Shore Regional to play group title game Saturday
By Jim Hintelmann
HOLMDEL – St. John Vianney (SJV) and Shore Regional came through with stunning victories Tuesday in the NJSIAA baseball tournament.
Ninth-seeded SJV, led by winning pitcher Justin Chin and catcher Anthony Santoro, won the South Jersey Non-Public A championship by shocking top-seeded and four-time defending Non-Public A champion Gloucester Catholic, 3-2, on a seventh inning game-winning single from Santoro.
Shore, meanwhile, gained its first NJSIAA Group I state final since 2009 with a 5-0 shutout over Pennsville in the South Jersey Group I semifinals.
SJV and Gloucester Catholic were tied 2-2 going into the last of the seventh inning when Nick Guagliara singled and Pat Devenney walked with one out.
Santoro followed with a single to drive in Guagliara with the winning run.
“It was a long curveball away,” Santoro said. “I had a long at bat with their pitcher. I got the curveball and I hit it.”
Chin allowed just two runs, struck out seven and walked just two. “I was able to locate my fastball all the time today,” Chin said.
SJV will play the winner of the St. Joe’s, Montvale, and Bergen County Catholic game for the Non-Public A title at Toms River North for the state championship.
Shore Regional advanced to the Group I final after Matt Cosentino tossed a four-hitter, walked one and struck out seven in handing Pennsville its first shutout of the season.
Andrew Schultz and Jim Kelly knocked in runs in the first inning and Matt McCarthy batted in two more in the sixth.
SJV scored big wins over Bishop Eustace, 10-0, and Christian Brother Academy (CBA), 13-9, in early round games.
Joe Rotelli and Chris Loney provided the big hits against CBA in the South Jersey Non-Public A semifinal game Friday, May 30.
Rotelli batted in five runs with a double and two singles while Loney had three hits, scored three runs and drove in two.
“I had 15 seniors on the team,” SJV coach Mike Morgan said. “They want to keep playing and have shown the ability to hit big time. This is the first time we’ve beaten CBA in my eight years here.”
SJV started out the season slowly but has picked up its hitting the past few weeks.
“I think the cold weather had something to do with it,” Morgan said. “When it was cold the pitchers had the advantage, but the hitters got better as the weather warmed up.”
CBA ace Luca Dalatri didn’t pitch Friday, May 30, since he pitched several days earlier. Dalatri, however, was able to pitch in CBA’s Shore Conference title game against Barnegat Sunday and shut out the Bengals 2-0 with a seven-hitter.
SJV took a 2-0 lead over CBA in the first inning on Rotelli’s two-run single.
“I was looking for a fastball near the strike zone that I could rip,” Rotelli said. “It might have been the split fastball but I was able to hit it down the line.”
Dalatri and Pat Papcun cracked solo home runs over the left field fence to tie the game 2-2 in the second inning, but SJV answered back with three runs in the third on RBI hits by Rotelli and Drew Fisher.
CBA closed it to 5-4 in its half of the third with John Mushella’s two-run double, the big hit.
Rotelli’s two-run double put SJV in front 7-4 in the fourth inning before CBA picked up two more runs in its half the fourth.
Chris Morris’ two-run double gave SJV two more runs in the sixth for a 9-6 lead, and it then broke it open with four in the seventh with Loney’s two-run double being the big hit.
“I was looking for a fastball down the middle,” Loney said. “It got a little inside but I was able to get my bat on it and hit it in the gap.”