RBC run.

Brunner then came through with the second of his three singles, this one knocking in Scrivanic, who had advanced to third on the throwing error from the outfield.

RBC extended its lead to 8-1 thanks to St. Augustine's second error in as many innings, with Scrivanic knocking the run in on a sacrifice fly.

"Today was amazing," Griggs said. "We were putting the bat on the ball. We were making them make tough outs, hitting the ball hard, getting into scoring position and getting the job done – executing to the highest level today. I was just really proud of my team."

The run support was plenty for Svenson, who needed 69 pitches to get through the first three innings and only 42 over the final four. After the RBI single by Meyers in the third, Svenson set down 13 out of the final 14 batters he faced to close out the game -- the lone runner coming on a single by C.J. Furey leading off the sixth inning.

"All the nerves were gone after (the four-run inning)," Svenson said. "I did pretty good in the first inning and then, we put up five runs and I was in complete control. I had one little mishap, but besides that, it was good."

"I feel like today was his best start of the season," Andrus said. "He had everything. His fastball velocity was the hardest he has thrown all year. His slider was moving like crazy. Everything was moving."

Svenson saved the rest of the staff with an efficient final inning. He took the mound in the top of the seventh sitting on 103 pitches and tore through the Nos. 6, 7 and 8 batters in the Hermits lineup on eight pitches.

While beating St. Augustine eased the pain that RBC's three-year starters have carried around for the last two years, the redemption arc won't be complete without a win on Saturday, when the Caseys play in the sectional final for the first time since the 2021 loss at St. Augustine. RBC will host the South Non-Public A championship game Saturday against No. 2 St. Joseph of Metuchen. The Caseys will be seeking their first sectional championship since 1997 and first ever in the Non-Public A group.

"All the seniors there, they all had my back and I knew I had to do it for those seniors," Svenson said. "It’s their last year and we got it done.

"Two years ago, it was a rough loss. But we got it back today."

Box Score

Red Bank Catholic 8, St. Augustine 1

St. Augustine (17-8)0010000132
RBC (23-5)410210X8120


Marco Levari (L)15441029
Matt Kouser36331257
C.J. Furey21101237
Steve Svenson (W)7311211111

Top Hitters

St. AugustineGame Stats
Jake Meyers1-3, RBI
C.J. Furey1-2, BB, SB
Joe Erace1-3, R
Red Bank CatholicGame Stats
Frank Scrivanic3-3, 2 R, 2 RBI
Sean Griggs2-3, 2B, HBP, 3 R
Shane Andrus1-2, HR, 2 BB, R, 2 RBI
Matt Brunner3-4, RBI
Brendan Kopec2-4, RBI
Max Dantoni1-2, BB, SB



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