Baseball – Red Bank Catholic’s Big Inning Backs Stanyek, Sends Caseys to SCT Semifinals
RED BANK -- Alex Stanyek knew right away he was missing several miles-per-hour on his fastball Friday, which meant he had to navigate one of the Shore's most treacherous lineups without his A-stuff.
The Red Bank Catholic junior knew it was a challenge, but he did not make it an excuse.
Stanyek gave up a second-inning solo homer to senior Jerry Winchester and did not give up another hit to Wall's imposing lineup, setting the stage for a six-run Red Bank Catholic rally in the fifth inning to secure a 7-1 win over the Crimson Knights and a spot in Tuesday's SCT semifinal.
"All year, I've been beating kids with the fastball by just throwing hard," Stanyek said. "I didn't know what was going to happen going into the game, but my velocity was definitely down a little bit. It was probably down three or four miles-per-hour.
"I saw them hit a few fastballs early, so I started throwing more breaking balls. I was missing with it, but I think it got in their heads a little bit and when I threw a fastball -- even though it was 87 instead of 91 -- the breaking ball was in the back of their heads. I didn't have my stuff, but I just had to make adjustments."
Winchester lofted a solo homer over the leftfield fence with one out in the top of the second inning and Wall threatened again in the third when senior second baseman Nick Colbert worked a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Jackson Coan.
Wall senior Nick Lovarco hit a hard groundball through RBC third baseman Sean Griggs, but the Casey defense quickly made up for the error. Senior leftfielder Jack Meyers charged the ball, quickly flipped it in to Griggs, who fired to junior catcher Shane Andrus for the tag at the plate to get Colbert -- the second out of the top of the third.
Stanyek responded with a strikeout to end the inning, which was the first out in a run of 13 out of 15 batters set down by Stanyek.
Junior first baseman Frank Scrivanic tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth and RBC took the lead in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk by Griggs. After an error scored the third Caseys run, Scrivanic smoked single through the middle with the bases loaded to score two runs and stretch the RBC lead to 5-1.
Meyers then stepped in a hammered a double to the left-centerfield gap to chase home two more and cap the six-run inning, as well as the scoring in the game.
Stanyek finished with eight strikeouts and three walks in his one-hitter, which was his first seven-inning complete game, although not his first seven-inning outing. In Stanyek's two wins this season, Red Bank Catholic has scored a total of 18 runs. In his three no-decisions, the Caseys have scored a total of four, been shutout twice and only scored one run while Stanyek was in the game during a 4-1, extra-inning, win over Christian Brothers Academy.
"It's awesome being that guy your team looks to on the mound in big games," Stanyek said. "That pressure makes it fun and I just like being able to have so much of an impact."
Wall's lineup entered this week on a hot streak that carried the Crimson Knights to the Monmouth County Tournament final, as well as the Shore Conference Tournament round of 16. After a 6-2 win over a scrappy Freehold Township squad, the Crimson Knights could not solve Ben Schild in an 11-1 loss to Middletown South in the MCT final and after putting up seven runs in a loss to Rumson-Fair Haven on Thursday, the offense again went quiet against one of the Shore's better pitchers on Friday.
"They are a good hitting team," Stanyek said. "It looked like they were hunting fastball, just getting their foot down and trying to attack. I think I got lucky with a few of them, especially against Fischer."
A bright spot for the Crimson Knights was senior Andrew Fischer, who pitched the first four innings on 71 pitches and limited RBC to one run on three hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Friday marked Fischer's first start on the mound this season. While primarily focusing on being one of the most complete hitters in the Shore Conference and a leader in the field at third base, Fischer has also been a shut-down closer for the Crimson Knights.
Prior to Friday, Fischer's longest outing of the season was three innings and with the NJSIAA Tournament up next, Wall's best pitcher on a per-inning basis is getting acclimated to throw more innings with a state title on the line.
"I have so much respect for Andrew Fischer," Stanyek said. "He goes out there and does whatever it takes to win a ballgame, whether it's on the mound or at the plate. It reminds me of myself, being a primary position players and just trying to do the job on the mound to help your team. He's just a gamer. He's not really a pitcher by trade but he's going out and competing and getting guys out and I have a lot of respect for that."
Red Bank Catholic will play on its home field Tuesday against the winner of Saturday's quarterfinal between top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven and No. 9 St. John Vianney. Rumson and SJV played into the bottom of the fifth inning on Friday before the game was called due to unplayable conditions -- first fog that hindered visibility, then heavy rain and thunderstorms. The two teams will have to start from the beginning on Saturday, with St. John Vianney ace Aiden Cody (83 pitches) and Rumson-Fair Haven junior Jackson Hinchcliffe (56) both unable to pitch due to pitch count rules.
The need to dive deeper into the pitching staff could hurt the winner against Red Bank Catholic, which will have every pitcher other than Stanyek at its disposal on Tuesday. Red Bank Catholic -- which has won the last two Shore Conference Tournament titles -- is participating in the SCT semifinals for the seventh time in the last eight contested tournaments.
"I think we're in a really good spot right now," Stanyek said. "All of our pitchers except me are ready to pitch in the semifinals, so we should be okay pitching-wise. We just have to keep hitting the ball really good and we should have a good shot."
Red Bank Catholic 7, Wall 1
|Triur Brown (L, 3-1)||2||2||6||0||3||1||56|
|Red Bank Catholic||IP||H||R||ER||BB||SO||PC|
|Alex Stanyek (W, 2-0)||7||1||1||1||3||8||100|
|Jerry Winchester||1-3, HR, R, RBI|
|Nick Colbert||0-0, 2 BB|
|Nick Lovarco||0-2, BB, SB|
|Red Bank Catholic||Game Stats|
|Jack Meyers||1-2, 2B, BB, 2 RBI|
|Frank Scrivanic||1-2, R, 3 RBI|
|Sean Griggs||1-2, BB, R, RBI|
|Alex Stanyek||1-3, HBP, R|
|Matt Scrivanic||1-3, R|