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Labeled as the No. 1 team in the Shore Conference, it didn’t take Jackson Memorial long to hit the ground running when the Last Dance High School World Series began on Tuesday.

Senior Tom Cartnick blasted a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning and Jackson was off to the races, plating 10 more runs over the next three innings to pound Brick, 14-1 in five innings, and advance to the Brick Regional final. Jackson will face Brick Memorial, which won 5-4 in 12 innings over Jackson Liberty, in the first-place game at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

All 10 players in Jackson’s starting lineup scored a run, as did reserves Austin Parikh Jared Caruso. Cartnick finished 1-for-2 with a walk, three RBI and two runs scored while senior first baseman Carmine Petosa singled, walked, reached on a hit-by-pitch and scored twice. Senior Zach Appuliese went 1-for-1 with a walk and three RBI and senior third baseman Jake Wendell also had a strong afternoon by going 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBI.

The Jags’ pitching was also on point. Sophomore Zach Crotchfelt, an Auburn recruit, got the start and went two innings allowing only one walk and striking out three. Rocco Lavista want the next 1 2/3 innings and Devin Foderaro pitched the final 1 1/3 innings. Brick’s lone run came on a sacrifice fly by senior Nick Guiro that plated junior Jesse Evensen in the top of the fifth inning.

The win was great, but it was being back out on the field in competitive action that meant the most after a lost spring season.

“It’s awesome, it’s such a gift to be able to do this again,” Cartnick said. “These are my boys, we’ve been playing together since we were 7-years-old. To have this chance is awesome and we’re going to take full advantage of it. After last season and the early exit; we have the same group of guys and we’re hungry for this.”

“I’m happy the way this game turned out for us,” said Jackson head coach Frank Malta. Zach Appuliese with a big two-run single, Jared Caruso. I don’t know where those guys would have been during the regular season so I’m very happy for those guys. Tommy Cartnick started the fireworks for us in that first inning and Zach Crotchfelt did such a nice job. I think that’s the recipe we wanted to establish during the season, that good consistent pitching and for us to take control offensively and force teams to have to play catch up.”

After Crotchfelt worked around a two-out walk to John Wade to retire Brick in the top of the first, senior Ryan Lasko started Jackson’s barrage with a walk and then went to second on a wild pitch. Junior Zach Rogacki then walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. Brick starter Ethan Gonzalez was able to get Christian Pellone to strike out swinging on a 3-2 pitch, but Cartnick followed with a laser-shot of a home run that zipped over the 339 sign in left-center field, staking Jackson to a quick 3-0 lead.

“It was 3-1 so I’m just thinking anything I can hit I’m going to put my best swing on it and that’s what happened,” Cartnick said.

The lead grew to 5-0 in the second inning. Senior Andrew Sefick walked and senior Matt Feld reached on an error to again put runners on first and second with nobody out. Another wild pitch moved the runners up and Lasko followed with a towering sacrifice fly to the warning track in left field, bringing home Sefick with the fourth run. Feld then stole third base and scored on a wild pitch for a 5-0 lead.

The third inning brought four more runs for the Jags and turned the game into a rout. Petosa led off with a walk and junior Ty Beck was hit by a pitch to once again put the first two runners on. Wendell followed with an RBI single to bring home Petosa and send Beck to third. Beck then scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-0. Sophomore Chris Cartnick followed with a walk and a double steal put Wendell at third and Cartnick at second, still with no outs. Appuliese then delivered a two-run single to give Jackson a commanding 9-0 lead.

“We have a scary lineup and a lot of dudes,” Cartnick said. “I would not want to face us right now.”

The final onslaught came when the Jags batted around in the bottom of the fourth inning. Parikh reached on an error, Pellone flied out to center, Tom Cartnick walked and Petosa hit a short fly to center that was lost in the sun and dropped in to load the bases with one out. Senior Jared Caruso followed with a two-run single to make it 11-0 and Wendell then brought home Petosa with an RBI single to push the lead to 12-0. Chris Cartnick kept the train rolling with a run-scoring single that plated Caruso and, after a single by Sefick loaded the bases, Appuliese walked to bring home the 14th and final run.


Game 2 – Brick Memorial 5, Jackson Liberty 4 (12 innings) 

Pinch-runner Tim Quackenboss scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error and senior Kyle Cline closed out a great relief stint with a called third strike as the Mustangs won a marathon over Liberty to reach the first-place game.

An RBI single by senior Sean Beck brought home junior Cole Manfro in the top of the first for Brick Memorial, but Liberty answered in the bottom half when senior Shane Hickey singled with two outs, went to second on a wild pitch and scored when Brandon Kinsman reached on an error.

Brick Memorial took a 3-1 lead in the top of the second when senior pitcher Nick Gillen walked and senior Joe Terkildsen was hit by pitch. Reese Hackett reached on a fielder’s choice as Gillen was put out at third for the first out. A passed ball moved runners to second and third and Aiden Patella brought home Terkildsen with an infield single. A throwing error also allowed Hackett to score to make it 3-1.

The Mustangs pushed their lead to 4-1 in the third when Manfro singled, went to second after Beck was hit by a pitch and scored on an RBI single by Matt Terkildsen.

Liberty pulled to within 4-2 in the bottom of the third when Jake Hickman walked and eventually came around to score on an error.

The Lions tied the score at four in the bottom of the sixth. Dan Keenan reached on an error to start the inning and Garrett Drew walked. Kinsman than delivered a 1-out, 2-run double to knot the score and eventually send it to extra innings.

Finally, in the top of the 12th inning, Brick Memorial broke through. Anthony Martino walked and Quackenboss replaced him on the base paths. He went to second on an error and then scored from second on a throwing error from shortstop as Liberty was trying to turn a double play.

For Brick Memorial, Gillen went 5 1/3 innings while allowing four hits and four runs (one earned), walking two and striking out nine. Cline entered after Gillen surrendered the 2-run double to Kinsman and was great over 6 2/3 of scoreless relief, fanning four and allowing only one hit.

“We didn’t expect that to happen but we’ll take it. It was almost two full games” Brick Memorial Evan Rizzitello said of the 12-inning journey. “We had a lot of confidence in our seniors, especially Gillen. And Cline is ready for anything and when he’s throwing strikes like that, he’s very efficient.”



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