Baseball – South Non-Public A Championship Preview: Red Bank Catholic Aims to End Title Drought
NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A Championship
Thursday, June 10, 2021
At St. Augustine Preparatory School, Richland, N.J.
No. 4 Red Bank Catholic (21-3-1) and No. 2 St. Augustine Prep (22-6)
Red Bank Catholic Road to the Final
Red Bank Catholic opted to hold ace Shane Panzini back to close the game after he threw 85 pitches four days earlier in the Shore Conference Tournament final and it paid off. Dylan Wanagiel pitched 5 2/3 scoreless frames and Panzini came in after a weather delay with the bases loaded and two outs and proceeded to strikeout four hitters in a row to nail down a 4-0 Caseys win. Panzini also hit a two-run home run in the game.
After his dominant 15-pitch save, Panzini had a full plate of pitches against the No. 1 team in the state and showed them off. Panzini pitched a three-hitter with 12 strikeouts and one walk and also hit a long solo home run to carry the Caseys to a 6-1 win over a Crusaders team that entered 21-0 and No. 1 in the state.
St. Augustine Road to the Final
Brody McKenzie delivered a big two-run single in the bottom of the first to get his team off and running and fellow senior Jackson Vanesko went four innings for the win to help the Hermits advance, 4-1. Junior Ryan Weingartner came on for a two-out save and was impressive, striking out five in two scoreless frames.
Three days later, Weingartner got the start and breezed through five shutout innings as St. Augustine routed Paul VI, 10-0, in five innings. Weingartner and fellow junior Ryan Taylor each went 2-for-2 with three RBI in the win, with Weingartner cracking a triple for good measure.
Pitchers to Watch: Red Bank Catholic
Probable Starter (with 2021 Stats)
Dylan Wanagiel, Sr., RHP (5-1, 1.79 ERA, 43 IP, 32 H, 8 BB, 26 SO)
Out of the Bullpen
Alex Stanyek, So., RHP (0-1, 1 Save, 2.33 ERA, 9 IP, 6 H, 7 BB, 16 SO)
Dominic Mallamacci, So., RHP (4-0, 2.65 ERA, 32.1 IP, 32 H, 13 BB, 26 SO)
Declan Leary, Fr., RHP (3-2, 1.91 ERA, 18.1 IP, 13 H, 9 BB, 21 SO)
Shane Panzini, Sr., RHP (8-0, 1 Save, 0.89 ERA, 55.1 IP, 24 H, 17 BB, 101 SO; Virginia commit)
With Shane Panzini unavailable, Red Bank Catholic turns to its other senior starter, right-hander Dylan Wanagiel. With Wanagiel a pitcher who seeks contact, Red Bank Catholic’s defense will have to be sharp while its senior is on the mound. Fortunately for the Caseys, both Wanagiel and the defense have clicked of late, with Wanagiel 2-1 with a 1.02 ERA in his last four starts vs. Ocean, Manalapan, Raritan and St. Joseph of Metuchen.
Sophomore Alex Stanyek will be the first pitcher out of the bullpen and while he has not pitched much this season, he has been impressive in each of his last two relief outings, which came against Manalapan (three innings, no hits, one walk and six strikeouts) and Middletown South (one inning, no baserunners, two strikeouts) in the semifinals and final of the Shore Conference Tournament.
Pitchers to Watch: St. Augustine
Probable Starter (with 2021 Stats)
Jackson Vanesko, Sr., LHP (5-2, 2.37 ERA, 41.1 IP, 27 H, 17 BB, 61 SO; Bryant University commit)
Available Out of the Bullpen
Andrew Gaines, Jr., RHP (3-2, 2.85 ERA, 19.2 IP, 16 H, 14 BB, 27 SO; Wake Forest commit)
Marco Levari, So., RHP (2-0, 2.90 ERA, 19.1 IP, 16 H, 11 BB, 21 SO; Old Dominion commit)
Ryan Weingartner, Jr., RHP (2-0, 3 Saves, 0.36 ERA 19.2 IP, 10 H, 14 BB, 26 SO) Purdue
Vanesko has been St. Augustine’s No. 1 starter all season and will give the Caseys a different look from the left-side. Red Bank Catholic has faced only three left-handed starters all year and has scored a respectable seven runs in 14 innings pitched by those three starters, including four against St. Joseph Metuchen southpaw Xavier Arana in the sectional quarterfinals on June 4. With an ERA in the mid-two’s, Vanesko has not been invincible, but the Bryant commit is a workhorse who keeps his team in games and can reach back for a strikeout.
Sophomore and Old Dominion commit Marco Levari looks like the first choice out of the bullpen based on recent action, but Wake Forest commit Andrew Gaines can also give the Hermits an important inning or two if necessary.
Red Bank Catholic Lineup
Alex Stanyek, So., CF (.350, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 19 R, 25 RBI)
Frank Scrivanic, So., 1B (.384, 7 2B, 1 3B, 22 R, 17 RBI)
Matt Scrivanic, Jr., 3B (.273, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 17 R, 17 RBI; Monmouth commit)
Shane Panzini, Sr., LF (.362, 6 2B, 4 HR, 20 R, 18 RBI)
Sean Griggs, Fr., RF (.250, 2 2B, 18 R, 17 RBI)
Nico Gonzalez, Jr., 2B (.328, 2 2B, 17 R, 15 RBI)
Shane Andrus, So., C (.204, 1 2B, 1 3B, 9 RBI)
Dan DeFlores, Sr., DH (.167, 1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI)
Sean Ettore, Sr., SS (.319, 1 2B, 12 R, 12 RBI)
The top four hitters in the lineup are where the power lies, with Panzini homering in each of his last two games and Frank Scrivanic on a tear of late against quality pitching. The bottom of the order, meanwhile, has consistently come through in big spots, with Griggs and Andrus performing well above their season averages when runners are on base and Gonzalez emerging as one of the Caseys’ best clutch hitters. Ettore has been a steady No. 9 hitter as someone who puts the ball in play and has tough at-bats with runners on.
An x-factor on Thursday could be Anthony Borriello, who has been Red Bank Catholic’s leadoff hitter and centerfielder for most of the season. A shoulder injury has kept him out of the lineup, although he did start in centerfield on Monday at Bishop Eustace while DeFlores hit for him as the designated hitter. With Wanagiel on the mound, Borriello would have to hit for himself if he were to start in center on Thursday.
St. Augustine Hitters to Watch
Kyle Neri, Jr., OF (.414, 7 2B, 6 3B, 2 HR, 26 R, 22 RBI; Bryant commit)
Ryan Taylor, Jr., 2B (.442, 5 2B, 4 3B, 33 R, 20 RBI, 17 SB; University of Pennsylvania commit)
Brody McKenzie, Sr., OF (.421, 8 2B, 1 3B, 28 R, 25 RBI, 11 SB; University of Rhode Island commit)
Ryan Weingartner, Jr., SS (.324, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 27 R, 26 RBI)
Jackson Vanesko, Sr., P/1B (.257, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 20 R, 27 RBI)
Josiah Ragsdale, Jr., OF (.338, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 23 R, 23 RBI)
Austin Sofran, Jr., C (.350, 5 2B, 1 3B, 21 R, 21 RBI)
There are not too many weak spots in the St. Augustine lineup and the numbers bear that out. The Hermits have three players hitting better than .400 in Bryant commit Kyle Neri, UPenn commit Ryan Taylor and Rhode Island commit Brody McKenzie and all three players are extra-base threats as well. It is also a senior-light lineup, with McKenzie and Vanesko the only impact seniors in the batting order.