Baseball – Shore Conference Tournament Final Preview: RBC vs. Manalapan
Shore Conference Tournament Championship
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
At FirstEnergy Park, Lakewood, 3:30 p.m.
No. 4 Red Bank Catholic (22-6, 14-0 in Class A Central)
No. 6 Manalapan (24-8, 11-3 in Class A North)
The Shore Conference Tournament is finally slated to conclude on Wednesday after several scheduled changed to the semifinal round and to this championship game. Originally scheduled for Sunday at 7 p.m., the game was moved to Wednesday at 6 p.m. because of thunderstorms the eventually hit Lakewood in the 8 p.m. hour.
On Tuesday morning, the championship game was bumped up 2 1/2 hours to 3:30 p.m. in an attempt to beat scattered thunderstorms in Wednesday night's forecast.
As for the teams on the field, both Red Bank Catholic and Manalapan are relative novices to the Shore Conference Tournament championship game. RBC has won one SCT championship, which came back in 2011 – a banner year for Manalapan as well. The Braves won the NJSIAA Group IV championship that year by beating Westfield in a historic 29-14 championship game, but could not overcome RBC in the SCT. The Caseys knocked off the Braves on the way to their first SCT championship and have since been back to the final twice – losing to Christian Brothers Academy in 2015 and Toms River North in 2017.
Manalapan, meanwhile, will be playing for its first SCT championship while competing in its first ever SCT final. This SCT run has run parallel to an NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV championship, which the Braves won for the third time in nine years Friday by beating Old Bridge, 3-2, in come-from-behind fashion. Manalapan's state run is now over after losing to Eastern, 1-0, in controversial fashion on Monday, which means the Braves have no reason to hold back their available pitching.
With Red Bank Catholic eliminated from the NJSIAA Tournament more than a week ago, the Caseys still have the advantage in pitching reserves when compared to Manalapan. The Braves will not have senior right-hander Aaron Ayers (5-1, 1.00 ERA) eligible for Sunday night’s game and will also be without left-handed reliever Chris Nicol, who has been sidelined with a sore shoulder since early May, according to coach Brian Boyce.
On the other side, RBC used senior co-ace and St. John’s commit Vincent Bianchi for 109 pitches Friday in a 5-2 semifinal win over Manasquan and while that would have left Bianchi ineligible to appear on the mound in the originally-scheduled game on Sunday, he can now pitch up to 110 pitches again.
The Caseys also have sophomore Shane Panzini well-rested and ready to turn loose against the Braves along with every other pitcher at their disposal.
Red Bank Catholic: Buddy Hausmann, 12th season
Manalapan: Brian Boyce, 13th season
Probable Starting Pitchers
Red Bank Catholic
Shane Panzini, So., RHP (6-2, 0.76 ERA, 46 IP, 69 K, 27 BB)
Ben Levine, Sr., LHP (6-1, 2.09 ERA, 53 2/3 IP, 63 K, 11 BB)
Notable Available Pitchers
Red Bank Catholic
Vincent Bianchi, Sr., RHP (5-2, 1 Save, 0.91 ERA, 46 IP, 55 K, 21 BB)
John Nimeth, Jr., RHP (6-0, 1 Save, 2.12 ERA, 36 1/3 IP, 24 K, 20 BB)
Ryan O’Hara, Sr., RHP (2-1, 2 Saves, 2.23 ERA, 22 IP, 28 K, 6 BB)
Joe Mazza, So., LHP (4-2, 2.65 ERA, 34 IP, 19 K, 16 BB)
Hunter Serrano, Jr., RHP (1-0, 3 Saves, 1.61 ERA, 8 2/3 IP, 7 K, 3 BB)
Jake Pellecchia, Sr., RHP (3-1, 3.20 ERA, 19 2/3 IP, 21 K, 3 BB)
Rico Spinelli, Sr., RHP (1-0, 1 Save, 2.72 ERA, 18 IP, 11 K, 5 BB)
Jake Melman, Sr., RHP (1-1, 1.66 ERA, 12 2/3 IP, 10 K, 6 BB)
Projected Lineups (Based on recent games)
Red Bank Catholic
Alex Gonzalez, Sr., 2B (.432/.550/.506, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 37 R, 19 RBI, 13 SB)
David Glancy, Sr., CF (.250/.413/.521, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 18 R, 13 RBI)
