Baseball – Sansone, Turner Deliver Mater Dei Key B Central Win
POINT PLEASANT BEACH - From the start of the season in early April, the players on the Mater Dei Prep baseball team had their sights set on their first game in May.
They knew their chance to win a Shore Conference Class B Central division title would hinge on whether or not they could beat Point Pleasant Beach and on Thursday, the Seraphs looked like a team that has been waiting for this chance all year.
Senior Brandon Sansone pitched a three-hitter and junior Sean Turner keyed a three-run third inning with a two-run double to ignite a 3-0 Mater Dei win over Point Beach to gain the upper hand in the B Central race.
"We were focused and ready today," Mater Dei coach Pat Riddell said. "Our guys knew what was at stake coming into this series and I think since the first couple games when us and Beach got off to a hot start, they have been looking forward to this and they played like it."
Sansone cruised through his seven innings on 89 pitches, striking out three and walking one in his shutout performance. He pitched around a walk and a single in the second inning and stranded runners at the corners after two Garnet Gulls singles in the third.
"Coming into this game, I really wanted to focus on first-pitch strikes," Sansone said. "I wanted to get ahead of batters and throw strikes the whole game. That's been a struggle for me in the past but today, I think we did great."
After facing trouble in the both the second and third innings, Sansone did not allow a baserunner the rest of the way, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. He threw 53 pitches for strikes and benefited from a defense that did not commit an error.
"The big thing for (Sansone) was getting ahead of batters," Mater Dei Prep coach Pat Riddell said. "He sometimes gets into trouble falling behind and putting guys on but he went right after them today. Our defense stepped up behind him. They were huge."
Point Beach's defense was also spotless in the error column and it took a string of hits for Mater Dei to jump on top. Junior Pete Gorman started the rally with a two-out single through the middle and swiped second. Junior Mike Folk followed with a walk and the two baserunners moved up on a wild pitch with Turner at the plate.
After taking a 3-1 strike, Turner turned aggressive on the 3-2 offering from Point Beach sophomore Matt VanBrunt and hammered a line drive to the gap in left-center. Gorman and Folk both scored and Turner raced into second with a two-run double.
"I was hoping I got something to hit and (VanBrunt) left it over the middle on 3-2," Turner said. "I just swung and hoped for the best."
On the next pitch, Hardy ripped a single to right field that scored Turner from second. Sansone then walked, giving Mater Dei five straight baserunners with two out.
Van Brunt was sharp outside of the one two-out flurry in the third. The sophomore right-hander allowed three runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in his five innings of work before giving way to fellow sophomore Phil Trebour. In his two scoreless innings, Trebour allowed just one hits and struck out two without walking anyone.
Mater Dei is four years removed from winning the Class B Central championship by beating St. Rose on a game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Seraphs are the last team other than St. Rose to win the division, while Point Beach last won the division outright in 2010.
The Garnet Gulls can get back into the championship picture by beating Mater Dei in the second game of the series on Tuesday while the Seraphs would celebrate a championship with a win.
"We are focused on winning the division, but we're also focused on getting a 'W' and playing the way we did today," Turner said. "If we play our best game, we should have good chance to win the division and if that happens, then we'll celebrate."
Mater Dei Prep 3, Point Beach 0
|Mater Dei (11-4, 10-0)||0||0||3||0||0||0||0||3||5||0|
|Pt Beach (8-4, 8-1)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|Brandon Sansone (W, 4-1)||7||3||0||0||1||3||89|
|Matt VanBrunt (L, 3-2)||5||4||3||3||2||4||82|
|Sean Turner||2-3, 2B, 2 RBI|
|Chase Hardy||1-3, RBI|
|Pete Gorman||1-3, R, SB|
|Jeff Wall||1-3, SB|