By Brian Deakyne
RED BANK — Had Red Bank Catholic not been victorious over Monmouth Regional Tuesday night, its lead in the Shore Conference Class B North wouldn’t be the only thing at stake.
The Caseys’ alternate green uniforms — the ones they wore during their two-loss stretch late last week — would have been history, too.
“We broke these uniforms out for the last two games. If we lost tonight, that would be it. They would be burned,” Red Bank Catholic head coach Buddy Hausmann said.
That would not be an issue, as RBC scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and two more in the bottom of the fifth inning to take down Monmouth Regional, 5-1, at Count Basie Park.
The win is the Caseys first since dropping games to Colts Neck and Monroe last Thursday and Friday.
Red Bank Catholic is the top seed in the Monmouth County tournament after falling in the finals to Middletown South a year ago.
“It was important, coming here to play under the lights. It’s always a big game between us and Monmouth Regional, and especially after those two losses. The pressure was on but you have to learn from [the losses],” Hausmann said.
“Nothing’s over, tournament time is win or go home,” he added. “You never want to lose, but at least it’s right now, you want to learn, deal with it and come back.”
Junior outfielder Joe Iacobellis drove home a run with the bases loaded in the fourth inning when he singled to right field, and two more runners would plate when Trevor Brain’s ground ball up the middle turned into a fielders choice with a throwing error.
Iacobellis scored senior right fielder Nick Liggett, who led off the inning by being hit by a pitch. Sophomore shortstop Al Molina scored from third base on Brain’s ground ball, and junior first basemen Ron Robinson scored as well when the throw from second base sailed into foul territory.
In the next inning, sophomore second basemen Brendan Madigan reached base on an error, and after stealing second base and advancing to third on a ground ball, he scored on Molina’s infield single with two outs.
Molina later stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error, and scored on the same play when the throw to third base was tossed out of play, padding the Caseys’ lead at 5-1.
“We were more aggressive today in just making them throw us out and put the pressure on their defense. We did a good job of it,” Hausmann said. “We stole a ton of bases and that’s not totally the way we play, but we adapted to the game and that’s what worked for us.”
Senior pitcher Ryan Slate struggled through the first inning, walking two batters and hitting one to load the bases, but he found his way out unscathed and had a quality start to boost the Caseys. He finished with five innings pitched, three hits, two strikeouts and three walks, allowing one earned run. His only blemish came in the top of the fifth inning, when the Falcons scratched across a run on a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
“He sometimes makes me nervous, but that’s him and that’s what I expect,” Hausmann said. “I don’t really like it, but that’s what I’ve dealt with for three years with him, he just kind of figures out a way. It’s not something I enjoy, but he likes to do that to me sometimes.”
Liggett threw a scoreless sixth inning, yielding one base runner on a one-out walk and struck out two batters, and junior pitcher Mike Rescigno struck out the side in the top of the seventh inning, allowing an infield single, but stranding that runner at first base.