By Ryan Fennell
Red Bank – It took three innings before the Caseys’ bats woke up, but when they did it was loud.
Red Bank Catholic exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the fourth inning against Ocean Township on Tuesday morning, sending 13 batters to the plate and two balls over the right field fence en route to an eventual 11-1 victory to remain unbeaten on the season thus far.
After its eight-run fourth, RBC added a run in the fifth on a double to right from Andrew LaMura and a scorching, game-winning single down the left field line from Mike Rescigno to put the Caseys’ up by 10 and seal the win.
Senior Ryan Slate took the mound for the Caseys and went five innings allowing one run on four hits and striking out eight.
Prior to the fourth the Casey’s held a 2-0 lead on an RBI single in the first from Ronald Robinson and an RBI double from Alfredo Molina in the second before Ocean pushed across a run in its half of the fourth on a sacrifice-fly from Tom Dowling to cut the Caseys’ lead to one.
One inning earlier, the Spartans had their best chance to score after two consecutive errors by the Caseys put a man on first and second with only one out. With Robbie Finnegan on second and Andrew Mehr on first, the Spartans executed a double-steal to get both runners in scoring position with only one out and the heart of the order coming to the plate.
Slate managed to get Jordan Bell to pop-out to second base for the second out, but walked Jerome Cevetello on four straight pitches to load the bases for cleanup hitter Mike Scagnelli.
Scagnelli worked the count full but struck out looking to end the inning.
“It’s kind of normal. He just likes to make me worry,” Red Bank Catholic head coach Bud Hausmann said of Slate working into and out of trouble. “I’m used to it by now. He’s used to it by now. He pitches his way in and out of that stuff. It makes me a nervous wreck but he just kind of figures it out.”
But, Hausmann didn’t have to worry after the Caseys’ offense came alive in he fourth.
Trevor Brain led off the inning with a double off the wall in right-center followed by a single to right by Joseph Iacobellis. After Molina popped out to second for the first out, Joseph Keane came through with a two-run double to left center and went to third on the throw to the plate. LaMura put two more up on the board with a deep homerun to left on an 0-2 count.
One out later, Rescigno singled to right and went to second when the right fielder bobbled the ball, and Nick Liggett sent the first pitch he saw over the fence in right to put the Caseys up by seven. Robinson reached on an error before Brain added his second hit of the inning with a single to left-center. Iacobellis and Molina drove in the next two runs with consecutive singles before Ocean pitcher Ryan Lillie got Keane to fly out to left and end the onslaught.
Slate added three strikeouts in the top of the fifth before LaMura led off the bottom of the inning with a double to right and later scored the game-winner on Rescigno’s single down the left field line.
“It’s weird, these days,” Hausmann said. “They don’t have school, they’re on break, it’s early in the morning. These and Saturday games scare me. You don’t know what’s going to happen because they’re not in the same routine. Usually, we’re rushed (after school) and then play. You’re in that routine.”
The game was played at 10 am on Tuesday morning because many schools were in the midst of spring break.
“Finally, I guess we woke up [in the fourth] and did what we should have done from the beginning.”
The Caseys improved to 3-0 on the season.