A healthy sixth inning was the difference in Friday night's Shore Baseball Coaches Association Senior All-Star Classic and the players that delivered the key hits for the American All-Star team led by Jackson Memorial coach Frank Malta ranged from an All-Shore catcher from the No. 2 team in the Shore Conference to a relatively unheralded infielder from the newest Shore Conference team.

The American squad scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning thanks to run-scoring singles by four different players and held on to beat the National team led by Christian Brothers Academy coach Marty Kenney, 10-6.

The American-National format was a first for the game after a long tradition of Monmouth and Ocean County squaring off against one another. Instead, Malta and Kenney selected the teams from a pool of players nominated by their respective coaches.

Middletown South catcher Zach Schild ripped a two-run single in the sixth. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Middletown South catcher Zach Schild highlighted the inning with a two-run single with the bases loaded to make the score 5-1, while Rumson-Fair Haven second baseman Jake Caruso, Ranney third baseman Corey Natofsky and St. Rose outfielder Mike Gowen each added an RBI single during the rally. Howell shortstop Troy Miller also chipped in a sacrifice fly in the inning.

The American team loaded the bases against Lakewood right-hander Ramon Mercedes with walks by Toms River North first baseman Jeff Ciervo and Toms River East outfielder Tyler Idzinski and an infield single by Jackson Liberty outfielder Ken Pommerencke. Caruso then followed with a single to right field to plate a run and extend the American team's lead 3-1 with one out.

Schild then followed with a line drive through the middle to chase home Idzinski and Pommerencke and gave way to courtesy runner Kyle Johnson of Jackson Memorial, who started the game at shortstop. After a walk by Long Branch outfielder Sean Cuddy, Miller drove a sac fly to right field, where Rebels teammate Christian Gedell ran down the ball before Caruso trotted home.

With two strikes on him and Johnson on the move for third, Natofsky slapped a single through the left side to score a run and put runners on second and third after an error. Gowen followed with a line drive to right to score the final run of the rally, with Cuddy trotting home to put the American side ahead, 8-1.

Ranney third baseman Corey Natofsky contributed an RBI single in the sixth. (Photo by Matt Manley)

The American side grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI single to left by Point Pleasant Borough outfielder Bill Feehan that scored a second run thanks to an error. The National team answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI double to the left-center gap by Shore Regional shortstop Mike O'Halloran, which scored Colts Neck's Dante Caruso.

The National club chipped its deficit down to 8-5 with a four-run seventh, highlighted by a three-run double to left-center by Monmouth Regional catcher Garrhet Reedy. Mater Dei Prep second baseman Cole Hardy led the inning off with a walk, Caruso followed with a single and both advanced a base on a passed ball. After Shore Regional right-hander Devin McLaughlin got a key strikeout, Toms River East shortstop Cole Robbins picked up an RBI with an infield single to the left side.

Monmouth catcher Garrhet Reedy celebrates his three-run double in the seventh. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Barnegat third baseman Jared Kacso worked a walk to load the bases and Reedy jumped on McLaughlin's first pitch. The ball did not get past the outfielders, but Kacso stormed around third for a run after beginning the play at first.

Alex Guzman added an RBI single in the ninth for the American team and Lacey second baseman Anthony Ruggiero scored on a passed ball to cap the scoring by the winning side.

Christian Brothers Academy outfielder Cid Porter doubled and scored on a ground out by Robbins in the bottom of the ninth to cap the scoring.

Brick left-hander Nic Chirichello pitched two scoreless innings in the second and third to earn the win Friday, allowing no hits and no walks while striking out three and hitting one batter. Point Boro right-hander Frank Graziano started the game with a scoreless first and St. John Vianney right-hander Brandon DeKovics fired a scoreless fourth with a pair of strikeouts.

Brick left-hander and Friday's winning pitcher Nic Chirichello. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Wall senior Regan Dombroski fired the American's lone one-two-three inning, requiring just 11 pitched to navigate through the sixth. Colts Neck right-hander Mike D'Ottavio pitched a scoreless eighth inning and another Brick left-hander, Tito Morales, closed the game out in the ninth.

Red Bank Catholic right-hander John Poccia and Middletown South left-hander Ian Scheuer eached pitched two scoreless, hitless innings for the National side. Poccia walked two and struck out three, while Scheuer struck out four and walked one.

Raritan right-hander struck out two during a one-two-three seventh and Keyport right-hander Steven Chandler pitched a scoreless eighth thanks to an outfield assist from Manasquan's Pat Kinneally, who threw out a runner at home plate from center field to end the inning.

Box Score


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
American 0 0 2 0 0 6 0 0 2 10 11 3
National 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 1 6 7 4


American IP H R ER BB SO
Frank Graziano (Pt. Boro)  1 1 0 0 0 0
Nic Chirichello (Brick), W 2  0 0 0 0 3
Brandon DeKovics (SJV) 1 1 0 0 0 2
Joe Bassett (Central) 1 1 1 1 1 2
Regan Dombroski (Wall) 1 0 0 0 0 0
Devin McLaughlin (Shore) 1 3 4 4 2 1
Mike D’Ottavio (Colts Neck) 1 0 0 0 1 1
Tito Morales (Brick) 1 1 1 1 1 2
National IP H R ER BB SO
John Poccia (RBC) 2 0 0 0 2 3
John VanSchoick (Pt. Beach), L 1 1 2 1 2 0
Ian Scheuer (Midd. South) 2 0 0 0 1 4
Ramon Mercedes (Lakewood) 1 5 6 6 3 0
Jon Rodriguez (Raritan) 1 0 0 0 0 2
Steven Chandler (Keyport) 1 3 0 0 0 0
Jeremy Dyzenhaus (Marlboro) 1 2 2 2 2 1

Top Hitters

American Game Stats
Bill Feehan (Pt. Boro) 1-2, RBI
Zach Schild (Midd. South) 1-1, BB, 2 RBI
Mike Gowen (St. Rose) 2-3, RBI
Jake Caruso (Rumson) 1-2, R, RBI
Corey Natofsky (Ranney) 1-2, RBI
Alex Guzman (Lakewood) 1-2, RBI
Sean Cuddy (Long Branch) 2-2, BB
Ken Pommerencke (Jax Lib) 1-3, R
Ryan Vanderham (Manch) 1-2
National Game Stats
Garrhet Reedy (Monm) 1-1, 2B, BB, 3 RBI
Mike O’Halloran (Shore) 1-1, 2B, RBI
Cid Porter (CBA) 1-3, 2B, R
Cole Robbins (TRE) 1-2, 2 RBI
Cole Fluta (Midd. North) 1-2, SB
Dante Caruso (Colts Neck) 1-1, BB, R
Pat Kinneally (Manasquan) 1-2