By Ryan Fennell
Tinton Falls – The Caseys put three on the board in the top of the first and six more in their half of the fourth en route to a 14-0 mercy-rule shortened walloping of Monmouth Regional in the season opener on Tuesday.
“We wanted to make sure we set a tone,” Red Bank Catholic head coach Bud Hausmann said. “There was a lot we were supposed to do and we were supposed to end last year that we didn’t, so we’re trying to prevent last year’s ending this year.”
The disappointment of the 2012 season looms large for the Caseys in these opening days of 2013.
In 2012 the Caseys got off to a very hot start, which eventually earned them the second seed in the Shore Conference Tournament and the third seed in the state playoffs. In both tournaments RBC was eliminated in the second round. RBC managed to reach the final in the Monmouth County Tournament but was upended by Christian Brothers Academy, 6-3.
With the bulk of Hausmann’s lineup from last season returning this year, those memories are all too fresh as 2013 gets underway.
So, in the first inning of this young season, the Caseys wasted no time in their attempt avenge last season’s title-less conclusion.
Joe Iacobellis got the ball rolling with a leadoff infield single to third. Brendan Madigan followed with a single to left before Mike Rescigno reached on a hit-by-pitch to load the bases for junior cleanup batter Al Molina.
Despite Molina grounding into a 6-4-3 double play, Iacobellis scored from third to get the Caseys on the board.
Ron Robinson then doubled to left center to plate Madigan and later scored on an error by the Falcons right fielder on a pop up from Matthew Kurdewan.
Monmouth Regional pitcher Zach Centrella found a groove in the next two innings to keep the Falcons’ deficit manageable and give his offense a chance to respond.
Monmouth did threaten in the bottom of the third behind consecutive fielding errors on the left side of the infield by the Caseys followed by a walk to three-batter Tom Broyles to load the bases with one out.
Falcons’ cleanup batter Brian Quinn stepped to the plate with a chance to close the gap and steal some momentum from the Caseys, but Caseys’ pitcher John Sheldon got Quinn to ground back to the mound for a 1-2-3 inning ending double play.
“I think there were some jitters there that are unacceptable,” Hausmann said of the faulty fielding early in the game. “This was the first time we took ground balls on grass. It made me nervous, but those guys all returning in the infield, they can usually field no matter what.”
The stalled rally would prove to be fatal for the Falcons as the Caseys racked up six runs in their next at bat to go up 9-0.
RBC put the game away in the sixth when Robinson led off the inning with a solo blast to left followed by a three-run homer from Nicholas Daniele five batters later.
The 14-run lead allowed Hausmann to get some of his bench players into the game and get their feet wet at the plate, which he said is a plus to be able to do so early in the season.
“I was able to get other guys out there to get their feet wet with some at bats, which is ideal on opening day instead of waiting until later in the year to get their first at bats.”
Seldon pitched four innings of shutout ball in the opener, striking out two, walking one, and allowing two hits before giving way to Michael Marley in the fifth and Thomas Curry in the sixth.
Marley induced a ground ball out to first and struck out two looking in the sixth and Curry limited the Falcons to one hit, getting all three outs in the sixth on weak ground balls.