Vincent Bianchi, Sr., SS (.442/.514/.686, 10 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 25 R, 37 RBI, 10 SB)
Jack Scrivanic, Jr., 1B (.304/.379/.544, 7 2B, 4 HR, 15 R, 28 RBI)
Rob Gonzalez, Jr., 3B (.341/.402/.484, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 25 R, 17 RBI)
Chris Sparber, Jr., C (.280/.427/.360, 4 2B, 1 3B, 15 R, 17 RBI)
Ryan O’Hara, Sr., RF (.266/.392/.367, 2 2B, 2 HR, 19 R, 15 RBI, 14 SB)
Shane Panzini, So., P (.306/.398/.500, 5 2B, 3 HR, 15 R, 21 RBI)
Anthony Borriello, Jr., LF (.308/.437/.385, 2 2B, 11 R, 5 RBI)
Jake Pellecchia, Sr., SS (.244/.400/.278, 3 2B, 26 R, 6 RBI, 10 SB)
Billy Watters, Sr., DH (.300/.382/.400, 3 2B, 1 HR, 7 R, 5 RBI)
Tommy Guidice, So., 1B (.337/.415/.489, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 14 R, 12 RBI)
Ben Levine, Sr., P (.364/.412/.420, 5 2B, 9 R, 21 RBI)
Nick DiPietrantonio, Jr., 3B (.320/.382/.526, 9 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 14 R, 30 RBI)
Joe Mazza, So., RF (.367/.406/.533, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 R, 8 RBI)
Mike Kuver, Sr., CF (.265/.350/.422, 7 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 22 R, 24 RBI, 9 SB)
Matt Panzica, Sr., LF (.208/.323/.340, 5 2B, 1 3B, 11 R, 4 RBI)
Hunter Serrano, Jr., 2B (.315/.397/.444, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 13 R, 10 RBI)
Catcher - Dylan Hode, Jr. (.194/.359/.194, 3 R, 4 RBI)
Road to the Final
Red Bank Catholic
Round of 16: Sophomore Shane Panzini pitched five scoreless innings and senior Vincent Bianchi finished off the final two as the Caseys blanked No. 13 Howell, 3-0. Bianchi also doubled in the win while senior center fielder David Glancy added an RBI double for RBC.
Quarterfinals: Once again, the Caseys won 3-0 on a combined shutout, only this time with a twist. Bianchi and junior John Nimeth combined on a no-hitter against offensive powerhouse and fifth-seeded Jackson Memorial to advance to the SCT semifinals while ending the Jaguars’ season. Glancy belted a first-inning solo home run and Panzini later added one of his own to make the score 2-0 in the fifth and Bianchi added an RBI single.
Semifinals: Bianchi appeared on the mound for the third time during the tournament, this time throwing a complete-game, four-hitter on 109 pitches to send RBC to the SCT final with a 5-2 win over No. 9 Manasquan. The Caseys fell into a 2-0 hole after the second inning while facing Warriors ace Spencer Bauer, who pitched a one-hit shutout against RBC in the Monmouth County Tournament. RBC finally solved Bauer by scored two runs each in the fourth and fifth innings, with catcher Chris Sparber singling home a run and the Caseys taking advantage of Manasquan errors and wild pitches.
Round of 16: Manalapan took on upstart and No. 22 Barnegat and blanked the Bengals, 6-0. Senior left-hander Ben Levine pitched a three-hit shutout with six strikeouts and went 2-for-4 with an RBI at the plate to lead the way.
Quarterfinals: Facing a 2-1 deficit in the top of the seventh, Manalapan rallied for two runs to take the lead and junior Hunter Serrano closed out a dramatic, 3-2 win over Class A North rival and No. 3 Christian Brothers Academy. The Braves scored the tying run on an outfield error on Nick DiPietrantonio’s single and the winning run on a squeeze bunt by junior Kyle Sciallo. CBA loaded the bases against starter Joe Mazza in the seventh and Serrano retired three straight, including a pair of strikeouts.
Semifinals: Mazza hit a three-run triple to highlight a five-run first inning and pitched 4 1/3 innings for the win in Manalapan’s 5-3 victory over No. 7 Wall – a fellow NJSIAA sectional champion. Serrano again came on to shut the door with 2 2/3 scoreless frames for his second save of the tournament. Senior Matt Panzica added an RBI double in that first inning and DiPietrantonio opened the scoring with an RBI single.