Medicine Man: Bianchi powers RBC over Monmouth
TINTON FALLS - An aspiring doctor who plans to study pre-med at St. John’s in the fall, Vincent Bianchi got a head start on his potential calling by condutcting a self examination in the 24 houts prior to his start on the mound for Red Bank Catholic against Monmouth Regional on Thursday.
Plagued by a nagging cough, the senior right-hander was overcome by a spell during practice on Wednesday that not only cut his workout short but sent him into the dugout with dizziness. His status to take the hill appeared to be in jeopardy to the point that he reached out to RBC coach Buddy Hausmann in the evening to prepare the skipper for the possibly of having to tab an emergency start in his place.
A few hours later, medication had somewhat tempered the ailment, deemed a byproduct of allergies and lingering, residual effects of a previous cold, and Bianchi assured Hausmann he'd be available to take the ball as scheduled.
What he did with it was craft a masterpiece that confirmed his undeniable value as both an ace and an offensive force in the middle of the Caseys' batting order. Pitching with the attentiveness associated with proper bedside manner and surgical precision reserved for a chief resident of staff, Bianchi backed the three-hit gem he twirled with a pair of timely doubles that accounted for three runs to fuel No. 4 Red Bank Catholic to a 5-1 triumph over host Monmouth.
The victory locked up the Shore Conference, A Central crown for the Caseys (14-2, 12-0), evened Bianchi's mark at 2-2 and signaled that Red Bank Catholic is meticulously honing its offense to balance a talented pitching corps just in time for the stretch run of the season.
Bianchi affirmed that by pitching wise and economically in neutralizing the Falcons (9-8, 5-7). He needed just 80 pitches to stamp his complete game, one that featured five strikeouts against two walks.
"Being sick, I had to be more mentally tough than usual," shared Bianchi, armed with a fastball that pops in the low 90s. "With the allergies, it didn’t make it any easier to concentrate on the batters. I had to make sure I was making all the right pitches and let my defense do the work. It was nice to put a bunch of runs on the board early, too."
Which Bianchi also played a hand in. Senior second baseman Alex Gonzalez, who set the tone out of the leadoff spot by going 3-for-4, ripped the first of his three singles to open the contest, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by his junior brother Robert and scored when Bianchi scorched a double off the left-field fence to build a 1-0 lead.
With one out in the third, Gonzalez lined a base hit to center, stole second and scrambled to third on a errant throw before senior center fielder David Glancy reached on a walk and stole second. Bianchi plated both, doubling into the right-center gap and senior right fielder Ryan O'Hara ensued with an RBI single to widen the gap to 4-0.
Monmouth got a run back in fourth. The Falcons put runners on the corners with two outs and senior Andrew Faccone dashed home when Bianchi's pickoff attempt at the runner on first skipped into foul territory. Monmouth had runners on base in all but two innings, yet was shackled by Bianchi, who limited the threats by allowing just two runners to venture into scoring position.
Junior first baseman Jack Scrivanic added an RBI single through a drawn-in infield in the sixth for Red Bank Catholic.
"He knew he had to deal with it and pitch more to contact," Hausmann said of Bianchi's pitching tact. "Offensively, that is what Vince is capable of...it's what I think our whole lineup is capable of."
"I don’t think we’ve struck at the core yet," Alex Gonzalez said of the Caseys' offense. "We really are trying to find our bats. We’re working on getting shorter to the baseball. We had big, loopy swings, trying to hit every pitch out of the ball park. I focused on trying to hit up the middle away, get on base and produce runs."
Gonzalez proved quite the template, repeatedly applying pressure with both his lumber and his feet, which collected two stolen bases and scored twice.
"He has been doing it all year,," Hausmann said of Gonzalez's contributions, vital over the first month considering the absence of Glancy, who only recently returned to the lineup after suffering wrist injury in the pre-season. "With David out, he carried us in leadoff spot. He goes about the game the right way."
O'Hara finished with two hits for Red Bank Catholic, which compiled eight of senior right-hander Dante Ciaramella (4-2), who struck out eight and walked one over six innings. Brian Yadlon, Kevin Lynch and Jake Cushing each singled to account for Monmouth's three hits.